The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
“Lawyers for Democracy” initiative
Before we begin
The Democratic Path report is a monthly report issued by The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information through “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative, which was launched by ANHRI in 2014 to monitor the democratic path in Egypt. Besides the monthly reports, ANHRI has released annual reports on the democratic path in 2014, 2015 & 2016, which are available at the “Reports” section on ANHRI’s website through the following link:
The anti-democratic climate imposed by the Egyptian authorities did not change a lot during August, what is worth mentioning is the increase in the practices against democracy and freedoms; whereas the authorities expanded their new methodology of blocking websites, including several prominent human rights websites, along with news websites, as the websites of both The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and Reporters without borders, concerned with defending freedom of expression were blocked, in addition to some blogs, including Manal & Alaa’s blog.
There was an increase in the number of violations against freedom of expression during this month in general, as 36 violations took place, compared to 20 violations in July, the summoning of human rights defenders for investigations in case 173 continued, and their targeting is still ongoing in a major way.
Moreover, the military trials for civilians increased. 18 military trials took place this month, in which 1056 civilians faced trials, compared with 295 civilians who appeared before military trials in July.
First: Protest Events
During August, the various powers organized 37 protest events, as follows:
- The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL): 21 ProtestEvents.
- Social and labor protests: 15.
- Students’ protests: 1 event.
The following chart shows the percentage of protest events according to the organizing powers
MB & NASL Protest Events
In August, the MB & NASL organized 21 various protest events, out of which 5 were attacked by the security forces, while the other 17 were not subjected to any security interventions.
The most important demands of the MB & NASL:
- Calling for what they call “the return of legitimacy” and expressing solidarity with the imprisoned former president Mohammed Morsi.
- Calling for the overthrow of president Sisi.
- Protesting against enforced disappearance and demanding the rescue of those who disappeared.
- Protesting against the arrest of the members of the alliance.
- Protesting the deteriorating economic conditions.
The following chart shows the percentage of security attacks on the MB & NASL protest events
Social and labor protests:
In August, there were 15 labor and social protest events, out of which 1 was attacked by the security forces, while the other 14 went by without any security interventions.
The most important demands of the social and labor protests:
- The members of the Pharmacists Syndicate protested the sale of drugs at two prices and demanded the implementation of Resolution No. 200 of 2012.
- Demanding the payment of delayed financial dues.
- Demanding the improvement of economic conditions.
The following chart shows the percentage of security attacks on protest events:
Students’ protests :
In August there was one students’ protest, as a number of students staged a protest in front of Cairo University demanding the prosecution of Yassin Lashin, a professor at the Faculty of Media at Cairo University, accused of blackmailing a number of female students, sexually harassing them, and sexually abusing a student, and the security forces arrested some of the students who took part in the protest.
In August, the Egyptian judiciary reviewed 90 ongoing trials, in which there were 9 convictions and 5 acquittals, in addition to death sentences against 16 defendants.
1 – Ongoing trials:
The 90 ongoing trials – in which a final decision was not reached – are as follows:
- 53 trials for the MB and NASL.
- 8 trials for the civil democratic powers.
- 3 trials for Mubarak regime.
- 7 trials relating to public affairs.
- 1 trial for post 30 June regime.
- While the military judiciary presided over 18 military trials for civilians.
The following chart illustrates the percentage of ongoing trials
Most Highlighted MB & NASL Trials:
- The cases known in media as (Breaking into Atfih police station, cluster cells, explosives cell, ISIS in Upper Egypt, the dispersal of Al-Nahda sit-in, Al-Fath Mosque incidents, the dispersal of Rabaa sit-in, the espionage with Hamas, the assassination of the Attorney General, the supporters of Jerusalem, the Imbaba cell, Zaytoun cell, breaking into prisons).
Most Highlighted Mubarak’s Regime Figures Trials:
- The cases known in media as (Al-Ahram foundation gifts, manipulating the stock market, the appeal of Mubarak and al-Adly against the decision to fine them in the case of cutting off communications).
Most Highlighted Civil & Democratic Powers Trials:
- The cases known in media as (The union of Jerboas, the trial of Mohammed Awad & Mustafa Ahmed in the Cabinet incidents).
