AFP
Last updated: 24 August, 2011

Egypt rights groups complain of official crackdown

Egypt’s leading human rights groups said on Wednesday they will complain to the United Nations that the ruling military and cabinet are cracking down on civil society groups.

The military has accused its critics of receiving foreign financing and the government earlier this month announced an investigation into their funding.

The complaint, provided to journalists, said “the government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (were conducting) a campaign against civil society groups and defenders of human rights.”

The complaint will be lodged with the UN’s human rights commission.

A statement signed by 36 rights groups said they “strongly condemned the defamation campaign against civil society groups and a number of independent political groups.”

The military’s accusations and the government investigation have raised fears in Washington of growing “anti-Americanism” in their longtime ally, whose military receives more than $1 billion in aid yearly.

The military, which took power after an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February, has promised to hand over government to civilians.

But after winning popularity for not siding with Mubarak during the revolt, it has come under growing criticism for its trials of civilians, including activists.