Egyptian parliament's human rights chief resigns

August 30, 2016 12:33 PM EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - A prominent Egyptian lawmaker has resigned as head of parliament's human rights committee, accusing the government and legislature of failing to address complaints of abuse from citizens.

As head of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, nephew of late president Anwar al-Sadat, was a vocal critic of right abuses in Egypt and called for the release of hundreds of activists arrested during anti-government protests.

"In reviewing the committee's work and the lack of cooperation from the speaker, parliamentary leadership, and government ... please accept my resignation from chairing the committee," he wrote in a resignation letter to Speaker Ali Abdelaal.

U.N. experts and international human rights groups have accused the Egyptian government of clamping down on campaigners so human rights violations such as the use of torture do not come to light, something the government denies.

Since toppling elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013, general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has overseen a crackdown on opposition in which hundreds of Brotherhood supporters were killed and thousands jailed.

Egyptian rights activists say they face a campaign to erase the freedoms won in the 18-day revolt that began on Jan. 25, 2011.

The crackdown has widened to include liberal and secular activists at the forefront of the 2011 revolt. Many are behind bars, charged with violating a 2013 law which prevents a repeat of the protests that helped unseat two presidents in three years.

Sisi's supporters see him as a bulwark of stability in a region that has slipped into chaos since the 2011 revolts, prioritizing security over civil rights.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)



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