According to a US Senator, the United States decided to withhold $85 million in military aid to Egypt for its failure to meet US conditions regarding releasing political prisoners and resolving human rights issues. As a result, some of the funds that are being withheld will be redirected to Taiwan. Senator Chris Murphy has also described that they have urged President Biden’s administration to halt $235 million more aid to Egypt as there were severe humanitarian crises. Other resources also told a news agency that the US would soon take the decisions for $235 million.
Murphy expressed that the US President’s office has decided to withhold $85m and conditioned this amount with the release of political prisoners because there was no visible progress. He added he would urge the American President to halt all the 320 million dollars supply to Egypt until the human rights and political situations come to normal. According to the State Department’s letter to the congressional committee overseeing the foreign military financing, $55m from $85m will be redirected to Taiwan and the remaining $30m to Lebanon.
The Egyptian embassy in Washington was asked for the comments, but it didn’t make any immediate remarks. Murphy told on the US Senate floor that the Egyptian government has detained more political prisoners than it released since 2022. He added there was good news that Cairo had freed around 1600 political prisoners since early 2022. During that time, Egypt detained 5,000 more political victims, which means they released one and captured three more. He said that was one step forward and three steps backward.
Sisi’s Government Performing Human Rights Abuses
Senator Murphy declared that Cairo’s method of releasing the captives was unacceptable and unlawful, and he said there was no apparent and consistent progress. The senator explained that the administration was correct and made the excellent decision to withhold the funds to Egypt. Several human rights foundations have accused President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government of performing several human rights abuses, which also include political victimization, torturing, and enforced disappearance of people. The Cairo government has recently taken steps to resolve the humanitarian issues and normalize the situation.
Egyptian authorities made some policies to address human rights and ended a state of emergency, but experts and critics dismissed all of those measures taken and declared them as purely cosmetic. Resources claim that some high-profile prisoners were released or pardoned, but the number of new detainees has surpassed the release. It is also said that thousands of political victims were still in jail, and many of them were tortured for free speech.
Egypt Is A Big Military Aid Taker From US
The United States pays around $1.2 billion annually to Egypt in its support of buying American defense systems and services and is one of the big US aid acceptors. Recently, the US Congress announced more aid for the country to address human rights issues.
Here is a list of some of the countries receiving the most extensive aid from the United States by 2020.
Seth Binder of the Project on Middle East Democracy rights group expressed that the withholding by the US administration was significant. He added that if America withholds less money than the previous year, it would signal to Egypt that Cairo has improved its humanitarian issues, which is invalid. Under American law, $85 million in aid to Cairo is dependent upon sufficient progress in releasing the political victims and treating the prisoners according to the law. It also includes the proper treatment of American Citizens and preventing harassing them. The executive branch cannot overturn these conditions.
An additional $235 million is under the condition of adequately addressing the humanitarian crisis and democratic values. If the Executive branch confirms that doing such action might be beneficial for America’s National security, then these conditions might be lifted.