The Democratic Path in Egypt During March 2017

12 April, 2017

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

Lawyers for Democracy Initiative

 

The Democratic Path in Egypt During March 2017

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:

http://goo.gl/mSo6hc

 

Prologue:

Forced displacement faced by Sinai Copts in late February was one of the most influential stops in the path of democracy. On one hand, it opens the door for questioning the exceptional measures taken by the authorities in Sinai under the pretext of combating terrorism, and their ability to effectively confront terrorism in light of their failure to protect Copts and prevent being targeted under sectarian basis. And on the other hand, it led to a number of protest events that took place in March.

In this month, political powers alongside labor and social groups organized 90 different protest events denouncing the situation in the country, 60 of which were organized by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL).

25 of these protests were attacked by the security forces.

Courts also witnessed the reviewing of 58 ongoing trials, in which there were 12 convictions and 4 acquittals into the various powers’ trials. The most salient of these verdicts was the acquittal of Mubarak from the charge of killing the demonstrators during the January 25 Revolution, and the suspended prison sentence against the Journalists Syndicate’s leaders in connection with the deadlock between the syndicate and the authorities against the backdrop of the security forces’ storming of the syndicate’s headquarters.

While the month didn’t see any death sentences, the military trials for civilians have continued, as the military judiciary reviewed 6 ongoing trials against 119 civilians.

The targeting of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), the judiciary, or the regulatory bodies has also continued. While adjudicating over the Belady Foundation case has been adjourned, two judges have been referred to the disciplinary board, against the backdrop of taking part in an anti-torture draft law.

The details of the democratic path during February 2017 are as follows:

First: Protest Events

During this month, the various powers organized 90 protest events, as follows:

– MB & NASL: 27 protest events

– Students protest events: 2 protest events

– Civil and Democratic Powers: 1 protest event

The following chart shows the percentage of protest events according to the organizing powers

25 protest events were attacked by the security forces, while 65 went unattacked.

The following chart shows the percentage of security attacks on the protest events

MB & NASL Protest Events

In March, the MB & NASL organized 60 protest events, out of which 19 were attacked by the security forces and 41 went unattacked.

The most important demands made by the MB & NASL:

– Protesting the deteriorating condition of Copts displacement in Sinai

– Protesting what they called the Egyptian-Russian military alliance

– Showing solidarity with imprisoned NASL members

– Demanding the release of former President Mohamed Morsi

– Calling for toppling current President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

The following chart shows the percentage of security attacks on the MB & NASL protest events

Labor and Social protest events:

Lawyers for Democracy has observed 27 social protest events organized in March, out of which 22 went unattacked whereas 5 ones were attacked by the security forces.

The most salient demands of the social and labor protests:

– Protesting the Supply Ministry’s decision to reduce the quota of subsidized bread (Golden Card bakeries) allocated to those without subsidy smart cards

– Master and PhD holders’ calling for appointment in government jobs, like their colleagues

– Lawyers’ denouncing the 5-year prison sentence issued against seven of them

– Lawyers’ protesting the new membership conditions assigned by their syndicate

–  Astrenx Alexandria Company’s employees’ calling for nomination and permanent employment contract to guarantee their rights

-Protesting low wages

The following chart shows the percentage of attacks against social & labor protests

Students Protests

In March, students held two demonstrations which were not subject to any attack. The first one was organized by students of the Higher Institute of Engineering in Al-Arish city, in solidarity with the arrest of three of their colleagues, while the second protest was set by students of Faculty of Mass Communication at Cairo University, to show solidarity with their colleague who was suspended from the university.

Civil and Democratic Powers

The month of March saw only one protest by the civil and democratic powers, organized to protest the suffering of Copts in Sinai, from attacks to forced displacement. The demonstration was attacked by the security forces.

Second: Trials

In March, the Egyptian judiciary reviewed 58 ongoing trials regarding public issues, in which there were 12 convictions and 4 acquittals, whereas it didn’t witness any death sentence in public opinion cases.

Ongoing trials:

The 58 ongoing trials- which haven’t reached any rulings of adjudication- are as follows:

– 41 trials for the MB and NASL

– 5 trials for Mubarak regime.

– 5 Civil and Democratic Powers trials

– 1 Pro Post-June 30 regime trial;

while the military judiciary presided over 6 military trials for civilians.

The following chart illustrates the percentage of ongoing trials

Most Highlighted MB &NASL Trials:’

Cases known as (Agnad Masr/ Egypt’s Soldiers group, Public Prosecutor’s assassination, Great Sea incidents, Sub-Operations Committees, Al-Zaher violence incidents, storming Atfih police center, Boulaq Al-Dakrur incidents, attacking Al-Ahram Hotel, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdes group, Nasr City Cell, storming Mattay police station, Kerdasa Massacre, Al-Badrashin incidents, Al-Talbyia incidents, setting fire to Al-Monib police station, Al-Basatin violence incidents, Imbaba violence incidents, Rabaa Sit-in dispersal.

Most Highlighted Mubarak’s Regime Figures Trials:

Cases known as “Steel licenses, reviewing the appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court into cutting off communications case, Habib Al-Adly’s trial along with 12 from the Interior Ministry leaders under Mubarak’s rule, Zoheri Garana and Ahmed Al-Maghraby’s trial on a charge of seizing public money, appeal by youssef Walu and others against their asset freeze order”.

Most Highlighted Civil & Democratic Powers Trials:

Cases known as (Trial of Ultras Ahlawy into the incidents of Moroccan Wedad team, The Cabinet incidents, Storming Belady Foundation).

