Egypt accuses Human Rights Watch of violating sovereignty

Human Rights Watch refutes the Egyptian government's allegations that its report on government-orchestrated mass killings of demonstrators constitutes a violation of its state sovereignty, and called allegations of collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood "absurd, unsubstantiated allegations, and a naked effort to intimidate us."
By JC Finley  |  Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:06 AM
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CAIRO, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The Egyptian government accused Human Rights Watch on Tuesday of violating its state sovereignty after the non-profit released a 188-page report accusing the Egyptian government of mass atrocities.

The report in question, "All According to Plan: The Rab'a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt," "documents the manner in which Egyptian police and army forces methodically opened fire on crowds of unarmed protesters at six demonstrations in July and August 2013, killing at least 1,150 people." It accuses President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of authorizing the mass shootings of demonstrators loyal to deposed President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Human Rights Watch "does not enjoy any legal status that may allow it to operate in Egypt," the government stated Tuesday, and its report constitutes a "flagrant intervention in the work of the national investigative and judicial authorities, and an attempt to impinge upon the independence and integrity of the Egyptian judiciary."

"Conducting investigations, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses without any legal backing are activities that constitute a flagrant violation of state sovereignty under international law."

The government further alleged that the report was issued "in parallel with dubious moves by the terrorist organization and its supporters," suggesting Human Rights Watch colluded with the Muslim Brotherhood, the political party of former President Morsi and the subject of anti-terror investigations by the current regime.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa division, called the charges "absurd, unsubstantiated allegations, and a naked effort to intimidate us."

On Monday, Whitson and HRW's executive director, Kenneth Roth, were denied entry into Egypt during their travel to present the report's findings. A third Human Rights Watch staffer departed Egypt before the report was released in order to avoid retaliatory action.

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