Sunday, October 30, 2011

Discrimination, Censorship and Torture

Activist blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah (Photo:

We are all Essam Atta today.

Essam Atta, 24, has apparently been tortured to death at Cairo's Tora prison. He was a victim of flooding his body with water through his mouth and anus. His family received calls from other inmates about the torture. Atta was being punished for smuggling a mobile phone SIM card into his cell. He had been tried by a military court on February 25th in relation to illegally occupying an apartment, and sentenced to two years. His family says he was simply nearby a scuffle at the time of his arrest.

Egyptian Prison Guards Accused of Torture Death
Latest alleged torture death in Egypt prompts public outcry against SCAF

It is not an easy time to be a journalist or a blogger in Egypt. In my view, the SCAF seems to have a consistent, and purposeful policy of harassing, intimidating, and arresting journalists and bloggers who criticize their regime.

Activists Alaa Seif Abd El-Fattah and Bahaa Saber were questioned at the offices of the military prosecution this morning, Sunday on charges of instigating the Maspero clashes. Abd El-Fattah runs the political blog Manalaa. He is one of Egypt's most famous bloggers. Human rights activist Mona Seif says that military prosecutors claim to possess video footage proving that Seif and Saber (rather implausibly) had incited protesters to commit violent attacks against army personnel during the Maspero clashes.

Here is a good post by fellow blogger Abdu Rahman that links the Maspero clashes with the deaths of Atta and the imprisonment of Alaa and Bahaa.

Pictures of the Dead Continue to Haunt Us

According to Al Ahram and Al Masry, around 12,000 civilians have been tried before military courts since February 11, 2011.

The military prosecutor also summoned a journalist, Mahmoud Al-Daba, who writes for the independent weekly Sawt al-Omma, for criticizing irregularities in the appointment of lecturers at Al Azhar University. The weekly magazine was confiscated in September after criticizing Egypt's General Intelligence Services. The Editor in Chief of the paper has rejected the summons. Three journalists Hossam el-Hamalawy, Reem Maged, and Nabil Shraf al-Din were summoned to appear before military judges for criticisms of the SCAF.

Meanwhile, detained blogger Maikel Nabil has been cleared of mental illness by a panel at Abbasiya Mental Hospital. He has been returned to a military prison in northern Cairo.  Nabil was sentenced to three years in military prison for writing a blog called "The people and the army were never one hand." Ironically, as the SCAF becomes more and more ruthless against civilians, the title of Nabil's blog appears to be increasingly correct.

Journalist summoned by military prosecutor

Detained Blogger Returns to Military Prison

Finally, in the wake of the Maspero tragedy, the European Parliament in Strasbourg passed a draft resolution accusing the Egyptian and Syrian governments of persecuting their Christian minorities. Some 10,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since March, 2011. 

1 comment:

  1. “Duaa for Egypt” Campaign حملة الدعاء من أجل مصر

    AsSalaamu alaykum

    Nu'man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah said, 'The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever'. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

    Brothers and Sisters with all the disturbing events that have and are happening in Egypt, please make Duaa دعاء for the stabilization of Egypt and the rectification of the rulers.

    So may Allah (SWT) protect Egypt, the Egyptian people, and the Egyptian rulers and us; guide them and us to the haqq and firmness upon it; rectify all of our affairs; the affairs of the Muslim rulers and all those they rule over.
    May Allah accept,

    Universal Union of Egyptian Expatriates

    ABOUT THIS CAUSE هدف هذه الحملة هو طلب العون من الله لنعبر ببلدنا إلى بر الأمان

    اللهم احفظ مصر واهلها وكل ما فيها