European Parliament calls for review in relations with Egypt 

The European Parliament called on its member states to conduct a “deep and comprehensive” review of relations with Egypt in light of the deteriorating human rights situation there.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the European Parliament called for more transparency in all forms of financial support provided by the EU, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to Egypt, pointing out that prizes should not be given to leaders responsible for serious human rights violations.

The statement stressed the need to make tangible improvements to the human rights situation in Egypt, and to negotiate the priorities of the new partnership by setting clear criteria that lead to more cooperation to achieve progress in reforming democratic institutions.

The European Parliament also called for human rights concerns to be raised in all talks with the Egyptian authorities, while the Commission also urged the release of human rights defenders.

The statement demanded studying the imposition of sanctions on senior Egyptian officials, who are involved in “serious violations”.

Cooperation in the areas of fighting terrorism and illegal immigration should not come at the expense of continued pressure to comply with human rights and accountability for freedoms, it continued.

READ: Human rights take a back seat as Cairo-Paris axis strengthens

The European Parliament called on Cairo to cooperate with the Italian authorities in the file of the murder of student Giulio Regeni, and hand over the addresses of the suspects to the Italian prosecutor, in order for them to be formally charged.

Italy accuses four prominent Egyptian officers of torturing and killing researcher Regeni in February 2016, and demands Cairo extradite them for trial.

Egypt has refused to cooperate with the investigation. At the beginning of this month, it announced it was temporarily ending the investigation claiming that Egypt’s prosecution had evidence a criminal gang carried out the murder after robbing Regeni.

It said that the gang, whose identity they do not yet know, have carried out similar crimes against Egyptian and foreign nationals and used false documents linking them to the security apparatus.

Egypt’s public prosecutor says there is insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.

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