- March 23, 2008
Brussels’ Conference Criticizes Egypt’s Human Rights Violations, Calling to End Military Trials
The Belgian capital Brussels hosted on Thursday March 20, a conference about freedoms in Egypt. The conference “Freedoms and Human Rights in Egypt, where to?” was organized by the London based Justice International, the Paris based Arab Commission for Human Rights and the Coalition for Freedom and Dignity in Brussels, in addition to the “Release40”, the international campaign calling for releasing the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders referred for the military court.
The proceedings of the conference included a protest vigil outside the European Parliament by dozens of human rights activist from all over the world, and several guests including attorney Sobhi Saleh, member of the MB parliamentary bloc, Violette Daghere, chairperson of the Arab Commission for Human Rights, Dr. Abdul Raouf Wazzani, chairman of the Coalition for Freedom and Dignity, Ahmed Abdul Atty, human rights activist and one of those referred to the military court in Egypt, and Dr. Ibrahim Al Zayyat, German Islamic leader who is also referred to the military court. The one day conference attracted delegates from a number of NGOs and human rights agencies and European media .
The meeting- held after the vigil, focused on several issues, the most prominent of which are how to activate the role of civil society organizations in defending human rights issues and the human rights situation in Egypt under the international treaties and covenants in which Egypt is a signatory. The meeting also discussed the practices of the Egyptian regime that violates citizens’ basic human rights. The meeting also discussed the Egyptian government aggressions on other elements of the civil society including journalists, workers university studentsand professors.
The meeting covered also the crisis of constitutionalizing laws in a way that strengthen tyranny and violates dignity of the Egyptian citizens, taking an example of the last constitutional amendments. It also tackled the violations and arbitrary measures committed by referring 40 Muslim Brotherhood leaders to the military courts although they are civilians and using the emergency law to repress opposition for more than 27 years.
At the end of the meeting, a message of solidarity and appreciation was sent to all prisoners of conscience, dubbed by the conference as freemen behind bars, who face repression, persecution and unfair trials.
Those who participated in the meeting called on the Egyptian regime to stop the military court against Muslim Brotherhood leaders and immediately releasing them along with the former 2005 presidential candidate Ayman Nour and all those detained against the backdrop of the municipal elections scheduled to be held on April, 8th.
The conference also urged Egyptians all over the world to give a priority to human rights issues in Egypt and to oppose violations committed by the Egyptian regime and other authoritarian regimes, calling on international and Arab human rights organizations to exercise pressure on the Egyptian regime to improve the human rights situation in Egypt.
Several Egyptian figures could not attend the conference including Gamila Ismail, wife of detained Egyptian political opposition leader, Ayman Nour, Saad Al Katatni, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, and Dr. Amr Al Shobaki, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies