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Egyptian prosecutor denies political prisoners

Feb. 12, 2014 at 8:47 PM

CAIRO, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Despite a widespread crackdown on government dissent, Egypt's top prosecutor maintained Wednesday the country does not hold any political prisoners.

Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat said all those presently in Egyptian jails have been charged with a crime or have been sentenced after a proper trial, Ahram Online said.

That may be the case, but in Egypt various forms of public dissent are banned.

Barakat's remarks came during a meeting with a special U.N. envoy in Cairo.

Furthermore, international groups have condemned the Egyptian government for arresting dissidents from across the political spectrum, from Islamist supporters of deposed former President Mohamed Morsi to secular academics critical of the military regime that replaced Morsi.

"As the scope of repression across the country continues to expand unabated, the hopes of freedom and justice are becoming more elusive," Amnesty International said in a February report concerning the "staggering" arrests made Jan. 25, the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The government's handling of protesters has led many international observers to fear the country is slipping back into the kind of autocratic regime Mubarak oversaw.

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