Schiff Deplores Egyptian Government's Use of Force, Attacks on Free Press

Washington, DC - Rep. Schiff released the following statement following the eruption of violence in Egypt this week, as security forces have used batons, water-cannons, rubber bullets and tear-gas cannons against its own citizens who were peacefully demonstrating. Egyptian security services have also attacked international journalists, including a CNN reporter and camera crew, a German television newsman and a BBC reporter. Other journalists have been beaten and arrested, including some whose whereabouts are unknown.

"I deplore the use of force to silence the peaceful protests of a broad-range of ordinary Egyptians and urge the Egyptian government to exercise maximum restraint. As the Egyptian people call for economic justice, an end to corruption and for freedom of speech and expression, President Mubarak and his government have an opportunity to lead Egypt into a new era by engaging in a true national dialogue on political and economic reform. President Mubarak has been a strong partner for the United States in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the broader struggle against Islamic extremism. But that role does not excuse or justify his government turning the full might of his security apparatus on its own people.

“Late reports indicate that President Mubarak has ordered the army onto the streets of Cairo. This is an extremely dangerous development and greatly increases the prospect for large-scale loss of life.

“I am also concerned by the efforts of the Egyptian government to suppress Egyptian and international reporters and call upon Egypt to immediately cease any and all harassment, beatings, intimidation and imprisonment of journalists. Attacking the press is both repugnant and counterproductive. I have seen reports that journalists working for CNN, the BBC, and German TV have been singled out and beaten by Egyptian plainclothes police. This must stop. The censorship, intimidation and imprisonment of journalists violates not only their personal liberty, but also the rights of those who are denied access to important ideas and information."

Rep. Schiffserves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee, which oversees the nation’s intelligence activities, as well as the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, which plays a central role in the formation and execution of U.S. foreign policy, and is responsible for reviewing and funding the U.S. international affairs budgets. Rep. Schiff is also founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press.