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November 03 2011


From their stories I discover the truth of the great achievements of the restoration of security. Two of my colleagues are seeing jail for the first time, simple youth without a grain of violence and their accusation is? Forming a gang. Indeed, Abu Malik alone is an armed gang unto himself. Now I understand what the Interior Ministry means when it reports that it has caught armed gangs. I congratulate us for the restoration of security then.

Felix Arabia: Translation of article by detained Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah | 2011-10-02

November 02 2011

Egypt: SCAF - The Last Pillar of the House?!

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Over the past few days we witnessed the detention of the prominent Egyptian blogger, Alaa Abd El Fattah; one more civilian victim of the Military Trials is believed to be tortured to death in his jail; the murderers of Khaled Said (the case that fueled the Egyptian revolution) were recently punished with only seven years in jail; and until now, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces refuse to hold responsibility for the massacre the took place in Maspero area, earlier this month. All these incidents made Egyptian bloggers wonder whether are we back to square one? Or as Alaa wrote in the message he sent from his detention, and was translated by Sultan AlQassemi:

I did not expect that the very same experience would be repeated after five years, after a revolution in which we have ousted the tyrant, I go back to jail?

It is clear to many, including Amira Nowaira, that the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF) is not doing well in managing the transitional period in Egypt.

More than 3 weeks after the deadly clashes that left 27 dead (so far) and hundreds injured on Sunday 9 October in front of the Egyptian State TV building, Maspero, there are still more questions than answers. The only thing that is clear is that the brutal attack against peaceful, mostly Coptic, protesters, marks a dangerous turning point in the ruling military council’s (dis)management of Egypt’s transition and sends a number of worrying messages.

Not only are they said to be mismanaging the transitional period, but they are being accused of standing behind the massacre, as many stated here. And according to Bikya Masr writer, Hayden Pirkle, the Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris too holds the Egyptian military responsible for Maspero massacre.

Prominent Coptic businessman turned politician, Naguib Sawiris, accused the Egyptian military of being complicit in the massacre at Maspero on October 9. Sawiris rejected that the violence at Maspero was incited by “infiltrators” and stated that it is the responsibility of the military to safeguard security, in an interview on Al Arabiya TV’s “Point of Order”

But how did we reach the point where the masses are to a big extent neutral to incidents like these ones and the majority even side with the army? A few months ago clashes took place in Al-Abbasseya district, and activists then wrote how the SCAF incited against their march for days on the state-run channels, and issued a statement the night prior to the clashes also carrying the same tone. And recently the same tactics were used in the Maspero massacre, and according to Amira Nowaira, the state TV was more blunt in incitement against the Copts:

This is the first time that State TV has been engaged in an open and shameless incitement against Copts. It did the unthinkable when it alleged that the army was being attacked by Copts and called on “honourable citizens” to come out to help defend the army, not realizing perhaps that it is the army that is supposed to defend citizens and not the other way round. This was tantamount to an invitation to extremists, bigots and racists to assault Copts on the streets.

And Elazul summarized the effect of the state media in the following paragraph.

Evidence only shows that not only were we opposed by Mubarak's group (including the SCAF), but also by a (large) segment of the population that until this day, curses the day we ever revolted, and considers us criminals & traitors.

Meanwhile, The Big Pharaoh added that the SCAF is also trying to deliver a certain message, not only the the Egyptians, but also to the US administration.

I wanted to know whether the Obama administration had gotten the message SCAF wanted to deliver ever since they allowed the Israeli embassy to be stormed. And this message can be summarized as follows: it’s either us or chaos in Egypt, it’s either us or sectarian strife.

Judging from the US’ mild statement after the massacre, I believe SCAF’s message was delivered. And it was not just delivered to the international community, but also to the general public as well. Fear and insecurity dominates the country today, and very few would like to collide with the military junta whom they consider to be the last remaining pillar holding the country together.

He then added that the delivery of such a message is like the green light for them that start a crackdown on activists and media.

This takes us to what I believe will happen to activists in Egypt. After ensuring that there won’t be much of a powerful objection from the inside front nor the international community, I believe SCAF will crackdown on activists and media unprecedentedly.

And this is exactly what many say is going on now. However, Abu Tawil mocked how the SCAF despite all this, is celebrating the raising of world’s highest flag in Egypt.

Naturally, in light of these troubled yet busy times and nearly eight months worth of their (mis)management, SCAF needed to take a break from trying activists in front of military trials, blaming invisible foreign hands for all of Egypt’s domestic problems, and decrying all protests and strikes for threatening national unity. Moreover thanks to the flight of foreign investment, dwindling foreign currency reserves, and an eighty percent decrease in the number of tourists, the Egyptian economy can afford to waste funds on useless public projects. As such, SCAF is proud to announce the raising of the world’s highest flag. Measuring 12 by 15 meters and flying at a height of 176 meters (14 meters higher than that of Azerbaijan), the flag has hoisted next to the dirt field where I play ultimate frisbee twice a week while patriotic poetry was recited and the national anthem was sung.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian parties are setting themselves for the parliamentary elections that will be held by the end of this month. And the importance of the coming parliament is that it will appoint the committee that will be writing the Egyptian constitution, however the deputy Prime Minister for Political Affairs, Ali Al-Selmy, invited political parties in order to seek their agreement on constitutional principles that are seen to give the military extraordinary power.

