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Human rights group highlights ‘serious violations’ in Egypt and Libya

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-01-24

Egypt and Libya have been singled out in the latest report by Human Rights Watch, which accused the two countries of denying citizens political freedom and continuing abusive policing tactics.

AFP - Egypt must revoke its "draconian emergency law" and Libya should free unjustly detained prisoners, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

"Both Egypt’s and Libya’s human rights records will come under intense scrutiny by the UN Human Rights Council in 2010," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Whitson was in Cairo to present the world report review of countries in the Middle East, entitled "Egypt and Libya: A Year of Serious Abuses" which details the state of human rights in 2009.

"Egyptian security services need to understand that their thuggery confirms the international image of Egypt as a police state, while Libyan security forces continue to dominate political space in Libya in an atmosphere of fear," she said.

She called on Egypt to repeal the emergency law and revamp it security services.

The government has "broken its promises (to end the emergency law) over and over again to its shame and discredit," Whitson said, adding that torture and abuse in Egypt were "pervasive".

Egypt has been operating under a state of emergency since the 1981 assassination of president Anwar Sadat, and it has been renewed repeatedly since then despite protests from rights groups and regime opponents.

HRW also called on the Libyan government to "immediately release unjustly detained prisoners, reveal the fate of disappeared prisoners, provide justice to the families of victims of the killings of 1,200 inmates in 1996 in Abu Salim prison and reform laws that criminalise free speech and association."

Date created : 2010-01-24

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