Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned a statement made by the French Foreign Ministry, that the former says attempts to influence a lawsuit currently appearing before Egyptian courts.
The French statement came in response to the 15 November arrest of Mohamed Bashir, Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
Spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Hafez’s comments are a response to the press statement released by France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Hafez rejected the French statement, which he said interfered with Egypt’s internal affairs and acted as an attempt to influence investigations being conducted by the Public Prosecution on an Egyptian citizen.
On 15 November, Bashir was arrested in relation to case No 855 of 2020, accusing him of joining a terrorist organisation, spreading fake news, and financing terrorism.
Bashir has been charged in connection with the case being considered by the Egyptian judiciary. Egypt acts on the principle of refraining from intervening in, or commenting on, the measures taken by law enforcement authorities in other countries, including France.
Hafez expressed regret that the French Foreign Ministry’s statement failed to respect Egyptian law, and defended an entity operating illegally in the field of civil work. EIPR is registered as a company, while it exercises other activities in violation of the provisions of Law No 149 of 2019 stipulating the compliance of its activity with its mandate.
He also said that the Egyptian state respects the two principles of rule of law and equality before the law, and that work in any field must be conducted as regulated by applicable laws. Those who violate them are held accountable, with no individual having immunity due to their work in a specific field.
The Spokesperson added that there is a need to respect the two principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, as stipulated by international law which governs relations between states.
Following Bashir’s arrest, France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement expressing its concerns, and noted that France is currently in talks with the Egyptian authorities about human rights, including individual cases.