The Democratic Path in Egypt during August 2015

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

“Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative

The Democratic Path in Egypt during August 2015

Before we begin:

August 2015The Democratic Path is a monthly report out by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) through the Lawyers for Democracy Initiative that monitors the democratic path in Egypt. This report tackles the situation of democratic path during August 2015. ANHRI has issued 8 monthly reports during 2014 and one annual report monitoring the democratic path in Egypt in the course of 2014. And, this is the sixth monthly report that ANHRI issues in 2015.

 Introduction

Egypt’s prisons and places of detention have witnessed no less than 30 deaths among prisoners as a ramification of mistreatment, medical negligence or torture during August. This number indicates what the Egyptian places of detention are witnessing in regard of deteriorating conditions, and disregard for Egyptian laws, Constitution and legislation; under the absence of accountability. Supposedly, the state should have taken an action, but the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has paid a visit to Aqrab prison and presented a report that was seen by observers as a farce aiming at improve the regime’s image. Hence, that report confirms the absence of political will to improve the conditions.

On the other hand, 62 protest events by different political powers were set in August, as Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Group and National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy (NASL) topped them. Also, the target of human rights defenders, civil associations, trials and military tribunals for civilians were not suspended during the last month.

In continuation of the mass death sentences in Egypt recently, the month of August have witnessed the referral of 32 citizens’ papers to the Grand Mufti for consultation over their execution.

All about the democratic path in Egypt during August are monitored and documented in the following lines:

First: Protest Events

The different political powers set 62 protest events throughout August, the details as following:

MB and NASL set 43 events.

  • 5 events were set by civil and democratic powers.
  • 11 events for social and labor movements.
  • Two events set by students.
  • One pro-regime event.

Following chart shows percentage of protest events according to the organizing powers

1

 Civil and Democratic Powers:

The civil and democratic powers in August organized five protest events; one of them was attacked by security forces. The details are the following:

A protest event was organized by a set of inhabitants and activists to object to the demolition of their homes in Sudan Street. The security forces, however, dispersed them by using tear gas and cartridges.

Following are most significant reasons and demands of civil powers’ events:

  • Protesting against burning a Palestinian toddler by an Israeli settler.
  • Protesting against the detention of a lawyer during a court hearing.
  • Protesting against the imprisonment of journalists, including Ahmed Ramadan & Shawkan, and demanding their release.
  • Protesting against the closure of Tahrir Newspaper.

 Attacks on civil powers’ events are illustrated in percentages in the following chart:

 2

MB & NASL Protest Events:

During August, both of Muslim Brotherhood Group (MB) and National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy (NASL) organized 43 protest events, 16 of them were attacked by the security forces, while the 27 were not assaulted.

The most highlighted reasons and demands of MB & NASL’s protest events were:

  • Protesting against practices of the police and army, and the so-called “military coup”, and organizing events under the title “Egypt Revolts”.
  • Marking the remembrance of Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in’s dispersal under the slogan “Land of Rabaa does not drink blood”.
  • Calling for retribution against killers of NASL’s members, who had been killed during protests as well as the dispersal of Raba’a Al-Adawiya and Nahdet Misr’ s sit-ins.
  • Calling for the release of detainees.

 

Following chart shows the percentage of attacks on MB & NASL’s protest events

 3

Labor and Social Strikes & Protests

There were 11 labor and social protest events in August. One of those events has faced attacks by the security bodies. It is the following:

–      A protest that was organized by lower-ranking policemen inside Sharqiya Security Directorate calling for social and financial benefits. Their protest was faced by tear gas. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Interior has halted that; announcing that the Protest Law is not applicable to the lower-ranking policemen’s protest!

Below are demands and reasons of social and labor protest events:

  • Protesting against the late payment of salaries owed to doctors and workers in Al-Mabara Hospital, affiliated to the medical centers in Alexandria.
  • Rejecting the new civil service law.
  • Demanding appointment and salaries’ increase.
  • Improving the work terms, and increasing allowances and bonuses for lower-ranking policemen.
  • Demanding the dismissal of the Chairman of IDA, Industrial Development Authority, by the worker there.
  • Demanding the removal of waste piles in Hajar Al Tuwanah area.
  • PhD and Master Campaign’s demands of appointment and being equal to their collogues of previous years.

