The Egyptian foreign ministry announced Sunday it summoned the envoys of several Western countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and Britain to protest against ‘meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs’ concerning the case of human rights defender Ibrahim Metwally, currently detained in prison.
Cairo in a statement said it strongly disagreed with these countries, which on Friday called on Egyptian authorities to protect civil rights and stamp out torture as proclaimed in the country’s constitution.
The embassies of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and Britain on Friday issued a joint statement expressing their deep concerns over the situation of Metwally who has been arrested since September and subjected, according to the embassies’ statement, to torture.
Metwally, who is also a legal assistant to the killed Italian student Giulio Regeni’s family, was arrested in September at Cairo international airport on his way to Geneva to take part in a conference sponsored by the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).
He was accused at the time of his arrest of ‘dealing with foreign parties’ and of ‘spreading false news’.
Authorities also accused him of setting up an illegal organization, reference to his Association for the Families of the missing.
The foreign ministry denied the torture allegations.
President al-Sisi’s regime is accused to rolling back human rights gained following the overthrow of autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Thousands of activists and critics have been locked up following al-Sisi’s ascendance to power in 2013 after overthrowing the first ever elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
Hundreds of other critics have gone missing in uninvestigated incidents.
Regeni, a doctoral student, disappeared on January 25, 2016 in Cairo. He was found dead few days later by roadside with his body bearing marks of torture. His family has accused the Egyptian government of involvement in the death of the Italian student who was doing a research on Egypt’s critical labor union organization.