Friday, November 26, 2010

Egypt: Systematic Crackdown Days Before Elections

Mass Arrests, Intimidation, Campaign Restrictions Make Fair Outcome Questionable

Human Rights Watch, November 24, 2010

Riot police form a line as opposition members and supporters gather to support their candidates for the upcoming elections.
© 2010 Reuters
The combination of restrictive laws, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests is making it extremely difficult for citizens to choose freely the people they want to represent them in parliament. Repression by the government makes free and fair elections extremely unlikely this weekend.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch
(Cairo) – Egypt has carried out mass arbitrary arrests, wholesale restrictions on public campaigning, and widespread intimidation of opposition candidates and activists in the weeks leading up to parliamentary elections on November 28, 2010, Human Rights Watch said today. In a report released today, Human Rights Watch argues that the repression makes free and fair elections unlikely.

The 24-page report, “Elections in Egypt, State of Permanent Emergency Incompatible with Free and Fair Vote,” documents the vague and subjective criteria in Egypt’s Political Parties Law that allow the government and ruling party to impede formation of new political parties. Egypt remains under an Emergency Law that since 1981 has given security officials free rein to prohibit or disperse election-related rallies, demonstrations, and public meetings, and to detain people indefinitely without charge. …

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