 

Following chart shows in percentages the attacks on social events

 5

Students Protest Events:

In August, there were only two protest events for students. They were organized by general high school students in front of the headquarters of Ministry of Education. The first event was for protesting against the minister of education’s decision of allocating 10 marks for the leave and absence, but it faced no security attacks. While the second was to make objection to allocating 10 marks for absence and attendance, as well as the minister’s decision of depending on 30%  of the exam to test the student’s potentials. The security forces cordoned off this event and dispersed them by tear gas.

Pro-regime Events:

During August, there was only one protest event organized by supporters of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in Alexandria at Al-Kaed Ibrahim Square; responding to the demonstrations of Muslim Brotherhood. The participants in that event were holding placards with phrases supporting President Al-Sisi. It has not been attacked by security forces, or even the Protest Law was not applicable to it.

Second: Trials:

In August, there were 17 ongoing trials before the civil and military judiciary for different political powers. There were 12 rulings of conviction, while there were 3 acquittals. On the other hand, death sentences were issued against 32 citizens. The details are as the following:

1 –1 Ongoing Trials:

The month of August witnessed the circulation of 17 trials against different political powers. They are divided as following:

  • 8 trials for MB and NASL;
  • 3  military trials for civilians;
  • 3 trials for Mubarak-era figures;
  • 2 trials for democratic and civil powers;
  • One trial for post-June 30 regime;

 

Following chart shows the percentage of ongoing trials:

6

 Most Highlighted MB & NASL’s Trials:

The cases that are known in media as (Storming Helwan Police Station, Collaborating with Qatar, Kataeb Helwa, Ansar al-Sharia, Maspero Incidents, & Qualitative Committees Cell).

  • Also, North Cairo Criminal Court considered the trial of 5 defendants who are accused of setting fire to the control room of Al-Azhar University’s Faculty of Engineering, joining a terrorist group and protesting. However, the case was adjourned to October 18 hearing to discuss the prosecution witnesses.

 

Most Salient Civil & Democratic Powers’ Trials:

  • The lawsuits that are publicly known as (Air Defense Incidents, & 4th Anniversary of Revolution Incidents in Maadi).

Most Highlighted Mubarak-era Figures Trials:

  • The case of  Stock Market Manipulation, in which Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, the trial of Mohamed Ibrahim Seliman- Mubarak-era Minister of Housing, over squandering public fund, and the trial of Zakaria Azmi, Chief of Staff, over illicit gains charges.

 Most Highlighted Post-June 30 Regime Trials:

  • The trial of State Security officers over the torture of lawyer Kareem Hamdy until death. It was deferred to September 12 hearing.

 Military Tribunals for Civilians:

  • The military tribunals for civilians continued in August, whereas the judiciary considered three ongoing military trials, on which 70 citizens are accused. During the month, the military judiciary issued 5 different rulings of conviction against 1143 defendants.

1- 2     Judicial Rulings:

Throughout August, the Egyptian judiciary issued 12 rulings of conviction and 3 acquittals of different political powers. In addition, it sentenced 32 citizens to death. Following are the details:

Rulings of Conviction:

During August, Egyptian judiciary issued 12 rulings of conviction against different political powers, including 6 members of MB and NASL, one against Mubarak’s regime, which was the criminal court’s decision of seizing Ahmed Ezz’s funds, 4 military rulings against civilians, and one ruling of conviction against post- June 30 regime. That last was the decision made by Khanqa Appellant Misdemeanor Court to reduce the penalty of Heliopolis police station commissioner to 5 years, instead of 10 years. As such, it upheld the decision of carrying 3 officers a one-year suspended sentence over the wrongful murder of 37 and the injury of 8 persons in the vehicle deporting prisoners.

 

Following chart illustrates in percentages the ruling of convictions and their distribution:

 

 7


  • Acquittals

In August, the court issued three acquittals over different trials. Two acquittals were for defendants that belong to MB and NASL, while the third was in a military trial for civilians.

