Georgetown University Professor John Esposito has objected to the planned visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's to Britain, saying the visit constitutes a "recognition by Britain and its government of Sisi, who came into power in Egypt through a military coup."
Esposito explained during an interview with Turkey's Anadolu news agency that ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi came into power through the first democratic elections in the country after 60 years of authoritarian regime.
"The Sisi regime is one of the most repressive and authoritarian regime in Egypt's modern history," said Esposito. "But unfortunately it is recognised and supported by Western governments which adheres to the principles of democracy, freedom and human rights, including the British, American and EU governments."
Esposito pointed out that Sisi revealed his true face during the first six weeks following the coup, pointing to "the killing of 1,400 to 2,800 civilians, including women and children, during the period of the so-called democratic transition."
"Human Rights Watch described these events as the most bloody massacre in Egypt's modern history," he said, adding that "after the mass executions, we can no longer have confidence in the judicial system in Egypt where 1,200 people were sentenced to death during an hour trial in addition to the arrest of 43,000 people who opposed Sisi, 23,000 of whom are still in prison."
Esposito stressed that the Egyptian government arrested journalists and academics simply because they expressed their views by using their right to peaceful demonstration.
Professor Esposito joined several public figures, academics and human rights activists in Britain who signed a letter to the British government asking it to withdraw Sisi's invitation. The signatories described the visit as "an insult to the values of democracy".
The Egyptian presidency did not issue further statements on Sisi's upcoming visit to Britain next week, but the presidential spokesman confirmed earlier in June that Sisi will visit Britain before the end of this year.