Official Denies Inquiry Into Egyptian Activists

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CAIRO -- A spokesman for Egypt's Foreign Ministry on Monday denied reports in the state news media over the weekend about an investigation into two prominent activists, Asmaa Mahfouz and Esraa Abdel Fattah, who are sometimes associated with the left-leaning April 6 group.

The reports, which were noted in an article on Saturday in The New York Times, attracted attention as evidence that the government installed last month by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi was widening its crackdown on dissent beyond the Islamist supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.

The reports indicated that the government was reviving old accusations against the activists about working on behalf of foreign powers to stir unrest in Egypt. Both activists are known in Western capitals for their work around the revolt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, so reports of the investigation complicated the new government's efforts to win international recognition. But the reports of an investigation of Ms. Abdel Fattah was especially noteworthy because she has been an outspoken supporter of General Sisi's ouster of Mr. Morsi.

A spokesman for the public prosecutor told journalists last week that his office had referred the accusations against the two to a special security service for investigation.

On Monday, the same spokesman declined to confirm or deny the referral or an investigation, saying he "had no information." But Ambassador Badr Abdelatty, a Foreign Ministry spokesman who handles outreach to international news organizations, said that no inquiry of any kind was under way against Ms. Mahfouz and Ms. Abdel Fattah.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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