 

  • Death Sentences:

32 citizens were sentenced to death during August, details are as following:

  • Al-Meniya Criminal Court has ordered, during a trial of 119 supporters of MB over Samalout Police Station’s violent and riot incidents following the dispersal of Raba’a and Nahdet Misr sit-ins, the referral of papers of 8 defendants to the grand Mufti for consultation over their execution. The court, also, decided to defer the trial of other defendants over the 111 defendants’ case to September 4 along with their ongoing detention.
  • Cairo Criminal Court, which is convened at the Police Trustees Institute, ordered the referral of papers of 10 defendants over the case publically known as “Al-Zawahiri Cell” to the Grand Mufti, and deferred its adjudication to September 27.
  • Giza Criminal Court, which is convened at the Police Academy and presided over by Judge Mohamed Nagy shehata, referred the papers of two defendants belomg to MB to the Grand Mufti to consult him over their death penalty. It has set October 3 for adjudication.
  • Zagazig Criminal Court, which is convened at Belbeis Court and presided over by Judge Salah Heriz, referred the papers of 12 defendants belong to “Daesh” terrorist group in Sharqiya Goveronate to the Grand Mufti to consult his opinion over their execution.

 

  • Imprisoning Lawyers on Insulting the Judiciary Charges”

On August 9, Meniya Criminal Court carried 8 lawyers life sentences, one lawyer a 3-year in prison sentence, while acquitted 13 lawyers in absentia over the case of attacking Judge Ahmed Fathy, head of criminal court in Matay. This case is publically known as “insulting the judiciary”, in 2013.

Third: Violent and Terrorist Incidents:

During August, there were 34 terrorist operations in different governorates led to the death of 14 and the injury of 87. Moreover, there were 14 security operations to attack terrorist spots, which described as terrorist, causing the death of 73 persons and the arrest of 30. Below are the details:

 

1-   Terrorist Operations:

Throughout August, 34 terrorist operations in different governorates were took place, 23 of them were carried out through explosives that had been planted in different places, while 11 bombs had not went off by the help of authorities.

 

Following chart illustrates in percentages the terrorist operations:

 10

 

 These operations led to the death of 271 and the injury of 85 persons of different parties as shown in following table:

 

Total

Terrorist acts’ perpetrators

Security forces

Civilians

 

14

1

11

2

Number of the dead

87

0

60

27

Number of the injured

101

1

71

29

Total

2-   Anti-terrorist operations:

The Egyptian authorities carried out 14 operations targeting terrorist spots-as described by the security bodies; leading to the death of 73 of the targeted. Meanwhile, 30 persons had been arrested.

Fourth: Attacks on Freedom of Expression and Media Freedoms:

The month of June has witnessed ongoing attacks on media freedoms, whereas Lawyers for Democracy team monitored 11 various violations during the month. The following table shows the number of attacks:

3

Investigations & ongoing trials

3

Detention & Arrest

2

Judicial Rulings

3

Censorship, ban & confiscation

11

Total

Following chart illustrates in percentages the Attacks on Press and Media Freedoms

 11

Fifth: Targeting Human Rights Defenders & NGOs:

  • On August 13, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Walli issued a decision to dissolve 10 NGOs, affiliated to Muslim Brotherhood; 9 of them in Dakahliya Governorate, and one in Behaira. Allegedly, the decision was an implementation of the court of urgent matters’ ruling.
  • The security forces, on August 18, stormed the house of human rights lawyer Abdel Aziz Youssef in Sharqiya Governorate, arrested him and held him in an unknown location. Then, a communiqué no. 9033 of 2015 (Beilbeis, administrative) was filed against him, accusing him of protesting, blocking the road and joining a restricted group. The public prosecution has ordered his imprisonment for 15 days pending probe.

Sixth: Conditions of Prisons:

During August, the deteriorating conditions in prisons and places of detention were still persisted; in addition to that the prisoners were sustaining torture and medical negligence; leading to the death of no less than 30 persons during the month, monitored by Lawyers for Democracy Initiative’s team. Into the bargain, the prisoners and detainees’ complaints have been ongoing; thus, the “state” National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) paid a visit to Aqrab prison, which was prepared in advance as it is not allowed for NCHR to pay unannounced visits. This visit has led to dramatic reactions among activists, as it was described as a farce due to overly attempting to improve the image the places of detention, and it excluded a number of the council members. As a result, some of them announced withdrawal from the post-visit meeting, objecting to what they have witnessed. They are: Ragie Omran, Kamal Abbas and Goerge Ishak. One of the council’s delegation member, Mohamed Abdel Qudous, wrote a message rejecting the council’s report, and denied attendance to the press conference in which the report was out; making objection to its results.

Seventh: Attacks on Minorities

On August, October prosecution held on remand a pastor for 4 days pending probe after being accused of preaching, and distributing religious books in order to attract non-Christians to Christianity, in violation of the law. Following the four days, the pastor was released.

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

To read the previous reports on “The Democratic Path in Egypt”:

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

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

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