Egyptian activists demand the regime make fundamental political reforms instead of promises

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A group of human rights activists, politicians and public figures have called on the Egyptian regime to take several reformative measures to build confidence between the ruling authority and the rest of the Egyptian political and civil society components and to prove the seriousness of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s announcement of a national dialogue initiative.

The signatories to the statement declared that any meaningful political dialogue must be preceded by a series of severe measures, such as an immediate and complete halt to all forms of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance and the immediate release of all those imprisoned in cases related to freedom of the press and peaceful expression of opinion. In addition, they demanded an immediate end to the use of pretrial detention as a punishment, the release of all those held in pretrial detention for more than six months, and a halt to the use of anti-terror laws to harass political opponents.

The signatories called for an immediate moratorium on executions and a moratorium on the referral of civilians to the military judiciary. They also called for the formation of an independent judicial committee to investigate torture incidents and evaluate judicial rulings issued since July 2013 in all political cases. They demanded that conditions in Egyptian prisons be improved and that Egyptian and international human rights organizations be allowed to visit prisons to investigate their needs. The signatories stressed the need to lift the security grip on the media, stop attacks on press freedom, and lift bans on news websites.

The statement stressed that any national dialogue must expand to address the economic, social and political challenges that Egyptians are going through, noting the need for a comprehensive review of all legislation restricting public rights and freedoms, ensuring the independence of the judiciary, and creating a political climate that paves the way for free and democratic parliamentary and local elections.