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Egyptian regime lashes out at BBC over report detailing systematic torture, oppression Open in fullscreen

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Egyptian regime lashes out at BBC over report detailing systematic torture, oppression

Egyptian authorities have responded to critical press coverage in the past [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2018

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Egypt's regime has lashed out at the BBC over a report exposing details of torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances and political oppression carried out by the regime against its opponents.

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Egypt, BBC, Sisi.

The Egyptian military-led regime has lashed out at the BBC over a report exposing details of torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances and political oppression carried out by the authorities against dissidents.

Egypt's state information service [SIS] released a statement on Sunday, accusing the British broadcaster of publishing "lies" in its recently released report "The shadow over Egypt".

The SIS said it had summoned the BBC's Cairo bureau chief to complain about the lengthy expose, which featured interviews with victims of a long-running government clampdown on dissent.

"The report was flagrantly fraught with lies and allegations as regards many issues, namely political and social status in Egypt, conditions in prisons, human rights," the SIS statement claimed.

The government agency accused the report of containing "horrifying amount of contradictions, alarming visible non-neutrality and blatant violation of media standards."

The BBC told The New Arab in an emailed statement that the broadcaster stood by its reporting.

"We are confident it is a thorough and accurate investigation which adheres to the BBC's editorial values," it said.

"The BBC gave the State Information Service and a number of other Egyptian government departments ample opportunity to respond to the allegations but they chose not to," it added.

The BBC's five-part report released on Friday details the Egyptian authorities' far-reaching crackdown on dissent following the 2013 ousting of the country's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist close to Muslim Brotherhood group.

Its comes ahead of a presidential election next month that the incumbent, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to win easily after most rivals were arrested, sidelined or withdrew.

Sisi, who led the overthrow of Morsi, will almost certainly romp to victory in the absence of a serious challenger in the two-candidate race.

Sisi has overseen a bloody crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters since coming to power, killing hundreds of its members and sentencing hundreds more to death in speedy mass trials.

Sisi has brushed off widespread criticism from rights groups, claiming there are no political prisoners in Egypt and that Western standards of human rights do not apply to the Arab world's most populous country.

Egyptian authorities have responded similarly to critical press coverage in the past.

In November, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman accused  The Guardian of "praising terrorism" in the wake of a militant attack on a mosque in Sinai that killed more than 300 worshipers.

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