Pelosi Calls on Egyptian Speaker of the House Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed to Condemn Ongoing Assault on Civil Liberties in Egypt in Face-to-Face Meeting & Letter
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – At a bipartisan meeting today in the U.S. Capitol, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi directly called on Dr. Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed, Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives to denounce the assault on civil liberties involving anti-LGBT persecution, NGO activity and attacks on religious minorities in Egypt. Leader Pelosi also hand-delivered a letter addressed to the Egyptian Speaker detailing her strong concerns.
As Leader Pelosi writes, “We respectfully request that you denounce the ongoing assault on civil liberties in Egypt, and in particular condemn this law and these attacks on the LGBT community. We call on you to facilitate the release of the innocent LGBT men, women and allies who still languish in jail. We also urge you to stop the criminalization of NGOs, many of which are doing life-saving human rights work. It is long past time for Egypt to end its attacks on its own people.”
Full text of the letter can be found below:
November 1, 2017
His Excellency Dr. Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed
Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives
c/o Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20008
Dear Mr. Speaker:
The ongoing assault on Egyptians’ civil liberties is gravely concerning.
Last month, America watched in horror as Egyptian security forces forcibly arrested at least 71 citizens after they peacefully raised the rainbow pride flag at a concert. As you know, at least twenty of these innocent people were sentenced to up to six years in prison, solely because of who they are and whom they love. Several more were subjected to humiliating physical examinations internationally considered to constitute torture.
Last week, the world witnessed a further act of appalling anti-LGBT persecution in Egypt, as parliamentarians introduced a sweeping and inhumane bill attacking Egypt’s LGBT community. If enacted, this draconian law would imprison LGBT Egyptians for living their authentic lives, and throw allies in jail for supporting LGBT civil rights – even for simply carrying a pride flag.
These attacks, taken together with the recent attacks on Coptic Christians and other religious minorities and the continuing crackdown on political speech and NGO activity, are deeply disturbing. The Egyptian government must endeavor to carry out its most fundamental duties: to protect the security of all its people and to guarantee the freedoms of expression enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution.
America has long been one of Egypt’s largest donors and steadfast allies in building a safer, more secure region. As such, our nation has an obligation to speak out against these despicable violations of human rights and dignity.
We respectfully request that you denounce the ongoing assault on civil liberties in Egypt, and in particular condemn this law and these attacks on the LGBT community. We call on you to facilitate the release of the innocent LGBT men, women and allies who still languish in jail. We also urge you to stop the criminalization of NGOs, many of which are doing life-saving human rights work. It is long past time for Egypt to end its attacks on its own people.
Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.
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