MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Carter Center human rights group, founded by a former US President, Jimmy Carter, has announced that it will close down its office in Egypt's capital, Cairo, after nearly three years of operation, citing the country's restrictions on democratic freedoms.
"The current political environment in Egypt is marked by a severe narrowing of political space and deep polarization. There has been a crackdown on dissidents, opposition groups, and critical journalists, together with heightened restrictions on core freedoms of expression, assembly, and association," the Carter Center said in its statement released Wednesday, particularly concerned about the mass arrest of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
In addition, the Carter Center said that they would not deploy an observation mission to assess Egypt's parliamentary elections anticipated later this year.
"The upcoming elections are unlikely to advance a genuine democratic transition in Egypt," the statement stated. "Both Egyptian civil society and international organizations face an increasingly restrictive environment that hinders their ability to conduct credible election observation."
The Carter Center had observed six elections including the latest May presidential polls won by former military chief Abdel Fattah Sisi.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt launched a civic political party, the Freedom and Justice Party in 2011 to contest elections, after the Egyptian Revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, and was considered the largest and most organized political group in Egypt.
However, the group experienced a crackdown in 2013 when the field marshal serving at that time led the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, causing 1,400 deaths.
According to a BBC report, other than the reported deaths, over 16,000 other have been detained among them, at least 14 journalists, including three from Al Jazeera English who were given long jail sentences earlier in June for alleged terrorist-related activities.