New Egyptian government must respect people's rights

New York, July 4 (IANS) Egypt's new government should break decisively from a pattern of serious abuses seen since the 2011 uprising and respect the right to free expression and peaceful assembly, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Authorities should protect and promote the rights of all Egyptians, and halt arbitrary arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, it said.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of Egypt's armed forces, in a televised address on the evening of Wednesday, said that the military had temporarily suspended the constitution.

"Egyptians suffered enormously under the generals and then under President Morsy's government, which shoved human rights to the sidelines," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"One test of whether Egypt can return to a path of democratic development will rest on whether the Freedom and Justice Party can operate without political reprisals against its members."

After Sisi's announcement, the interior ministry issued a decree suspending three Islamist TV stations: the Muslim Brotherhood television station Misr 25 as well as al-Naas and al-Hafez TV.

Closing television stations or imposing similar arbitrary restrictions on media purely on the basis of their political or religious affiliation is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said.