[JURIST] Three UN rights experts on Monday urged [press release] the Egyptian government end its oppressive response towards human rights advocates in the country. The experts reported that Egypt has cracked down on protesters, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders in recent years by conducting mass arrests, using aggressive force and invading people’s privacy. The experts further referenced recent events such as a security forces storming Egypt’s Journalist Syndicate [official website, in Arabic] last week and the use of tear gas last month to disperse more than 380 protestors at a demonstration. They also expressed concern over security provisions and counterterrorism legislation that impedes fundamental rights, stating that the government is undermining “not only public debate and fundamental rights, but security and long-term stability.”
Egypt [BBC timeline] has been internationally scrutinized in recent months over allegations of human rights infringements and free speech violations. On Saturday an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] six people, including three journalists, to death for allegedly leaking state secrets to Qatar.vLast month Egypt’s Court of Cassation overturned the five-year prison sentences of 35 Al-Azhar students, ordering a retrial [JURIST report]. Earlier in April three UN human rights experts urged Egypt to cease its ongoing crackdown on humans rights defenders and organizations [JURIST report]. In March Egyptian Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind was relieved of his position [JURIST report] after making controversial statements on television. After being asked a question regarding the imprisonment of journalists, al-Zind responded that he would even imprison the Prophet Mohammed.