Ex-US envoy to UN slams Sisi’s ‘blatant lie’

Samantha Power, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, has slammed Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s claim that he has “imprisoned no political activists”.

She responded on Twitter by calling it a “blatant lie”, stating that “at least 50,000 political prisoners” have been arrested since Sisi took power.

Al-Sisi made the wild remark during an interview with the French news channel France 24 while on a visit to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. He justified his claim by insisting that “everything has been done according to the law, within its jurisdiction. Our friends can come and confirm this themselves.”

Read more: ‘There are no political prisoners in Egypt,’ says Sisi

After Al-Sisi overthrew former President Morsi in 2013 and gained power in a military coup, the Egyptian government cracked down on dissidents, political activists and even journalists, arresting and detaining tens of thousands. Since then, the country has been criticised harshly for allegations of widespread abuse and torture of prison detainees, enforced disappearances and numerous human rights violations.

Read more: 254 cases of ‘enforced disappearance’ in Egypt since the beginning of 2017

France has been criticised for hosting Al-Sisi and for having too lenient a stance on Egypt, which is one of its biggest arms importers. Last week, before Al-Sisi’s visit, Macron assured that he would raise the issue of human rights concerns during their meeting.