On Twitter, the changes got much heat.

@abuhatem: The supra-constitutional principles document drafted by the government in Egypt gives military extraordinary power.

@zalali: New draft provides inordinate amount of power to #SCAF 2 intervene in the drafting of new #constitution. Some attendees left meeting. #Egypt

However Khaled is worried that people in the street might not be really critical to the draft as the activists on Twitter are.

@Khaled_A_: أكيد إللى هتسمعه من حد فى الشارع على الوثيقة الفوق دستورية: و ماله ما يكون فوق الدستور ده جيشنا ده هو إللى حمى الثورة ده مضربش عليكم نار

@Khaled_A_: I am sure this is going to be the comment of the people in the street about the supra-constitutional draft: What's wrong with the army being above the constitution? It's our army, and they protected the revolution and didn't shoot anybody then.

And finally, Mohamed Kamel wonders, if there is still a possibility for people to revolt again.

@MohHKamel: Would it be difficult to get people to revolt again after the last 9 months? No security, sectarian tensions, shaky economy?

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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November 01 2011

Egypt: Blogger Maikel Nabil Military Trial Postponed

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

A stenciled image of sanad calling for his freedom. photo by hossam elhamalawy

A stenciled image of Sanad calling for his freedom. Photo by Hossam Elhamalawy

Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who has so far spent 216 days in prison and 71 days on hunger strike, today refused to stand trial in a military court. Sanad was arrested days after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as the president of Egypt, and sentenced in April to three years in prison for posts he published on his blog.

The charges against him are insulting the armed forces and publishing false information on his blog and disturbing public security. Last month, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals annulled the conviction but continued to hold Sanad, who had started a hunger strike, transferring him to a mental health facility.

Back in prison, Sanad today continues with his hunger strike and his defiance to accept being subjected to the trial of a military court, a stance similar to that of blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah, who was detained for 15 days by a military court on Sunday (October 30) for refusing to be interrogated by the Military Prosecutor, in protest against its legitimacy.

Sanad's trial was today postponed to November 13, creating an uproar on social networking sites. A group of supporters who waited outside court chanted against military trials.

On Twitter, journalist Adam Makary announces:

@adamakary: #BREAKING: #MaikelNabil trial postponed to November 13. Four witnesses called to the stand #egypt

The Big Pharaoh explains:

: Lawyers advised #mikaelnabil to apologise for his anti-SCAF blog post. He refused and also refused to accept military court legitimacy.

And Mona Seif, who has been campaigning against the military trial of civilians since January and who is Abd El Fattah's sister, notes [ar]:

مايكل نبيل في جلسة النهاردة،أصر على موقفه و طلب من محاميه الا يترافعوا،و منع المحامي المنتدب من المحكمة من التحدث باسمه. منتظرين حكم المحكمة

@Monasosh: Maikel Nabil, in today's trial, insisted on his stance and asked his lawyer not to take the stand. He also prohibited the court appointed lawyer to speak on his behalf. We are awaiting the court's decision.

The Free Maikel Twitter account released the following statement, reportedly written by Sanad and smuggled out of prison, last night:

@freeMaikel: Urgent statement from #MaikelNabil: I’m Still Boycotting the Military Judicature and I Bear the Consequences

A full statement is available on the Free Maikel Nabil Sanad Facebook page here. In the statement, he writes:

History repeats itself, the same way I objected the compulsory military service last year, this year I boycott litigation before the military officers.

Mr. officers… I say Mr. Officers and not Mr. judge, because the judge before anything has to have the characteristic of independence, whereas military officers are a branch of the executive authority. That’s why, you are an officer, not a judge no matter what names, titles or descriptions you were called.

Sanad continues:

I am a civilian person, I refuse to be tried before a military judicature or any other exceptional judicature, even any judicature lacking independence. I refuse to be tried for my beliefs or my opinions, or that settling of accounts be done with me for the same of fascist Intelligence agencies, which don’t respect rights.

Sanad is one of 12,000 Egyptian civilians subjected to military trials since the ousting of Mubarak after the January 25 revolution.

Supporters the maikel nabil military trial

Supporters the Maikel Nabil military trial. Photo from Twitter by Adam Makary

After hearing about the postponement of the case, Columnist Mona Eltahawy tweets:

: #SCAF is waiting for #MaikelNabil to die. There is no other conclusion. And after 70days hunger strike& case postponed again, he will soon.

Sandra Yacoub adds:

@SandraYacoub: very few ppl thoughout hisotry lasted more than 70 days without food. They are killing #maikelnabil #freemaikel

And Mohannad concludes [ar]:

ابطالنا في في المحاكم العسكرية مايكل نبيل وعلاء عبد الفتاح ‎#FreeMaikel‏ ‎#FreeAlaa
@mand0z: Our heroes are in military courts - Maikel Nabil and Alaa Abd El Fattah

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

// #egypt military detains blogger alaa abd el fattah - read and please sign the petition, spread the word via all social media. please, world, don't let this happen! article in the guardian: and PETITION AGAINST MILITARY TRIALS in egypt #freealaa #nomiltrials #diaspora #politics #activism //

quoted from post entry by Eva Lenz - via oAnth at Diaspora*

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00
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