- Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:56 am #397110
Worse than the dictators: Egypt’s leaders bring pillars of freedom crashing down
Egypt is enacting authoritarian laws at a rate unmatched by any regime for 60 years, legal specialists from four institutions have told the Guardian.
Since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Morsi’s successors in the presidency, Adly Mansour and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, have used the absence of an elected parliament to almost unilaterally issue a series of draconian decrees that severely restrict freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Egypt boasts of imprisoning 10,000 in 2014Legislation enacted by Mansour, an interim president installed by Sisi after Morsi’s removal, and Sisi himself, a former army chief elected to succeed Mansour, include laws that ban protest, expand the jurisdiction of military courts, remove several limits on pre-trial detention, and restrict media coverage of the armed forces without prior approval.
Most troublingly, the moves have been made without the involvement of parliament, and with only the nominal oversight of a cabinet and a committee over which Sisi has overbearing influence.
The Egyptian military dictatorship of Field Marshal-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi boasted last weekend that it had detained nearly 10,000 people over the past 12 months. This grim estimate came as Washington moved to further normalize its relationship with the regime, and as the US Congress effectively waived human rights conditions for the provision of military aid to the Cairo regime.
Opponents of the regime believe that the real number of those arrested has reached over 40,000, many of them held without charges in clandestine torture centers run by the security forces.
Among these prisoners are at least 1,000 minors, some as young as 11 years old, according to the human rights group “Free the Children.” A report issued earlier this week found that at least 600 are being held in the town of Banha, north of Cairo, in a secret detention camp whose very existence the regime denies. Lawyers for the youths’ families report them being held for eight months or more without trial or access to either family members or attorneys.
In the vicious crackdown on protests against the coup, the regime has killed at least 3,000 people, including the bloody massacre of over 1,000 people who had occupied Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in August of last year.
Since then, the regime’s courts have held three mass trials in which a total of 1,397 political detainees have been sentenced to death.
The regime has sought to suppress any future protests by imposing a law outlawing any demonstration that is not authorized by the security forces.
None of this, however, has stood in the way of a steady march toward full normalization between Washington and the Egyptian junta. Full diplomatic relations are being restored and steps taken to assure the uninterrupted flow of military hardware to the dictatorship. In the face of the junta’s monstrous crimes, the Obama administration has proven unable to summon up any of the phony “human rights” outrage it reserves for countries like Venezuela, where its aim is regime change.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.