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European Parliament Criticizes Human Rights Situation in Egypt
European Parliament Criticizes Human Rights Situation in Egypt
The European Parliament (EP) last approved on Thursday Jan, 17th, 2008 in Strasbourg a resolution in which it lashes out at the Egyptian human rights record calling for immediately releasing Ayman Nour and stopping the so called exercises of torture committed by the Egyptian government.
Sunday, January 20,2008 13:09
by Duaa Abdul Raouf IkhwanWeb

The European Parliament (EP) last approved on Thursday Jan, 17th, 2008 in Strasbourg a resolution in which it lashes out at the Egyptian human rights record calling for immediately releasing  Ayman Nour and stopping the so called exercises of torture committed by the Egyptian government.

The resolution called also for the abolition of any possible referral of civilians to martial courts and amending the martial courts law to confine its judicial powers to include trying militaries accused of committing military crimes and crimes committed only inside military units.
 
The resolution was approved by 52 MEPs out of 59 MEPs who attended this session although the European Parliament includes more than 750 MEPs.
 
Egyptian official reactions exacerbated rejecting the European Parliament resolution as Egyptian Foreign Ministry summoned EU ambassadors to declare the Egyptian rejection to such a resolution.
Several MEPs representing major EU countries voiced their rejection to the Egyptian government"s rejection to an important EP resolution over human rights in Egypt.
The European Parliament demanded in its resolution Egyptian government to " end all forms of harassment, including judicial measures, the detention of media professionals and, more generally, human rights defenders and activists calling for reforms and to fully respect freedom of expression, in conformity with Article 19 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".
It also called on for " for the immediate release of Ayman Nour, in the light of the reports of his deteriorating state of health, and calls for an immediate welfare visit, including a visit by qualified medical personnel" and to " amend law No 25 of 1966 on martial courts, which is one of the major obstacles to the full enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, and to ensure that all measures and legislation adopted to combat terrorism are fully in accordance with international human rights law".
 
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the assembly Green leader, said "the European parliament is sovereign and decides what it wants to decide".
"If we have to criticise the rights situation in Egypt or Guantanamo or anywhere else, we"re going to do it. I couldn"t care less what they think in the Egyptian capital."
 
For her part, Helen Floater, the chief of the European Parliament"s subcommittee on the human rights, said that Cairo reaction isn"t "consistent" with the text that she sees as a part of pledges that Egypt has committed itself to in the human rights issue.
 
The executive committee of the European Union declared that it agrees with the European parliamentarians in their frustration over the human rights condition in Egypt .
 
Egyptian Foreign Ministry does not Accept Intervention
 
For his part, Safwat Al Sharif, Shura Council speaker, declared that as an agreement between both the People"s Assembly and Shura Council, that the Shura Council won"t participate in the meetings of the political and economic committees of the Euro-Mediterranean parliament scheduled to be held in Brussels next week to voice the council"s dissatisfaction over this resolution of the European Parliament over human rights situation in Egypt.
 
Hossam Zaki, spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, said the ministry "will not accept any attempt by any country to comment on the human rights situation in Egypt, as it will not allow itself to lecture other countries over their domestic affairs".
 
Human Rights an International Language
 
Hussein Ibrahim, the vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) parliamentary bloc said in statements to Ikhwanweb that he rejects the principle of severing relations with the European Parliament, pointing out that "The human rights issue has become an international language as every country has its own privacy.
 
"When the European parliament speaks about the presence of tortures in Egypt, it is true. When it speaks about referring civilians to the Military Court, it is a fact on the ground. This is what should be discussed in a transparent and objective manner", he added.
 
 Hussein added that:" The government"s ongoing behaviors in the human rights file in Egypt has yielded this", hinting that what the European Parliament resolution mentioned is not something new as previous reports of the National Council on Human Rights have spoken about the same disadvantages.
"As members of parliament, we have repeatedly called for reforming this file inside and outside the People"s Assembly and in seminars held by Human Rights Organizations over this topic, but in vain", he said.
 
He pointed out that the problem isn"t in what the European Parliament mentioned around the human rights file because it is normal under the European Egyptian partnership agreement that allows both parties to speak about the human rights. This was approved then by the government through its parliamentary majority.
He pointed out that the problem lies in the government insistence on not acknowledging that there is a human rights disaster in Egypt, a disaster that includes referring civilians to the military tribunal, systematic torture in police stations, random detentions which have been listed in annual reports of the National Council on Human Rights.
 
Hussein blamed Egyptian parliament and Egyptian government for the responsibility of this resolution issued by the European Parliament concerning human rights in Egypt.
 
MB Lawyers Reject EP Resolution
 
Lawyers affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) voiced their outright rejection to the European Parliament resolution condemning violations of human rights and military courts against civilians in Egypt. They expected that such a resolution may have been issued from Tel Aviv, not from Strasbourg, referring to the Israeli government that wants to cover its crimes and massacres in Gaza.
 
They also demanded the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to to be ashamed themselves because the criticisms that the resolution included over MB military trials and violations of human rights are only a political blackmail.
They also sounded a wakeup call to the MEPs wondering" Where have you been 25 years ago. Why has no resolution been issued around all violations in our Arab region", especially Palestine, describing the decision as "cross-eyed", as it sees a part to the interest of Israel and gives a blind eye to Israel"s massacres against civilians in Gaza Strip.
 
The lawyers saw this resolution as completely racist and that it adopts a double standard pol
"We feel an Israeli plot in the new resolution issued by the European Parliament", said Gamal Taguddin, the media spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood in the bar association, adding that this resolution criticizes the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, and gives a deaf ear to he flagrant human rights violations currently committed against civilians in occupied territories.
He pointed out that the European Parliament did not demand Israel to stop the machine of killing, destruction, torture, striking and random detentions, especially against members of the Islamic movement.
 
"We reject the tricks played by the members of the European Parliament against us", said Gamal Taguddin, wondering:" Where were they when voters were killed while they were casting their votes in elections. Where were they when elections were rigged, when innocent people were jailed, and when parties were frozen?" .
 
Most Egyptian human rights circles unanimously agreed that this resolution is an important factor to exercise pressure on Egyptian government to change its human rights policy while they criticized the resolution"s view over the issue of the tunnels linking Egypt with Gaza Strip as this resolution said nothing about the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip presaging a humanitarian disaster against Palestinians inside in the Strip.


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