Democratic Path in Egypt during June 2014

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative

Democratic Path in Egypt during June 2014

Pre-Introduction

June 2014This is the third report that ANHRI releases. The report monitors the democratic path in Egypt during June 2014, in the framework of “Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative.

Introduction:

The installation of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was on June 8, following the presidential elections that had been held at the end of May. The elections then became controversial due to the turnout rates and the extension of voting for a third day, which seen, by many people, to have influence on the credibility of the entire electoral process.

Following the installation, the security campaign against human rights groups in Egypt escalated. The campaign started by the confiscation of Wasla newspaper, which ANHRI releases, as well as the siege of a human rights conference that was to show solidarity with activist “Alaa Abdel Fattah”. Also, the appeal trial of human rights activist “Maheinour El-Massry”, against a harsh verdict was returned in May, persisted; while two human rights activists were arrested and prosecuted. They are Sana’a Saif and Yara Salam. Additionally, a harsh default judgment of 15 years in prison and a fine against activist “Alaa Abdel Fattah”  was issued over protesting charges.

In June, the Protest Law, which is strongly rejected by a wide sector of Egyptian society and several political powers, wasn’t able to refrain the activists from organizing their first protest against the new president, after his installation.

The month of June also witnessed the perpetuation of authorities’ failure to keep their promises of restoring stability to the Egyptian street. On top of that, Ministry of Interior’s non-fulfillment to confront the acts of violence and terrorism continued, as it is engaged in the political security besides  the prosecution of political opponents at the expense of the social security.

It also witnessed the continuation of the politically motivated trials, which we monitor in the following lines.

First, Protest Activities:

In June and immediately after the presidential elections, the protest activities and conferences by the different Egyptian oppositional powers and societal powers as well continued. The total number of the protest activities reached 103. The security forces attacked 27 activities, while the 76 ones hadn’t faced any attacks. The biggest share of the protest activities went to Muslim Brotherhood and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), 51 protests. In the meantime, the revolutionary an civil powers organized 20 different protest activities during June, while the students set 14 ones. As well, the month of June witnessed 18 protests, sit-ins, labor and social strikes.

 The following table illustrates in numbers the protest activities and their organizers:

Labor & Social Protests

Students’ Protests

Civil & Revolutionary Powers

MB & NASL

Total of Protest Activities

18

14

20

51

103

The following chart illustrates the division of the protest activities in percentages according to their organizers:

1

The security attacks on protest activities in June are illustrated in the following chart:

 2

 

Civil & Revolutionary Powers:

In June, the civil powers organized 20 protest activities, most of them were in Cairo. The activities varied between demonstrations, human chains and solidarity conferences, with the objective of refusing the Protest Law, and in support of those who are imprisoned by it. On the other hand, they were set in objection of the sexual harassment cases in the Egyptian street. Two protest events had been attacked by the security forces.

The first activity was a solidarity conference that was organized, on Thursday June 12, by a number of human rights organizations to show support to activist “Alaa Abdel Fattah” along with the detainees of the so-called “Shura Council” protest, after a default judgment of 15 years in prison was issued. Many civil powers and revolutionary youth participated in the conference, in the meantime, the police were assisted by a number of thugs, who besieged the protest march that was set after the conference and attacked the participants. The police in cooperation with the thugs arrested some activists.

The second activity that was attacked by security forces was organized on June 21 by a number of human rights activists together with civil and revolutionary powers, Road of the Revolution Front topped them. The security services attack the march after it staged from the front of Al-Ahram underground station in Heliopolis. The march, which was moving towards El-Itahadia Palace, called for eradicating the Protest Law and releasing those who are detained by it. The security forces, however, arrested 24 activists and brought them to trials over an accusation of breaching the Protest Law, among them are two human rights activists, Sana’a Saif and Yara Salam.

