19th Mar 2018

EU states 'complicit' in Egypt repression

  • More than 800 Muslim Brotherhood members were killed in 2013 (Photo: Globovision)

Twelve EU states are supplying arms to Egypt despite a pledge not to contribute to “internal repression”, Amnesty International says.

In a report out on Wednesday (25 May), citing the EU’s own figures, Amnesty says Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK are guilty of the practice.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It singled out shipments from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France and Italy for censure because they mostly supplied the kind of small arms and armoured vehicles that are used by Egyptian security services against Egyptian people.

Bulgaria issued licences worth €52 million in 2014, including for 10,500 assault rifles. The Czechs issued permits for €20 million of materiel, including 80,953 pistols and revolvers. French exports of vehicles and munitions were worth €100 million.

Italy issued grants for €34 million of small arms in 2014 and has registered €73 million of exports in the same category for this year.

Amnesty said Germany, Italy and the UK also supplied snooping technology to the authoritarian regime.

The transfers come despite EU states agreeing in September 2013 “to suspend export licences to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression.”

The informal ban was not legally binding and did not include a detailed list of forbidden items.

It came after the forces of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, later elected as president, killed more than 800 people from the Muslim Brotherhood group, most of whom had been taking part in peaceful protests.

The French figures cited by Amnesty do not include the transfer of over €2 billion worth of Mistral-class warships to Egypt designed to help stop Islamic State fighters from moving around the Mediterranean.

Amnesty said in a statement that the EU states flouting the ban were “risking complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture”.

"Almost three years on from the mass killings that led the EU to call on its member states to halt arms transfers to Egypt, the human rights situation has actually deteriorated," the group’s Magdalena Mughrabi said.

The group noted that almost 12,000 people were arrested on suspicion of “terrorism” in the first 10 months of 2015 alone.

In January 2015, at least 27 people again died in protest-related violence.

Amnesty’s Brian Wood said: “The EU and its members must stop rewarding bad behaviour by Egypt's police and military with a bonanza of arms supplies”.


Why is Egypt jailing my friends?

A new wave of arrests against youth activists who, five years ago, helped bring down Mubarak is a sign of Sisi's paranoia, and could prompt fresh unrest.


Stronger EU-Egypt ties must not disregard human rights

The EU’s apparent willingness to water down its stance on human rights in Egypt could seriously compromise its credibility and have far-reaching consequences for its relations with other countries in the region.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere