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8 October, 2017

The Democratic Path in Egypt during September 2017

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

“Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative

Before we begin

The Democratic Path is a monthly report issued by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) through “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative that was launched by ANHRI in 2014 to monitor the democratic path in Egypt. In addition to the monthly reports on monitoring the democratic situation,  ANHRI released annual reports monitoring the democratic path in 2014, 2015 & 2016, which are available at the “Reports” section on ANHRI’s website. To read the reports click the following link:

Introduction:

Without pleading or offering defence, a judgment of 3 months in prison and EGP 1000 bail to suspend it till filing appeal was handed down against “Khaled Ali”, the human rights lawyer and the most potential candidate for the coming presidential elections, over a case that is based on a Hesba complaint filed by a regime-related lawyer. This case dramatically evinces the situation of democracy in Egypt; whereas the judgment is to retaliate against him due to his role in defending the human rights as well as the verdict issued by the Administrative Judicial Court that considers both of Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian islands. As such, it is seen by a large number of those who are interested in Egypt’s public affair as a step aims at depriving Ali from running for the coming presidential election.

Minorities along with their rights’ defenders have had their share of harassment; as 24 Nubian activists are behind bars against the backdrop of their march that was organized to call for enforcing the Constitution and let Nubian families return to their land.

As usual, the military trials for civilians have not stopped; as 942 civilians appeared before the exceptional military court throughout September. The mass death sentences also have not been stopped, whereas 5 death sentences were issued against 44 defendants throughout the month.

All the details on the protest events, trials, terrorist operations, attacks on human rights defenders, freedom of expression and media freedom in this report show that the democratic path still goes retrograde.

First: Protest Events

Different powers organized 36 protest events during September; they are distributed as follows:

  • Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL): 14
  • Social and labor protests: 13
  • Students protests: 9

ows the percentage of protest events according to their organizing powers

3 of the protest events were attacked by the security forces, while 33 did not face any attacks.

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


MB & NASL Protest Events

In September, both of  MB & NASL organized 14 various protest events,  2 of them were attacked by the security forces, while the other 12 were not subjected to any security interventions.

The MB & NASL’s  most important demands were:

  • Demanding  what they call “the return of legitimacy” and showing solidarity with the imprisoned former president “Mohammed Morsi”,
  • Calling for stopping the enforced disappearance,
  • Releasing the prisoners,
  • Condemning the normalization with Israel, against the backdrop of Al-Sisi’s meeting with Netanyahu.

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


Social and Labor Protests:

13 different labor and social protest events were organized in September; the security forces attacked one of them, while the other 12 were ended peacefully.

The prominent demands of the social and labor protests:

  • Protesting against the high prices of electricity by a number of families in Faiyum,
  • A number of workers, affiliated to a private company, at Luxor Airport protested against their lay-off,  
  • Protesting against the low wages, and demanding the improvement of economic conditions.

The following table shows the percentage of security attacks on protest events:

Students Protests:

The students or their families organized 9 different protest events throughout September, and none of them faced security attacks.

Following are prominent demands of Students Protests:

  • The students’ families protested against not preparing some schools,
  • Protesting against transferring the students from their schools,
  • Objecting to changing the system of some schools from morning to night schools.

Second: Trials

In September, the Egyptian judiciary considered 65 ongoing trials, in which there were 11 convictions and 2 acquittals, in addition to death sentences issued against 44 defendants.

1 – Ongoing Trials

The division of the 65 ongoing trials, which have not been adjudicated yet, is as follows:

  • 42 trials of MB and NASL,
  • 6 trials of the civil democratic powers,
  • 5 trials of Mubarak-era officials,
  • 3 trials relating to public affairs,
  • 9 trials of civilians by the military courts.

The following table illustrates the percentage of ongoing trials

Most Highlighted MB & NASL Trials:

The cases known in media as:

  • Retrial of Storming the Prisons
  • Collaborating with Hamas
  • Trial of Hassan Malek over harming the national economy charges
  • Murder of journalist Mayada Ashraf
  • Violent Incidents in Kerdasa
  • Raba’a Dispersal
  • Ansar al-Sharia  (Supporters of Islamic Law)
  • Dispersal of Al-Nahda sit-in
  • Guidance Bureau Incidents
  • Public Prosecutor’s Assassination

Most Highlighted Mubarak-era Figures Trials

The cases known in media as:

  • Al-Dekhaila Iron
  • Trial of Garana and Al-Maghraby over the charges of profiteering, wasting public funds and illegally selling state-owned lands
  • Trial of Garana and his family over abuse of powers charges
  • Appeal by Bibliotheca Alexandrina Head “Ismail Serag”

Most Highlighted Civil & Democratic Powers Trials

The cases known in media as:

  • Trial of Islam Marey,  Egyptian Social Democratic Party leader
  • Protest of Alexandria Lawyers
  • Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, Member of Bread and Freedom Party
  • 5th Anniversary of January 25 Revolution in Dar Al-Salam
  • Jerboas’ Union

Military Trials of Civilians:

In September, the military judiciary considered 9 ongoing trials  in which  942 civilians appeared.

2 – Judicial Rulings

Throughout September, there were 11 convictions and 2 acquittals. following are the details:

  • Rulings of Conviction:

The Egyptian courts issued 11 rulings of conviction  throughout September, they are as follows:

  • 7 against MB & NASL
  • 3 Against the Civil & Democratic Powers
  • 1 in cases related to public affairs.

The following chart shows the percentage of rulings of conviction

  • Acquittals:

In September, there were 2 acquittals, they are the following:

  • 1 for MB & NASL
  • 1 for Civil & Democratic Powers
  • Death sentences:

In September, there were 5 death sentences handed down against 44 defendants.

The details are in the following table:

 

Total death sentences Rulings after the Mufti’s opinion Preliminary rulings awaiting the Grand Mufti opinion Number of verdicts
30 12 18 4 Civil
14 1 Military
44 12 32 5 Total

Third: Acts of Violence & Terrorism

In September, there were 9 terrorist operations in various governorates, along with 9 counter-terrorism operations. The details are as follows:

  • Terrorist attacks:

Throughout September, 9 terrorist operations were carried out, the explosives went off in 5 of them, while the security forces managed to dismantle 4 bombs. Those operations had led to injury of 8 and the death of 19.

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


The following table shows the numbers of the killed and wounded:

Total Terrorist operations perpetrators Security forces Civilians
19 0 19 0 Number of Killed
8 0 7 1 Number of wounded
27 0 26 1 Total

2- Counter-terrorism operations:

In September, The security forces staged 9 pre-emptive strikes (counter-terrorism operations), targeting areas described as terrorism hubs by the security bodies. The operations resulted in the killing of 25, including 2 security agents, while the 23 were from those targeted by the operations. 8 members of the security forces were wounded, and 249 of the targeted were arrested.

The table below shows the number of those were killed and wounded

Total The Targeted Security Forces
25 23 2 Number of the killed
8 2 6 Number of the wounded
33 25 8 Total

Fourth: Attacks on freedom of expression and media freedom:

The month of September witnessed 36 different violations against freedom of expression as well as media freedoms.

The details are in the following table:

 

1 Detention & Arrest
1 Enforced Disappearance
11 Prosecution investigations & ongoing trials
1 Confiscation & Ban
2 Judicial Rulings
1 Closure
17 Total

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


Fifth: Attacks against Human Rights Defenders :

On September 8, Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced that the Egyptian authorities blocked their website in Egypt, after it published a 44-page report on torture in Egypt that included accusations and evidence on torturing political prisoners by Egypt’s police.

  • On Monday September 11,  the Administrative Judicial Court postponed the action lodged by Louise Shehata, deputy of Foundation of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (FVAFD), against the Minister of Social Solidarity, Cairo Governor, deputy to ministry of solidarity in Cairo, and Al-Zeitoun Administration for Social Solidarity head, to December 24 hearing.
  • On Tuesday September 12, Giza Criminal Court, at the Police Cadets Institution in Tora, renewed the detention of Hesham Gafar, researcher , member of the Journalists Syndicate and chairman of the board of trustees of Mada Foundation for Media Development, for additional 45 days  pending probe by the Supreme State Security Prosecution over the case no. 720 of the year 2015 (limited to State Security), in which Gafar is accused of joining a banned group and receiving a bribe.
  • Gafar was arrested in October 2015 after storming his house and foundation, and was disappeared for a short period prior to appearing as a defendant before the State Security Prosecution, which ordered his remand. Since then, he is on remand under poorly-conditioned detention in Al-Aqrap Prison, in spite of his extremely deteriorated health condition.
  • On Wednesday September 20, Aswan Court’s Council Chamber accepted the Public Prosecution’s appeal against the decision of releasing the publicly known group “Defoof Detainees” (Trampolines Detainees), reversed their release decision, and jailed them for extra 15 days pending the investigations with over protest charges.
  • Aswan Misdemeanor Court released the 24 defendants on bail of EGP 1000 during its hearing on September 19.
  • Noteworthy, the 24 activists, on September 3, took part in a march using trampolines to sing and celebrate with Al-Adha Feast (Islamic Feast), chanting “Feast in Nuba is best” and also calling for implementing Article 236 of the Egyptian Constitution that obliges the authorities to allow Nubians return to their land. However, they were surprised with the security forces assaulting their march and arresting its participants to be referred to the Public Prosecution that sent them on remand.
  • On Wednesday, September 20, the consideration of appeal against the fine verdict- issued in the case in which a number of Alexandria lawyers are being accused; on the background of protesting in the court to object to the maritime boundary deal with Saudi Arabia- adjourned to 4 October hearing to include the court guard book.
  • On Wednesday, September 20, the Supreme State Security Prosecution,  chaired by Khaled Diaa el-Deen, ordered the imprisonment of Khaled Al-Beltagy for 15 days pending investigation over the accusations of joining “Association of Families of the Forcibly Disappeared” and “reaching out with international organizations to spread false rumors about the enforced disappearance in Egypt”.
  • Noteworthy, the case includes also the lawyer “Ibrahim Metwally”, who was arrested from Cairo International Airport while he was going to attend the meeting of the UN working group about the enforced and involuntary disappearances.  Metwally was about to fly to Geneva so that he could attend the 113 session o f the working group on the enforced disappearance in the UN, in his capacity as a coordinator of the association that he along with others established 3 years ago, but he was arrested at the airport and forcibly disappeared until he appeared before the State Security Prosecution as a defendant. The prosecution renewed his detention for 15 days.  
  • On Tuesday, September 26,  Khaled Ali, human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate, lodged an appeal against the 3 months in prison and EGP 1000 bail judgment that Dokki Misdemeanor Court pronounced against him. The first hearing would be held on 8 November 2017 to render the appeal.
  • Dokki Misdemeanor Court, in its 25 September hearing, sentenced the human rights lawyer “Khaled Ali” to 3 months in prison and bail of EGP 1000 over charges of “public indecency” in front of the State Council following the ruling of annulling the maritime boundary deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on 16 January  2017; and this is over a case fabricated by Hesba lawyers.

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

 

To view previous democratic path reports:

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

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

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

 

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