- The diplomats were there to obtain a briefing on the human rights situation on November 3.
- The French Foreign Ministry expressed its "deep concern" on Tuesday over the arrest of Mohamed Bashir.
- The authorities, under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, carried out an extensive campaign against political opposition.
A prominent Egyptian human rights organization said that security forces arrested a senior member on Wednesday. The arrest came three days after its administrative director was arrested on charges that include joining a terrorist group. The arrest on Monday came after senior diplomats visited the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
The diplomats were there to obtain a briefing on the human rights situation on November 3.
Amnesty International condemned what it described as “the frightening escalation of the Egyptian authorities’ campaign against civil society.”
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said that officers of the National Security Agency arrested Karim Anara, director of the organization’s criminal justice unit, on Wednesday afternoon while he was on vacation in a resort overlooking the Red Sea and took him to an unknown location.
She added that the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention of the organization’s administrative director, Muhammad Bashir, for 15 days on charges of joining a terrorist group, broadcasting false news and data and financing terrorism, after he was arrested at his home at dawn on Sunday.
At dawn on Sunday, this non-governmental organization published a statement confirming that the security authorities had arrested its administrative director, Muhammad Bashir, and referred him to the prosecution office on charges including “joining a terrorist group” and “spreading false news.”
In its statement, the “initiative” said that Bashir was asked about the organization’s work and about a visit made by “a number of ambassadors accredited in Egypt” to its headquarters in Cairo earlier this month to hold a “meeting that discussed ways to support human rights situations in Egypt and around the world.”
Paris Worried, Cairo Calls it Interference
The French Foreign Ministry expressed its “deep concern” on Tuesday over the arrest of Mohamed Bashir.
The Egyptian response was swift, as Cairo rejected the French Foreign Ministry’s statement, calling it an interference in an Egyptian internal affairs and an attempt to influence the investigations conducted by the Public Prosecution.
Ahmed Hafez, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, indicated that this is the principle that Egypt adheres to in terms of refraining from interfering with or commenting on the measures taken by law enforcement authorities in other countries, including France.
Hafez expressed regret that the statement issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respect the Egyptian laws, and his defense of an entity that he described as “working illegally in the field of civil work.”
The authorities, under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, carried out an extensive campaign against political opposition, which gradually increased in the past few years. According to a number of NGOs, the number of political prisoners in Egypt is estimated at 60,000, including journalists, lawyers, academics, activists and Islamists.
They were arrested in an ongoing campaign against the opposition since the overthrow of the late President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, who in turn died in prison last year.