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Egypt: Planned presidential vote neither free nor fair

A member of the Egyptian special forces stands guard in front of the National Election Authority in Cairo, 29 January 2018
A member of the Egyptian special forces stands guard in front of the National Election Authority in Cairo, 29 January 2018

MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 14 February 2018.

The Egyptian government has trampled over even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections for the planned March 26-28, 2018 vote for president, RSF said among fourteen international and regional rights organizations. The government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has relentlessly stifled basic freedoms, including press freedom.

Al-Sisi's government has also greatly restricted freedom of expression and the press, effectively almost eliminating the space for public criticism of the government and especially criticism of the president. From May to December, the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression, a local rights group, identified at least 496 websites blocked in Egypt, including those of news and media sites, as well as human rights and political movements.

The government tightly controls state media, and companies with direct and indirect links to the intelligence services have taken over several privately owned television stations and newspapers, according to Reporters Without Borders and other media reports.

At least 26 journalists and citizen-journalists are currently detained in connection with their work in Egypt, which is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

The repression in advance of Egypt's presidential election is a substantial escalation in a political environment that denies people's rights to political participation and to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Even the potential candidates in this upcoming election have been arrested and some of their supporters rounded up.

For the full statement in English and Arabic and a shorter version in French, please click here.

Signatories

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
CIVICUS "World Alliance for Citizen Participation"
CNCD-11.11.11
EuroMed Rights "The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network"
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights
Project on Middle East Democracy
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Solidar
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

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