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May 24, 8:04 PM EDT

Rights group urges halt of arms deals to Egypt over abuses

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CAIRO (AP) -- Britain-based Amnesty International is calling on European Union member states to halt arms sales to Egypt over human rights abuses it characterizes as "fueling killings and torture."

In a Wednesday statement, it said that almost half of EU member states have flouted a suspension on arms transfers to Egypt, "risking complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture."

"Internal repression by the security forces remains rife, and there has been virtually no accountability," says Magdalena Mughrabi from the group. "Excessive use of force, mass arbitrary arrests, torture, and enforced disappearances having become a part of the security forces' modus operandi," she added.

European countries and the United States say they continue arms sales to Egypt because it is a stable partner in a volatile region.

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