The civil and revolutionary powers’ activities with the security attacks are illustrated in the table below:

50A

Events Attacked by Police

Events Subjected not to Attacks

Total of Civil & Revolutionary Events

2

18

20

Protest Activities of MB & NASL:

Throughout June, the “Lawyers for Democracy” Network monitored 51 different protests organized by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) and Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, Giza, Qalubiaya, Beni Suef, Alexandria, Helwan and Upper Egypt. These activities varied between human chains, parties to honor the prisoners’ families and protests. The different activities were set in objection to what they call “military coup” as well as electing Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as a president. Also, they were to refuse the judgments and security attacks on the NASL’s members, and the presidential elections as well. And they were getting ready, as reported, for the uprising of the 3rd of July 2014. Egyptian security services, however, attacked 20 protest marches.

The following table illustrates, in numbers, MB and NASL’s activities along with the security attacks on them:

Events Attacked by Police

Events Subjected not to Attacks

Total Activities of MB & NASL

20

31

51

Universities’ Students:

The students of Al-Azhr, Cairo, Ain Shams, Alexandria and Al-Fayoum Universities, in June, organized 14 different activities, most of them were protest marches; calling for the eradication of Protest Law, the release of their detained colleagues, and the objection to the security assaults on the universities’ students as well as the presidential elections. Three activities were attacked by the security bodies, two of them were in Al-Azhr University, while the third one was in Cairo University.

The table below illustrates in numbers the students’ activities the attacks on them:

Protests Attacked by Police

Protests Subjected not to Security Attacks

Total of Students’ Protests

3

11

14

Labor Protests & Strikes:

18 labor and social protest activities were set during June by journalists of ElBadil newspaper, the master campaign, Bachelor of Law from open universities campaign, public transport workers, employees at the collecting department in the water utility, teachers, workers at Behera Company in Alexandria, employees at Ministry of Agriculture in Sherbeen in Al-Dakhalia governorate, some drivers of the vehicles of transferring the chilled food, workers of steel, workers of the cooperation services in Ministry of Education, observers of secondary school exams, West Delta Bus Company and the sugar factory in Etssa city at Al-Fayoum governorate. These protests were at the purpose of calling for improving the working and social circumstances.

The most salient sit-in was organized by the residents of Osman Buildings in 6 October city for interrupting the water for long periods, the security bodies dispersed the sit-in by force. 

 

The following table illustrates in number the labor and social protests activities and the attacks on them:

Protests Attacked by Police

Protests Subjected not to Attacks

Total of Labor & Social Protests

2

16

18

Second, Trials:

Lawyers for Democracy Network monitored and participated in 61 trials during June, including 37 ones had been adjourned, while 24 ones received verdicts.

The table below illustrates in numbers the circulating trials and the verdicts returned in June:

Trials Received Verdicts

Adjourned Trials

Total of Trials

24

37

61

The following chart illustrates in percentages the circulating trials and verdicts in June:

 3

1- Circulating Trials

The total number of circulating trials reached 37. The leaders and members of Muslim Brotherhood Group and NASL appeared before the court in 21 trials, while seven trials were for Mubarak’s regime. Also, the civil and revolutionary powers appeared before the court in seven trials, meanwhile; there was a trial for one media outlet and another trial for contempt of religions charges.

The following table illustrates in number the circulating trials pursuant to the power appears before the court:

50A

Trials of Civil Powers & Revolutionary Youth  

Trials of Media Outlets & Journalists

Contempt of Religions Trials

Trials of Mubarak’s Regime

Trials of MB & NASL

Total of Trials

7

1

1

7

21

37

The following chart illustrates in percentages the circulating trials pursuant to the political powers appear before the court: 

4

Trials of MB & NASL:

Egyptian judiciary throughout June considered 21 trials for members and leaders of Muslim Brotherhood over accusations varied between incitement to violence, joining a restricted group, terrorism, spying and protesting.

