CAIRO (AP) — An international rights group is accusing Egyptian authorities of using counterterrorism and state-of-emergency laws and courts "to unjustly prosecute journalists, activists, and critics for their peaceful criticism."

A statement from Human Rights Watch on Sunday says Egyptian police have carried out arrests of critics of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi both in the period before and after the March presidential election.

Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch says el-Sissi's government has exploited security threats it faces "cynically, as a cover to prosecute peaceful critics and to revive the infamous (Hosni) Mubarak-era state security courts."

Authorities have arrested a number of secular activists since el-Sissi was re-elected for a second four-year term in March. He faced no serious challengers, after several potentially strong candidates were arrested or intimidated into withdrawing from the race.