From Human Rights Watch
(Beirut) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt made several wrong claims in his appearance on January 6, 2019 on the “60 Minutes” TV show in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today.
Among his statements was that the Egyptian government holds no political prisoners, despite documentation that thousands of people have been arbitrarily arrested for their political activity in recent years. Al-Sisi also wrongly stated in the program broadcast on the CBS network that the killings of hundreds of anti-government protesters in Rab’a Square in Cairo in August 2013, which he oversaw as defense minister, were justified because there were “thousands of armed people.”
“President Al-Sisi’s misinformation is laughable, fools no one, and is a poor attempt to conceal serious abuses under his authority, including possible crimes against humanity,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Several of his answers even contradicted the government’s own official statements.”
Al-Sisi sat for an interview with 60 Minutes journalist Scott Pelley several months ago, but the Egyptian Embassy in Washington later requested that 60 Minutes not broadcast the interview, CBS television said. Egyptian authorities also told Egyptian media not to cover the “60 Minutes” interview, the independent news website Mada Masr reported. No major mainstream media in Egypt have yet covered Al-Sisi’s “60 Minutes” statements.
In response to a question about the Human Rights Watch estimate that at least 60,000 people had been arrested in Egypt on political grounds, Al-Sisi stated, “I don’t know where they got that figure. I said there are no political prisoners in Egypt.”
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