The most salient trial and known in media as “collaborating with Hamas, in which ousted president Mohamed Morsi is accused, was considered in June and adjourned to July 9 hearing. Another salient trial, in which Mohamed Badei- MB Guidance- along with 190 MB leaders and members are accused, was the case of “raiding Al-Arab Prison in Port Said” and it was deferred to July 8 hearing. The court also adjourned the cases of “Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in”- in which Badei, some of MB leaders and journalists with media professionals are accused- and the “Guidance Bureau”- in which Khariat Al-Shater together with 15 others are accused of incitement to violence and killing the protesters in June 30- to July 15 hearing. As well, the case of “El-Itihadia Incidents”- in which Morsi with some of MB leaders are charged with killing the protesters outside El-Itihadia Palace- deferred to July 15 session. The consideration of the  case, in which Mohamed Al-Beltagy, Safwat Hegazy and two doctors of Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in hospital are accused of torturing a police officer, was suspended till examining the recusal submitted by the accused.

Trials of Mubarak’s Regime:

In June, Egyptian judiciary considered seven trial of Mubarak’s figures. The “Trial of the Century”, as it is known in media, in which Mubarak, his sons- Alaa and Gamal- fugitive businessman Hussein Salem, Habib Al-Adly and 6 of his aides are accused of killing the protesters during the revolution of January 25, was adjourned to July 6 session. Another case of businessman “Ahmed Ezz”, in which he is charged with profiteering qnd seizing the public money, was adjourned to October 2014. The last case concerns Alaa and Gamal, in which they are accused of seizing the public money and harming the Egyptian economy, was deferred to September 18 session.

Trials of Civil Powers & Revolutionary Youth:

The judiciary considered, in June, seven trials of civil powers and the youth of revolution. The most salient case and known in media as “Kesm Al-Raml Incidents” in Alexandria, in which activist Maheinour El-Massry along with 10 others are accused of protesting and attacking the security forces, was adjourned to July 21 hearing for consideration.

Also, the appeal filed by human rights activist “Maheinour El-Massry” against the judgment of two years in prison and a fine of EGP 50.000 over breaching the Protest Law charges against the backdrop of participating in a march to show support to Khaled Saeed, was set for adjudication on July 20 hearing.

Another trial for activist Sana’a Saif and other 23 defendants over protesting without license, after organizing a protest outside El-Itihadia Palace to call for the eradication of Protest Law, was deferred to September 13 hearing for consideration. 

Trials of Media Outlets:

During June, a trial against a media outlet was considered. Cairo Appellant Court for Urgent Matters, in its hearing held on June 7, deferred the consideration of the appeal for the court’s lack of jurisdiction, which it was to consider the lawsuit of regarding the Qatar-based channel of “Al-Jazeera Mubasher Egypt” as terrorist one, to July 5 hearing for adjudication.

2- Judicial Verdicts:

Lawyers for Democracy Network, in June 2014, monitored 24 verdicts concerning the different public affairs, including 8 judgments on cases of Muslim Brotherhood, and 10 judgments on cases of civil and revolutionary powers. Other two judgments were on cases of Mubarak’s regime, while one judgment on case of the post-June 30 regime, a judgment for contempt of religion cases and two others against journalists and media professionals.

They varied between 18 verdicts of conviction and 6 acquittals.

The following table illustrates the verdicts of convictions according to the powers received them:

Total of

Verdicts

Post-June 30 Regime

Contempt of Religion

Against Journalists &Media Professionals

Against Mubarak’s Regime

Civil & Revolutionary Powers

MB & NASL

18

6

1

2

1

6

8

 The following chart illustrates in percentages the verdicts:

5

Trials of MB & NASL:

 The verdicts against Muslim Brotherhood Group reached 8 and varied between 5 judgments of imprisonment, while the rest ones were executions.

On June 7, Criminal Court of the Supreme State Security Court referred 10 defendants in absentia to the Mufti in order to consult him over their execution sentences. In the meantime, the court set the trial of Mohamed Badei and 37 others for adjudication on July 5 hearing over the same case.

