Egypt summons Western ambassadors over rights comments

Egypt summoned the ambassadors of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands and will later summon those of Britain and Canada to strongly protest their countries' criticism of the recent detention of an Egyptian lawyer as "blatant interference" in its affairs, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The PhD student's body was discovered in a ditch on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital in 2016 showing signs of extensive torture.

We are concerned at the detention conditions that Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is reportedly enduring, and continue to call for transparency on prison conditions in Egypt.

Abu Zeid said that the message which was communicated to the ambassadors of the three countries confirmed Egypt's complete rejection of the statement that there were cases of torture in Egyptian prisons.

"It is unfortunate that such a statement would be issued from countries that call for respecting rule of law and the principles of separation of powers", the ministry said.

Metwaly, who established the Association of the Families of the Disappeared after his son disappeared four years ago, was arrested by airport security last September while heading to Geneva to attend a United Nations conference on enforced disappearances, according to the members of his group. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano has twice spoken with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry about his arrest, which occurred at Cairo airport while travelling to attend a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Authorities only acknowledged his detention days later, and he remains in custody on charges of "spreading false news".

Egypt denies the accusations.

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