Update: Egypt rejects ‘unfair’ EU resolution linking student’s death to human rights

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a response to the European Parliament’s resolution recommending the suspension of military aid and assistance to Egypt, referring to it as “unfair” and stating that it does not accurately reflect the situation in Egypt.

The ministry’s response was backed up by a statement from the Egyptian Parliament, expressing concerns over the European Parliament’s interference in the “internal affairs” of a sovereign state.

On Thursday, the EU’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution in light of the “abduction, savage torture and killing” of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni, whose body was found in Cairo on February 3.

In response, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Friday afternoon, which opened with, “We are sorry for the EU Parliament’s decision regarding the human rights situation in Egypt in this unfair manner.”

Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid is quoted in the statement as saying that the decision does not accord with the reality of the situation in Egypt and is based on groundless allegations.

The statement continued that involving Regeni’s death in a decision regarding the human rights situation in Egypt “carries rejected connotations” and anticipates the conclusions of ongoing investigations being carried out by Egyptian authorities in coordination with Italian authorities.

“It is unfortunate that prestigious legislative institutions such as the EU Parliament would treat undocumented accusations and media reports as facts and evidence, issuing parliamentary decisions on that basis,” reads the statement.

The ministry then referred to previous reports of forced disappearances in Egypt, saying that Egyptian authorities responded to them and proved that the majority of the cases were documented cases and not cases of forced disappearances as claimed.

The statement continued, “The Egyptian government’s commitment to respecting human rights and freedoms is a genuine commitment … and torture is a crime clearly stated in the Egyptian Constitution.”

Abu Zeid concluded by saying that he had hoped that a more balanced decision would be issued, one that protects and supports European-Egyptian relations, instead of undermining them or questioning their solidity.

Egypt’s parliament also issued a statement on the European Parliament’s decision on Friday.

The statement read, “Among the acknowledged principles of democracy, whether in Egypt or in countries of the European Union, is respecting the sovereignty of other states and not interfering in their internal affairs.”

Parliament also advised that the EU should wait until the ongoing investigations into Regeni’s death have been completed instead of jumping to conclusions, while also offering their condolences to Regeni’s family and the Italian parliament.

However, the statement added that this crime could have happened to any Egyptian or foreign citizen, whether in Egypt or elsewhere, and that it would be dealt with according to the law.

“The Egyptian parliament appreciates the strategic, long-term relationship with the European Union, its parliament and its member states, and reaffirms the European Parliament’s role in supporting democratic principles and human rights with all countries that are connected to the European Union with partnership and cooperation, and not just Egypt,” the statement continued.

Deputy Minister of Interior for Public Relations Abu Bakr Abdel Karim also responded to the European Parliament’s decision during a phone interview on Al-Nahar Channel on Thursday night, saying that Egyptian authorities are in constant meetings with Italian investigators with regard to the Regeni case.

He added that the Egyptian constitution criminalizes all forms of torture, and that there is periodical monitoring of prisons and police stations by the General Prosecution.

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