Al-Menya Criminal Court, on Saturday June 21, returned its verdict over the case No. 300/2014 (Al-Adwa Criminals) to execute Mohamed Badei- MB Guidance- along with 182 members of MB and NSAL. It also carried 4 defendants life sentences and acquitted 496 people over the case known as “Al-Adwa police station riots incidents”. The court’s same circuit ordered the execution of 1211 supporters of Morsi in the cities of Al-Adwa and Matai over two cases in March and April 2014.

On its hearing held on June 19, Giza Criminal Court referred the case of Mohamed Badei- MB Guidance- and Mohamed Al-Beltagy, Bassem Auda and other 11 defendants to the Mufti to consult him over their execution sentences. It set August 3 hearing for adjudication.

The table below illustrated in numbers the detailed verdicts against MB & NASL:

Executions

Jail Sentences

Acquittals

Total of  Verdicts against MB & NASL

3

5

53C/td>

0

8

 

The following chart illustrates in percentages the verdicts against MB & NASL:

6

Trials of Mubarak’s Regime: 

Egyptian Courts issued two judgments over Mubarak’s regime cases. The first one was issued by the Economic Appellant Misdemeanors Court, which turned down the appeal filed by “Ahmed Ezz”-  Secretary of the National Democratic Party- and “Alaa Abu Al-Khir”- MD at Ezz Steel Company. The court also upheld the verdict of first degree to fine them EGP 100 millions.

The second verdict was returned by Giza Criminal Court that acquitted Mubarak’s Minister of Interior, Habib Al-Adly, of the two charges of profiteering and money laundry.

The following table illustrates in number the details of verdicts against Mubarak’s regime:

 

Jail Sentences

 Fines

Acquittals 

Total of Verdicts against Mubarak’s Regime

0

1

1

2

The Following chart illustrates in percentages the verdicts against Mubarak’s regime: 

7

Trials of Civil Powers & Revolutionary Youth:

10 verdicts had been returned against the civil and revolutionary powers, including 4 acquittals, 4 verdicts of imprisonment, one suspended sentence and a fine.

One of the salient verdicts is that one issued by Cairo Criminal Court against prominent activist “Alaa Abdel Fattah” and other 24 people in absentia. They were sentenced to 15 years and fined EGP 100.000 along with imposing surveillance for 5 years after they finish their prison term. They were sentenced over charges of breaching the Protest Law on the case known in media as “Shura Council Incidents”.

The following table illustrates in numbers the verdicts against the civil and revolutionary powers:

Fines

Suspended Jail Sentences

Jail Verdicts

Acquittals

Total of Verdicts  against Civil and Revolutionary powers

1

1

4

4

10

 

The following chart illustrates in percentages the verdicts against civil & revolutionary powers:

 8

Post-June 30 Regime’s Trials:

In June, a judgment was issued on a case in which an official belongs to the June 30 regime. Al-Khanqa Appellant Misdemeanors Court, during its hearing held on June 6, accepted the appeal filed by Head of Heliopolis police station and other three officers, who are accused of killing 37 prisoners, over the case known in media as “Abu Zaabal deportation car”. The formally accepted the appeal and substantively overturned the verdict of first degree, which convicts the accused. It returned a new verdict of clearing them and referring their case to the Public Prosecution to detect who opened the tear gases on the prisoners.

Contempt of Religions Cases:

Throughout June, a verdict of conviction over contempt of religions cases was returned. Armant Misdemeanors Court, in southwestern of Luxor governorate, during the hearing held on June 25, ordered to jail a Christian young man, who is accused of contempt of Islam, for 6 years and fined him EGP 6000.

Trials of Journalists & Media Professionals:

Two judgments against journalists and media professionals were issued during June. The first verdict was returned by Giza Criminal Court over the case No. 1145/2014 and known in media as “Marriott Cell”. The court acquitted Anas Al-Beltagy, Ahmed Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Azim, and issued 10 years rigorous imprisonment for 11 defendants in absentia. Other 6 defendants were sentenced to 7 years in pretense, including Peter Greste- Al-Jazeera English reporter- and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy. In the meantime, it sentenced Baher Mohamed- reporter for Al-Jazeera- to 10 years in rigorous prison.

