The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has rebuked Egypt’s interim government for its “zero tolerance” policy towards any form of dissidence in recent months.
In a statement released on Thursday, HRW said there has been a crackdown against those expressing political opinions that don't toe the party line, as seen in the arrests and prosecution of journalists, demonstrators and academics who had peacefully expressed their dissenting views.
“Journalists should not have to risk years in an Egyptian prison for doing their job,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director, in the statement.
The statement was issued on the same day that 20 Al Jazeera journalists headed to court for the so-called “Marriot cell” case. They face charges of belonging to a terrorist organization, fabricating news and threatening national security.
HRW also pointed to the prosecution of two prominent academics as a violation of the newly passed Constitution, which prohibits jail time for political dissidents, as well as the international charters to which Egypt is a signatory that guarantee freedom of expression.