The Egyptian autocrat who came to power after a 2013 military coup has been praised by US President Donald Trump and other Western leaders, but what exactly has he achieved?

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has received a glowing endorsement from his US counterpart, Donald Trump, as the two met in Washington on Tuesday.

In a warm meeting of the two leaders, Trump praised the autocrat for ‘doing a great job’ and called him a ‘great president’.

Sisi effectively came to power in July 2013 after overthrowing Egypt’s first and only freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a military coup.

A brutal crackdown on Morsi’s supporters came shortly after with a broader campaign against the opposition that continues today.

With hundreds killed by Egyptian security forces under Sisi’s rule and tens of thousands in prison on his orders, many Egyptians have a less generous assessment of their president’s performance than Trump.

Here are five ‘great’ achievements Trump may have missed.

1. Responsibility for the worst massacre in modern Egyptian history

When Sisi overthrew Morsi, tens of thousands of the ousted president's supporters set up a protest camp in Cairo's Rabaa al Adawiyah square, demanding his reinstatement.

Instead of peacefully dismantling the camp, in mid-August 2013, Egyptian forces went in guns blazing against the unarmed protesters. The resulting bloodbath left at least 817 protesters dead in what Human Rights Watch described as 'likely crimes against humanity'

2. Jailing tens of thousands of opposition members

Under Sisi, Egypt's prisons are overflowing with political prisoners. 

While the exact numbers are difficult to verify, HRW says more than 15,500 civilians have been sent to military courts alone, including 150 children.

Many of those detained are supporters of groups aligned with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, but also include liberal and leftist opponents of the Egyptian government.

Prisoners are often denied legal representation and family visits.

3. Clamp down on free speech

What does a victim of sexual harassment, a popular singer, and a puppet all have in common? They've all fallen foul of Egypt's crackdown on free speech under Sisi.

Abla Fahita, a comedic puppet who used to weigh in with wisecracks about politics, as well as bawdy jokes, found herself accused of subliminally spreading messages in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. She was even charged for violating public morality over claims her humour runs contrary to Egyptian values.

In October 2018, a woman who posted a video complaining of sexual harassment she experienced was sentenced to two years in prison for 'spreading false news'.

That same year, singer,  Sherine, was sentenced to six months in jail for joking about how drinking from the Nile might give someone parasites.

4. Deteriorating economy

Egypt's economy has always struggled due to poor economic management and rampant corruption. 

After the 2013 coup, several Gulf states poured billions of dollars into the state's coffers to keep its economy afloat, but the country continues to suffer.

While Egypt trudges along on key indicators, they come at the expense of the country's most impoverished, who are struggling to get by with subsidy cuts and risings prices.

5. Strengthening insurgency

Under Sisi's rule, Daesh terrorists have established a firm foothold in the Sinai peninsula, which they have used to carry out several atrocities.

The terrorist group was believed to be responsible for the November 2017 massacre at a mosque in northern Sinai, which killed 305 people.

A year after a three-month deadline set by Sisi for the military to defeat the armed group in Sinai passed, Daesh still operates in the territory.

Source: TRT World