The second verdict was issued by Al-Manya Misdemeanors Court to jail Beshoy Armia- reporter for the US channel of “Al-Tareq” (The Road), for 5 years and fined him EGP 500 over charges of stirring up sedition, against the backdrop of shooting reportage, in December 2013,  about the persecution of Copts in Egypt.

3- The Use of Preventive Detention as a Punishment:

Judicial bodies continue to use preventive detention as a punishment through renewing the remand of defendants for extended periods without being referred to trial or being convicted. Therefore, observers describe preventive detention as the “Masked Detention” that compensates the Egyptian state for the absence of the Emergency Law. Since June 30, thousands of Egyptians are held on remand in prison pending cases that had not been referred to the judiciary or received conviction rulings. Lawyers for Democracy team monitored in June 2014 the public prosecution’s issuing of remand renewal for citizens imprisoned since more than three months over 28 different cases.

4- Military Trials of Civilians:

The military trials of civilians persist in June. Lawyers for Democracy team monitored two trials during June; the first is the case No. 43 of 2014 (Military Criminals) in which 9 defendants are charged with belonging to Anṣār Bayt al-Maqdis “Supporters of the Holy House”, and attacking an ambush at Mostord bridge. The second trial is the case No. 43 of 2014 that is known in media as “Arab Sharkas Case”.

Third: Attack on Civil Society Organizations and Human Rights Activists:

The month of June has witnessed state’s escalation in attacking the Egyptian human rights organizations. Besides the systematic incitement and defamation campaigns launched by pro-Egyptian authority media and some state media outlets, security apparatus detained, during June, the two human rights defenders “Sanaa’ Seif” and “Yara Sallam”. They were brought to trial on charges of breaching the Protest Law. Moreover, Ministry of Social Solidarity announced its endeavor to issue a new law for NGOs, which would involve restrictions more than those in Law 84 of 2002 issued by Mubarak regime that is still put in action till nowadays.

One of the most prominent security attacks on human rights organizations in June is the thugs’ –backed by security forces- siege of a solidarity conference organized by human rights institutions on June 12 at the Journalists’ Syndicate to show solidarity with activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Shura Council demonstrators, and attacking its participants.

On June 14, security bodies raided the print house’s headquarters of “Wasla” newspaper released by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). They confiscated the newspaper’s 72th issue, arrested the worker in charge of printing it, and accused him of printing a publication that incites to overthrow the regime. Accordingly, the prosecution decided to imprison him for four days pending probe. Thereafter, the worker was released, whereas, the newspaper’s confiscated copies have not been regained.

Fourth: Prisons’ Conditions:

The prisoners’ suffering had not been discontinued in June. Testimonies and complaints filed to the Attorney General and lawyers persist in different Egypt’s provinces; demanding better prison conditions and halting torture the prisoners endure. Many National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL)’s members alleged that there are some girls, who were raped and sexually assaulted by security men in the detention places.

On June 5, “Gamal Mostafa”, who was imprisoned since 14 August 2013 following the dispersal of Raba’a Al-Adawia sit-in, died at Tora prison hospital due to his deteriorating health condition in prison, medical negligence, and the slackness in transferring him to the hospital.

On June 17, some detainees filed a complaint (No. 2008 of 2014) to the attorney general for Alexandria Prosecution of appeal, demanding to investigate into the incident of being subjected to harassment by the driver of the deportation car that was carrying them from the court to Al Gharbanyat prison at Borg Al-Arab.

On June 16, four citizens were killed at Al-Matryia, Imbaba, Al-Basateen, and Ain Shams police stations. It is reported that they were allegedly subjected to torture, and that they were held at inhuman places of detention inside the police stations.

On June 10, Nayra Al-Sayed, Lawyers for Democracy initiative’s attorney, filed a communiqué to the public prosecutor asking him to open an investigation into the incident of the verbal attack she experienced by a police officer at Police Academy (gate No. 8) after the end of “Abu Zaabal Vehicle” case’s adjudication hearing.

