Trade unionists, campaigning lawyers, activist groups and student union leaders are backing a statement against the visit of Egyptian president Abdelfattah el-Sisi to the UK. The open letter to David Cameron condemns British support for the military regime in Egypt and British complicity in Sisi’s attacks on human rights, including the regime’s enforcement of the siege on Gaza.
The Haldane Society of Socialist lawyers, which is backing the campaign against the visit said in a statement today,
The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers supports the campaign to prevent President Al Sisi of Egypt visiting the UK. Since his unlawful seizure of power in 2013 he has imprisoned thousands of innocent supporters of the Arab Spring, condemned to death the lawfully elected President Morsi, and ruled Egypt with a regime of terror more severe than that of his ousted and loathed predecessor Hosni Mubarak. To endorse the financial and political support he already receives from the UK with a visit condones such conduct.
Add your name below. Find out more here about what you can do to support the campaign against the visit.
David Cameron has issued an official invitation to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt to visit the UK, despite well-documented evidence of his responsibility for grave human rights violations, including the killing of over 1,000 people in August 2013 during the forced dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiyya protest camp, and his personal endorsement of the abhorrent practice of forced “virginity tests” carried out by military doctors on women detainees.
As a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, President el-Sisi supported the dissolution of the Egyptian parliament in 2012, and the following year overthrew elected president Mohamed Morsi in a military coup. Mr Morsi is one of hundreds of opponents of President el-Sisi condemned to death in trials widely recognised by international human rights organisations as unfair.
Since July 2013, according to Egyptian and international human rights groups, tens of thousands of opponents of el-Sisi’s regime have been jailed, protesters have been regularly shot dead in the streets, striking workers attacked by the army and security services, while dozens of journalists have been harassed and detained. In addition, El-Sisi’s regime has maintained the blockade on Gaza, despite the desperate need of the Palestinian people for assistance in reconstruction following the Israeli military assault last year.
We believe that the extension of an official invitation to President el-Sisi sends a message to the Egyptian regime that such abuses will be tolerated or ignored by the UK government. We call on the Prime Minister to rescind the invitation and demand that the Egyptian government takes immediate steps to demonstrate its commitment to democratic freedoms and human rights including the suspension of all death sentences, the immediate release of prisoners of conscience and the prompt investigation and prosecution of those responsible for torture and abuse of detainees.
The UK government must also stop licensing equipment for export to the Egyptian military and security forces.
We further call on the Egyptian government and security forces to respect the right to protest and strike and the right to freedom of expression. We express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and call on Egypt to lift the siege of Gaza.
We call on all those in the UK who agree with the demands listed in this statement to join us in protesting against El-Sisi’s visit.
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Egypt Solidarity Initiative
MENA Solidarity Network
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
John McDonnell, MP
Mary Compton, past president National Union of Teachers, editor Teachersolidarity.com
Liz Lawrence, President, University and College Union
Piers Telemacque, National Union of Students Vice President (Society and Citizenship)
Malia Bouattia, National Union of Students, Black Students Officer
Sai Engelert, National Union of Students Post Graduate Research Rep and NEC member
Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union
Walton Pantland, Union Solidarity International