CAIRO -- A leading rights group declared Thursday that Egypt's military-backed interim government, in power for nearly seven months, is using state institutions such as the legal system and branches of law enforcement to "trample on human rights and quash dissent."
The wide-ranging report by London-based
The interim government sharply contested the report's assertions, and Deputy Foreign Minister Hisham Badr urged Egyptians to disregard "attempts to distort the facts."
In its report, Amnesty International cited what it called an array of abuses, including a harsh new anti-protest law, arbitrary mass arrests, selective legal prosecutions aimed at punishing government critics and restrictions on press freedoms, including the shutting down of media outlets and the jailing of journalists.
"Egypt has witnessed a series of damaging blows to human rights and state violence on an unprecedented scale over the last seven months," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, the group's Middle East and North Africa deputy director. "Three years on, the demands of the '25 January revolution' for dignity and human rights seem further away than ever."
The report also said human rights were flouted during the yearlong presidency of Mohamad Morsi, the Islamist who was removed from office by the military in July after massive
The interim government was also singled out for criticism Thursday by Freedom House, a U.S.-based pro-democracy watchdog group. In its annual report on the state of freedom worldwide, the organization cited the coup against Morsi as having led to "across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions."