Group: Egypt targets relatives of dissidents living abroad

November 19, 2019 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — An international rights group says Egyptian authorities have arrested, raided houses and imposed travel bans against dozens of relatives of dissidents who live abroad, apparently in reprisal for their activism.

Human Rights Watch says Tuesday it has since 2016 documented 28 cases which include Muslim Brotherhood leader Haytham Abu Khalil and Mohammed Ali, a self-exiled contractor who raised corruption claims against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The cases also include well-known activist Wael Ghonim whose brother, Hazem, was arrested in September after Wael posted videos on Facebook criticizing Egyptian security agencies.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, says Egyptian authorities have been “punishing families of opponents abroad” to stifle dissent.

HRW says that in 13 cases, relatives were accused of joining “terrorist” groups and disseminating “false news.”