Egyptâ€™s human rights crisis, the most serious in the countryâ€™s modern history, continued unabated throughout 2014. The government consolidated control through constriction of basic freedoms and a stifling campaign of arrests targeting political opponents. Former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who took office in June, has overseen a reversal of the human rights gains that followed the 2011 uprising. Security forces and an increasingly politicized judiciaryâ€”apparently unnerved by rising armed group attacksâ€”invoked national security to muzzle nearly all dissent.
The government has effectively banned protests and sentenced hundreds of political detainees to death or life imprisonment. No one has been held accountable for security forces killing more than 2,600 people mainly due to police brutality during mostly peaceful protests after al-Sisi overthrew Egyptâ€™s first freely elected president in 2013. Al-Sisi has expanded military court jurisdiction, and more than 1,695 civilians have been referred to military prosecution. At least a dozen journalists have faced trial since 2013.
Judges routinely ordered detainees held for months based on little, if any, evidence. Thousands arrested after mass protests in 2013 remained in pretrial detention. Pervasive impunity characterized the governmentâ€™s response to security force abuses. Only four officers have faced charges for human rights violations since July 3, 2013, when the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi. All the charges stemmed from one incident in August 2013 in which police tear gassed a packed prison van, killing 37 detainees. There has been no accountability for the deaths of more than 1,000 protesters in a series of mostly peaceful demonstrations in July and August 2013.