- April 21, 2010
Finally the Truth about the Emergency State: Bullets for Demanders of Freedom
After three decades of continuous renewal of the emergency state as well as national and international advocacy by the Egyptian government for the necessity of maintaining the emergency state to combat terrorism and drug dealing, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) finally disclosed its real vision of what constitutes terrorism and how to combat it. Terrorism from the point of view of the ruling party is not limited to armed actions or even violent actions, but includes also peaceful demonstrations such as the 6th of April protest, where women and men were sexually harassed and brutally beaten and illegally held in central security camps etc. As for “dealing” with that form of “terrorism” according to the point of view of members of the majority party, this should not be restricted to detentions, torture and trials before exceptional courts but should also explicitly extend to shooting those protestors!!
Such were the statements made by three members of the NDP in parliament. They even demanded to question the minister of interior “if it was up to me I would question the minister of interior regarding his “tenderness” in dealing with those outlaws.. I tell the Minister of Interior ‘We are 80 million.. We can easily do without a corrupt, trespassing bunch who want to return the days of the uprising of the thieves*.. Shoot them and use bullets with the demonstrators who are breaking the law (El Shorouk, 18/4/2010). The aggression of the ruling party then extended to Egyptian human rights organizations, with special mention of the Arab Network for Human Rights Info, which is inline with information received by Egyptian NGOs regarding a new association law which will put all Egyptian civil society under the mercy of the NGO Federation, whose chair expressed his opinion that security interference in affairs of NGOs should continue; and that human rights organizations in particular constitute a threat to national security (El Shorouk, 10/9/2009) confirming that any administrative body will only be a front for the ministry of interior.
The call to shoot demanders of democracy was not limited to the three MPs who accused the demonstrators of being “a bunch of delinquents, mercenaries, foreign funded, drunkards and bango (hash) abusers” but was seconded by General Hamed Rashed, assistant to the minister of Interior for legal Affairs who said that the law permits the police and security to use violence and shoot bullets at demonstrators if they disrupt public security. He rejected accusations by the opposition of the ministry of interior of violating the constitution by using violence against demonstrators and said “the 6th April demonstrators are the ones who violated the constitution”.
The same threats were repeated yesterday on satellite channels which covered the event, where the “shoot them” MP confirmed his point of view, while Nabil Luqa Bebawi tried to dilute the effect of his colleagues statements said: that was only a “metaphorical expression, like what a father would say to frighten his son”!!!!
Since we do not consider ourselves children of the ruling party, nor are we children to be “frightened” and since the ruling party has not until this moment issued an apology nor a correction nor a denial of statements made by its members in parliament, we demand that the chair of people’s assembly lift the impunity enjoyed by the three MPs and question the assistant to the minister of interior who believes that the law grants him the right to shoot at demonstrators. Either those three MPs do actually represent the opinion of the party in which case the interrogation should not be limited to them alone but should also involve the leadership of the NDP for advocating the use of armed violence against unarmed citizens and for spreading fear and terror threatening the safety of citizens.. or the three members are not aware of the meaning of their statements in which case they are not fit to occupy a seat in an institution which is meant to legislate for this country.
We the undersigned organizations as we express our solidarity with the demands of the 6th of April movement and all other democracy movements; and as we express our commitment to the right of Egyptians to peaceful demonstration, freedom of expression and choice of the political system that rules them; we also express our solidarity with the Arab Network for Human Rights Information as well as all defenders of the rights of Egyptians, whether organizations, movements or individuals.
We also reiterate what we declared in previous statements that the wave of violence which began with random detentions of the Muslim Brotherhood and extended to involve students, bloggers and democracy movements indicates that the regime depends only on its security bodies; its loss of legitimacy will lead it to use more violence to survive the coming chain of elections (Shura – Parliament – Presidency), which we anticipate, will witness major violations of human rights. This will be even more evident the coming May when a new extension of the emergency state will be declared, i.e. an extension of the absolute authority and power of the police and state security intelligence to oppress members of the opposition. This in turn calls for the need to equally extend the protests, demonstrations, and all other peaceful means of expression until the regime either decides to change its polices, or leaves.
1- Nadim Center for Psychological Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
2 – The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
3 – Hisham Mubarak Law Center
4 – Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
5 – Habi Center for Environmental Rights
6 – Association for Human Rights Legal Aid
7 – The Civil Observatory for Human Rights
8 – National Center for Human Rights
9 – Arab Federation of Human Rights Defenders
10 – Union Center for Development and Human Rights
11 – Reporters Without Rights
12 – The Egyptian Observatory for Justice and Law
13 – Land Children for Human Rights
14 – Arab Foundation For Civil Society And Human Rights Support (MADANYA)
15 – Women Group for Human Rights
16 – The Arabic Program for Human Rights Activists
17 – Egyptian Centre for Child Rights
18 – Egyptian Association for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions
19 – Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
20 – Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
21 – Land Center for Human Rights
22 – The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
23 – The Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights
24- Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance
21 April 2010