Post 30 June regime trials:
The case known as the penetration of public funds prosecutions and leaking some of its investigations.
Other cases related to public issues/affairs:
- The cases known in media as (Ultras Ahlawy members, Ultras Zamalkawy member, Al-Warraq island incidents, Air defense incidents, Al-Karm village incidents).
Military trials for civilians:
In August, the military judiciary reviewed 18 deliberated trials of 1056 civilians.
2 – Judiciary Rulings:
In August, there were 9 convictions and 5 acquittals. Here are the details:
- Rulings of Conviction:
In August, the Egyptian judiciary issued 9 rulings of conviction as follows:
- 6 against the MB & NASL.
- 1 against the civil democratic powers.
- 1 military conviction against civilians.
- 1 in cases related to public affairs.
The following image shows the percentage of rulings of conviction
In August, there were 3 acquittals as follows:
- 3 for MB & NASL
- 1 for Mubarak’s regime
- 1 by the military judiciary
The following image shows the percentage of acquittals
- Death sentences:
In August, there were two death sentences handed down against 16 defendants. The details are in the following table:
|Preliminary rulings awaiting the Grand Mufti opinion||Rulings after the Mufti’s opinion||Total death sentences|
Third: Third: Acts of Violence & Terrorism
In August, there were 7 terrorist operations in the various provinces, along with 20 counter-terrorism operations. The details are as follows:
- Terrorist attacks:
7 terrorist operations were carried out this month, the explosives went off in all of them, while the security forces did not diffuse any of the explosives, resulting in 13 wounded and 12 dead.
The following chart illustrates the percentage of terrorist operations & counter-terrorism operations:
The following table shows the numbers of those killed and wounded:
|Civilians||Security forces||Terrorist operations perpetrators||Total|
|Number of Killed||3||9||0||12|
|Number of wounded||0||13||0||13|
- – Counter-terrorism operations
In August, there were 20 pre-emptive strikes or counter-terrorism operations targeting areas described as terrorism hubs by the security bodies. The operations resulted in the killing of 29 out of which there was a security agent and 28 from those targeted by the operations, 5 members of the security bodies were wounded, and 66 from those targeted were arrested.
Fourth: Attacks against freedom of expression and press freedoms:
There were 36 violations against freedom of expression and press freedom during August.
The details are in the following table:
|Physical and verbal assault||2|
|Arrest & detention||1|
|Prosecution investigations & ongoing trials||13|
|Baning and confiscation||1|
|Dismissal from work||2|
|Suspension from work||4|
|Suspending TV show||1|
The following chart shows the percentage of attacks against freedom of expression and press freedoms
Fifth: Attacks against Human Rights Defenders :
- On 7 August, 2017, The Board of Commissioners of the Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal filed by Counselor Hisham Genina, the former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), on the ruling of the Administrative Court of Cassation rejecting the lawsuit to cancel the unconstitutional decision to remove him from his post.
- Genina was dismissed from his position earlier, and was tried on the backdrop of statements he made about corruption in state institutions.
- On August 6, 2017, the Egyptian authorities blocked the website of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, www.anhri.net, to join the dozens of websites that were blocked in Egypt during the past three months. It is the first human rights website to be blocked in Egypt, within the framework of the new blocking methodology adopted by the Egyptian authorities lately.
- On August 5, 2017, Giza Criminal Court, presided over by Counselor Mohammad Naji Shehata, renewed the imprisonment of journalist Hisham Jaafar, chairman of the board of trustees of Mada Foundation for Media Development, for another 45 days.
- Hisham Jaafar was supposed to appear before the court for his imprisonment renewal on July 31 in Abbassiya court. However, he was deprived from the chance to appear before his natural judge by the prison office, which accompanied from Tora prison and those in charge of custody at the court, who prevented him from appearing before the judge and kept him in custody, to postpone the consideration of his imprisonment renewal on 5 August, to appear once again before a terrorism court at the police academy.
- On August 2, the 13 circuit of North Cairo Criminal Court, postponed the trial of lawyer Ali Ismail, a member of the defense team of the defendants in the case of Al-Zawahiri cell, on charges of insulting the judiciary, to October 2 hearing to complete the documents.
- The court of appeal had referred lawyer Ali Ismail to an urgent criminal trial on charges of insulting the judiciary, following a verbal argument between him and Judge Mohammed Sherine Fahmi, head of the trial chamber of the al-Zawahiri cell, due to a disagreement over questions to the prosecution witnesses.
- On August 2, Giza Criminal Court, convened at the Police Cadets Institute, decided to renew the imprsionment of journalist and researcher Isma’il al-Iskandarani for 45 days pending investigations into case No. 569/2015. The Supreme State Security Prosecution charged him with joining a group established in violation of the law and publishing false news and statements .
- Within the framework of the campaign to terrorize and besiege human rights defenders, the Department of Tax Evasion, upon a request by the investigating judge in case 173, called on a number of heads of organizations to the tax evasion administration to inspect their tax files, despite their regular payment of taxes.
- On Saturday 28 August, a number of HRDs and WHRDs appealed to the Administrative Court to demand the suspension and annulment of the decision of the President of Cairo Court of Appeal to renew the mandate of the investigating judge in the case of the independent human rights organizations No. 173 of 2011, known in the media as the foreign funding case, because the decision violates the law and the guarantees of fair trial, which was described by the plaintiffs as a matter that sheds more light on the legal and procedural violations that have plagued this case since it began in 2011.
- On August 27, Shebin El-Qanater prosecution decided to postpone the investigation with a member of the Syndicate of Journalists and the editor of “Bawabet Yanayer” (January Gate) Amr Badr, a member of the Syndicate of Journalists, in the report filed against him by the Ministry of Interior, until after the lamb feast holidays upon the request of the Syndicate’s lawyer.
- The Public Prosecution had summoned Badr to investigate him for his responsibility as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief for a number of press reports published during March and April last year on “torture and enforced disappearance”, which the Ministry of Interior’s report deemed “Publishing false news that could disrupt public peace and affect stability.”
- On Tuesday 22 August, the investigating judge appointed by the Ministry of Justice to investigate the case of civil society organizations No. 173 of 2011, decided to release lawyer Malek Adly ensuring his place of residence, and lawyer Osama Khalil, on bail of 3,000 EGP pending investigations.
- This was after they were summoned to investigation on the backdrop of their previous work at Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
- The Egyptian authorities, during the second half of August, blocked the blog of activist and prisoner of conscience Alaa Abdel Fattah and his wife, “Manalaa.net”, as well as the blog of baheyya.blogspot.com.
- On Wednesday 16 August, the judge of appeal decided to release lawyer Mohammed Ramadan on bail of 10,000 EGP in the case in which he is accused of inciting to protest, but the Public Prosecution decided to appeal the decision on August 16 before the court decided to reject the appeal of the prosecution and uphold the decision to release the lawyer .
- On the evening of August 16, the Egyptian authorities blocked the website of Qantara for dialogue with the Muslim world – http://www.qantara.de/ “on intercultural dialogue and communication, without declaring the reasons behind its blocking. As a number of Internet users in Egypt, from the usual Qantara website visitors, were surprised by the inability to reach the site since the evening of August 16.
- On 14 August, the Egyptian authorities blocked the website of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), concerned with defending freedom of expression, one of the countries it publishes is Egypt. The authorities did not announce their blocking of the site, nor did it provide any justification.
Sixth: Legislative amendments
- On August 7, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 198 of 2017 on the National Electoral Commission, which was issued by the parliament during its previous session.
- The law stipulates that the National Electoral Commission shall be an independent body with a legal personality of technical, financial and administrative independence. Its headquarters shall be in Cairo and, if necessary, shall hold its meetings at any place to be determined, upon the approval of the Board, the Chairman of the Commission may establish branches nationally. The law stipulates that the Commission shall be competent only to administer referendums, presidential, parliamentary and local elections, and to organize and supervise all related operations without interfering in its work or competences.
Note: This report relies on the cases documented by ANHRI and does not necessarily include all the incidents that took place during this month.