Most Highlighted Post-June 30 regime trials:

Appeal filed by former Minister of Agriculture into the case known in media as “Ministry of Agriculture’s bribery”.

Military trials for civilians:

 

In March the military judiciary reviewed 6 trials of 119 civilians.

Judiciary Rulings:

In March, there were 12 convictions, 4 acquittals and here are the details:

Rulings of Conviction:

In March, the Egyptian judiciary issued 9 rulings of conviction as follows:

6 convictions against MB & NASL

2 rulings of conviction against the Civil and Democratic Powers

1 conviction against Post-June 30 regime

1 conviction in the military tribunals against civilians

The following chart shows the percentage of rulings of conviction

Acquittals:

In March, the Egyptian judiciary issued 4 acquittals as follows:

2 acquittals for MB & NASL

1 in the military trials for civilians

1 for Mubarak’s Regime

– Mubarak declared innocent from the charge of killing demonstrators during January Revolution!

During its hearing convened on the 2nd of March, 2017, Court of Cassation held at the Police Academy, ordered the acquittal of former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, in his re-trial into the case known in media as “Trial of the Century”, in which Mubarak was accused of killing the demonstrators of January 25 Revolution. The court accepted the appeal filed by the Public Prosecution against the previous issued ruling.

Third: Acts of Violence & Terroist Events:

In March, there were 11 terrorist operations carried out in the various cities, along with 10 counter-terrorism operations. The details are as follows:

1- Terrorist attacks

In this month, 11 terrorist operations were carried out, and the explosives went off in 10 of them, while the security forces managed to diffuse only one explosive, resulting in the injury of 18 and the killing of 19.

The following chart illustrates the percentage of terrorist operations & counter-terrorism operations

The following table shows the number of those killed and wounded.

Total Perpetrators Security forces Civilians  
19 0 18 1 Killed
18 0 13 5 Wounded
37 0 31 6 Total

 

2- Counter-terrorism operations

In March, the Egyptian authorities carried out 10 counter-terrorism operations targeting areas described as terrorism hubs by the security bodies. The operations resulted in the killing of 130 from those targeted by the operations and the arrest of 194 others.

Fourth: Crackdown on freedom of expression & media freedoms

There were 21 violations against freedom of expression and press freedom.

The following table illustrates the number of violations

Physical & Verbal Assaults

2
Prevention from Covering 8
Persecution Investigations or Ongoing Trials 8
Verdicts 3
Total 21

 

The following chart shows the percentage of attacks against freedom of expression and media freedoms

Fifth: Attacks against Human Rights Defenders

– Cairo Criminal Court, in its March 23 hearing, ordered the postponement of the adjudication ruling against Aya Hegazy, Mohamed Hassanein and their six colleagues, accused against the backdrop of the case known as (Belady Foundation- Children of Our Street, over which they have been held in pretrial detention since May 2014. The court ruled to adjourn the case to the hearing of April 16, 2017.

– On March 25, Qasr Al-Nil Appellant Misdemeanor Court accepted the appeal submitted by former journalists’ syndicate head Yahya Qalash, and two former members of the syndicate council Gamal Abdel Rahim and Khaled al-Balshi, against the prison sentence on November 19 last year by Qasr el-Nil Misdemeanors Court, against the backdrop of “harboring fugitives” inside the syndicate building, the court reduced the sentence to one year each, suspended for a 3-year period.

– On March 26, “Right Livelihood” Foundation organized a special ceremony in Cairo to hand over activist Mozn Hassan alongside her organization “Nazra for Feminist Studies” the “Right Livelihood” Award 2016, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Mozn was supposed to receive the award at the Wright Lifehood Convention in Stockholm in November 2016, but she was surprised with a travel ban imposed on her by the investigating judge into case no. 173 of 2011, known as the Civil Society Organizations, so she was unable to travel, before receiving the award at a private ceremony held in Cairo.

Sixth: Attacks on the Judiciary and Regulatory Bodies:

– On March 30, the investigating judge- appointed by the Ministry of Justice, decided to refer the two judges Asim Abdul Jabbar, deputy head of the Court of Cassation, and Hisham Raouf, the President of Cairo Court of Appeal, to the disciplinary board, against the backdrop of taking part in an anti-torture draft law, along with other legal experts during a workshop organized by United Group (U.G. Law), which took place on March 11, 2015, to work on drafting a law that is in line with the provisions of the new constitution and the international standards. The decision came after the two judges were sent to investigations following a complaint by the Supreme Judicial Council for allegations of taking part in preparing an anti-torture draft law in cooperation with an illegal human rights center. A hearing was set on April 24 to start reviewing the two judges’ trial before the Disciplinary Board at the Supreme Court.

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Note: This report relies on the cases documented by ANHRI and does not necessarily include all the incidents that took place during this month

 

To view previous democratic path reports

http://anhri.net/?document_type=reports-and-studies&lang=en

 

To view “Obscure & Stalled” The Democratic Path in Egypt 2014 Report

http://anhri.net/?p=141601&lang=en

 

To view “One Step Back, Two Steps Further Back” The Democratic Path in Egypt 2015 report

http://anhri.net/?p=158569&lang=en

 

To view “Closed Until Further Notice” The Democratic Path in Egypt 2016 report

http://anhri.net/?p=158569&lang=en

 

 

[1]     This report does not necessarily include all the incidents that took place during this month, it is rather based on the events monitored and documented by “Lawyers for Democracy” team.

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