Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter Reuters

Former US President Jimmy Carter established an office of his Carter Center human rights group in Egypt in 2011, when Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood movement was voted in as president - now he is pulling out amid a crackdown on the Islamist group.

In addition to closing the office in the Nile state, the Carter Center added that it would not send a mission to observe the parliamentary elections in Egypt this year citing restrictions on democratic rights, according to the BBC.

In announcing the move, the group referenced the "crackdown on dissidents, opposition groups, and critical journalists, together with heightened restrictions on core freedoms."

Then-army chief and current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coup that deposed Morsi last July 3, and since then has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood in clashes that have already seen at least 1,400 people killed.

Over 16,000 others have been arrested, with hundreds - including 683 Islamists in April and 529 the month before, as well as Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie - sentenced to death.

The state is also holding at least 14 journalists in jail, including three from Al Jazeera who in June were given sentences ranging from seven to ten years.

Sisi has also threatened to change the peace treaty with Israel, and blamed Israel's lack of "peace" for the terrorist threat of Islamic State (ISIS).

Genuine democracy in Egypt "unlikely"

The Carter Center said of Egypt that "the political environment is deeply polarized and that political space has narrowed for Egyptian political parties, civil society, and the media."

"As a result, the upcoming elections are unlikely to advance a genuine democratic transition in Egypt. Both Egyptian civil society and international organizations face an increasingly restrictive environment that hinders their ability to conduct credible election observation," it added.

Carter has a long history of antagonism towards Israel, such as last May when he called on the European Union (EU) to label products coming from "illegal Israeli settlements" - despite the fact that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is legal under international law.

More recently, this April Carter supported the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) unilateral push to join international organizations in breach of the ongoing peace talks with Israel and the 1993 Oslo Accords. 

In 2006, Carter wrote a book entitled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." His claims in the book, which he continued to espouse even after factual errors were revealed, led the reporting accuracy group CAMERA to say that the ex-president “clearly has an Israel, and even a Jewish problem.”