Fifth: Attack on Media Freedoms:

Security attacks on media freedoms were not halted in June 2014. In addition to the harsh verdicts issued against journalists and media professionals, June has witnessed the return of the surge of physical attacks on journalists. Lawyers for Democracy team monitored 4 assaults on media professionals during May. They are as follows:

1- On June 2, Satirist media professional “Bassem Yousef”, presenter of “Al-Bernameg” show, held a press conference at Radio Masr Theater, downtown. Yousef clarified the reasons behind the suspension of his show at “MBC Misr” channel. He emphasized that the suspension decision was handed down by the channel without watching the episode that was recently recorded qnd banned from being aired.

2- On June 3, Cairo Criminal Court-convened at Police Trustees Institute- banned journalists and media professionals from entering the court to attend the trial of 73 defendants over the violence incidents took place in front of the Memorial Platform in Nasr City district on last July 27. No grounds were reported, however, behind their ban. `

3- On June 12, in Alexandria, security forces abducted Abdel Rahman Abdel Salam- journalist working at Karmooz electronic newspaper- while he was doing a field report about Hanovil market. The journalist was sent to “Al-Kahraba” Detectives at Salahuddin St, Al-Attaryeen. He was interrogated by the Egyptian National Security Investigations, and was released on the same day without being referred to the prosecution.

4- On June 25, a police sergeant beat Al-Watan newspaper journalist resulted in a serious injury to his head, following a verbal altercation between the sergeant and a female journalist, who parked her car in front of the newspaper’s headquarters. The police man verbally assaulted the female journalist by abusive words and obscene language. Consequently, Al-Watan newspaper journalist intervened to defend her colleague, and as a result, the journalist was beaten by the police sergeant.

5- On Friday June 27, during the General Assembly held at the Lawyers’ Syndicate to withdraw confidence from the syndicate head Sameh Ashour, which resulted in the renewal of it, a number of lawyers who are supporting Ashour beat some journalists. They are Noha Abdallah- journalist at Veto newspaper- Metaeb- journalist at Al-Tahrir- Ahmed Ali, Ali Fahim- Al-Fajr newspaper cameraman- Mohamed Salim- photographer at Al-Fajr newspaper- and Ahmed Hendawy. They also seized their equipment; against the backdrop of trying to shoot the verbal altercations and scuffles took place between the supporters and opponents of Sameh Ashour.

Sixth: Presidential Elections:

On June 3, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) announced the presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s winning of the presidential elections taking the helm of the Arab Republic of Egypt; after he garnered 23,780,104 valid votes, whereas rival candidate Hamdeen Sabahi secured 757 512 votes. SPEC also announced that the invalid ballots are 1,040,608 out of 25,578,223 voters of those who participated in the election, and that the valid votes are 27537615.

These results were announced by SPEC after it rejected all appeals filed by presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

On Sunday June 8, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was sworn in as president, and was officially installed to take the reins of power.

Seventh: Violence and Terrorism Incidents

The repeated promises by the Egyptian state to restore stability to the Egyptian street are still merely resonant phrases, which end in no result in light of the security bodies’ failure to face the terrorist acts. In other words, Interior Minister “Mohamed Ibrahim” failed to provide social security for citizens or even for the police men; under his preoccupation of the political security at the expense of the community security. The month of June has witnessed a continuation of terrorist operations. The most salient incident is that occurred on June 25, when unknown assailants planted homemade bombs in metro stations (Shubra-Ghamra-Kobri Al-Kobba), which resulted in the injury of two people while no deaths were reported. On the same day, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near Masr Al-Gedida Court square, leaving a lawyer wounded.

On Monday June 30, three terrorist bombings took place nearby Ittihadiya Presidential Palace, killing two police officers and injuring 10 others.

Note: This report is based on the cases monitored by ANHRI, and does not necessarily contain all the incidents took place in the month.

 

To read the full report of April: http://www.anhri.net/en/?p=16313

To read the full report of May: http://www.anhri.net/en/?p=16666