Egypt rejects US report on its rights record

Egypt on Friday dismissed as unacceptable a US report which branded Cairo’s human rights record as poor, the foreign ministry said in a statement.”Egypt does not accept any country assuming the role of a custodian of the Egyptian people or a judge of the state of human rights in the country,” foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said.

Egypt “is accountable only to its own people,” he added in a statement.

The US State Department, in its annual report on human rights issued on Wednesday, said that respect for human rights in key regional ally Egypt remained poor.

The report said that Egyptian security forces tortured and abused prisoners and carried out political arrests, and it also criticised the Cairo government for its failure to ensure free elections.

Egypt is among the closest allies of the United States in the region and receives billions of dollars in aid from Washington each year.

Human rights groups in Egypt and international watchdogs say that torture is routine in Egyptian jails and that the country’s powerful security services target political dissidents.

Egypt held parliamentary elections in 2005 which observers said were marred by police intervention and fraud.

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