Since the overthrow of Egypt's only democratically elected government in 2013, the country has been engulfed in a human rights crisis never before seen in its history.

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Since the overthrow of Egypt's only democratically elected government in 2013, the country has been engulfed in a human rights crisis never before seen in its history. Egypt's military-controlled government has reportedly detained at least 50,000 Egyptians deemed to oppose the government, either because of their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood or for expressing views deemed critical of the government. Without any semblance of due process, the government has employed enforced disappearances and endlessly-renewed "pretrial detentions" that in many cases have lasted for more than five years, and handed down lengthy prison and mass death sentences in highly politicized trials. In addition, the government has conducted tens of extrajudicial executions and violent attacks on protesters, including the massacre of almost 1,000 protesters in Rabaa and Al-Nahda Squares on August 14, 2013, the largest massacre of protesters in a single day in the region, and one of the largest in the world. Inhumane prison conditions have led to scores of detainee deaths. Extensively documented conditions include widespread and systematic torture, deprivation of food and medical care, and severe limits on family and legal visits. 

Meanwhile, the government has pursued a questionable military campaign in the Sinai against radical Islamist armed groups. Despite having 40,000 troops in the region, the government has been unable to contain the extremist rebellion or assume total control of the territory. As of August 2020, there have been at least 5,000 people killed and 12,000 arrested in a population of 500,000 people. The government has forcibly evicted at least 13,000 families residing in 79 square kilometres near the Gaza border, destroying houses, agricultural land, and businesses in the vicinity. 

Since taking power, the military-backed government has also used new laws to curtail free speech, free assembly and free association; passed "counter-terrorism" laws with severe penalties for critical political expression; effectively banned non-governmental organizations; criminalized opposition groups; reinstated military trials for civilians; and completely removed the military and its budget from civilian control.

Ignoring the systematic human rights abuses committed by the Egyptian government, the US provides Egypt with $1.3 billion in annual military assistance. The US maintains close security and diplomatic cooperation with the Egyptian government, strengthening the latter's capacity to repress its citizens. Egypt's dependence on US aid has helped ensure its compliance with the US government's strategic priorities in the region.

"The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face."

- Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post, October 17, 2018