• Reports
  • May 3, 2006
  • 14 minutes read

Future of Freedoms in Egypt

Detentianing thousands of political rivals and journalists, investigating judges, savagely attacking peaceful demonstrations,  and many other incidents.This is the image of freedoms in Egypt today. Despite statements and several promises by president Mubarak during his election campaign, the political reality totally contradicts the presidential vows and statements. It is even worse when compared to last year. The last of which was a decision to extend the emergency law for another two years. Egypt is living in a state of emergency for more than 25 years since assassination of president Anwar Al Sadat by the Isalmic Jihad group 

The detainees crisis

Kamal Habib, coordinator of the “National Campaign to Release Detainees” says that the future of freedoms in Egypt is vague at all levels. Despite a lot of good promises in the president’s election program, yet, the future seems discouraging. We are still under the emergency law which is being replaced by an “Anti-terrorism Act”, that is much worse than the emergency law itself according to close sources to the Egyptian regime.

The number of political detainees according to the Human Rights Organizations, reaches more than sixteen thousands. Detentions are continuous and the Interior Minister, still amid this number, denies that there is something called “political prisoners”

It is known that most of those detainees are imprisoned since the assassination of Anwar Al Sadat, in very bad living conditions and totally deprived of their basic human rights. There are more than 118 cases, for example,filed by families of these prisoners because they are deprived from visiting their relatives in prison. Administrative courts ruled in favor of those families and their visitations’ right, yet, the Interior Ministry refuses to abide by the court’s decision.

Muslim Brotherhood will stay the course

Dr. Essam Al Aryan, a prominent leader within the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, confirmed that “all hopes for reform totally vanished. Canceling the state of emergency was one of the main issues that were supposed to be carried out by the regime. Yet, the regime continues its criminal policies. The regime came at odds with all political powers and continues to clash with them reaching a state of a political deadlock, which may lead to a state of turmoil similar to what happened at the end former president Anwar Al Sadat’s era”

Al Aryan confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood and all political powers will continue their demands for genuine political reform, and will work to issue new laws that do not restrict freedoms. They will also work to unveil the government’s policies and fulfill the nation’s demands in having good living conditions where the citizens can live free.

Egypt is living in a state of political chaos

On his part, Dr. Diaa Rashwan, the political researcher at Al Ahram Center for Political Studies indicated that Egypt is living a state of unprecedented political chaos and that the emergency law feeds into this chaos which will not affect the Egyptian regime only, but also destablize the society at the moral and economic levels leading to the country’s collapse.

Rashwan attacked the Egyptian political powers for not being tough enough to face the Egyptian regime. Rashwan called upon the political powers, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to put their differences aside and unite under one banner. He called on them to immediately set actions to escalate at all levels facing the state of the political tension.

Emergency law focuses on the regime security, not the society

On the other hand, Dr. Rafik Habib (Christian thinker and intellectual) said that “the Egyptian regime totally neglects the opposition and does not respond to even a portion of its demands but rather imposes its opinions. What is really known is that the emergency law was used against politicians and thinkers and it did not stop acts of violence.  Habib indicated that the  emergency law is only a protection for the ruler. It represents a part of a security concept that focuses on the regime security not on that of society. It seems that the regime can only servive under the emergency law.

Habib demanded the political powers to support the judges in their battle for judiciary independence, considering this battle a key for freedom. “In case judges succeeded to pass the judicial authority law, this would lead to the end of tyranny” he added

He also demanded the political powers to work on ecouraging the public participation “If the Egyptian regime felt a real popular pressure, it would respond to some of the opposition demands. But It still considers that the popular uprising is that of the political powers and thinkers only”

Fighting the wrong enemy

Dr. Amer Al Shobaki, political researcher in Al Ahram Center for Political Studies confirmed that notion ” renewing the emergency law is the wrong solution for a wrong battle. The emergency law considers the political powers, institutions of the civil society, and professional syndicates as dangerous against the society, although the target of the emergency law is to fight terror and that the battle with the politicians is an imaginary battle not in the nation’s interest”

Al Shobaki indicated that the emergency law has dangerous repercussions on the future of reform and the regime’s ability to pursuit terror and violence groups “the regime is launching a battle against the political powers that are supposed to be supporting the regime against terrorism. Yet, the Egyptian regime is fighting the wrong battle”

repercussions of the emergency law

The National Front for Change (NFC), which includes a number of political powers and parties, stated that president Mubarak did not rule one day under the ordinary law. The emergency law is only supposed to prevail at time of wars, disasters or exceptional conditions, contradicting what is always repeated about Egypt’s stability and security. The statement indicated that the Interior Minister’s authorities given to him by the military ruler restrict the political parties and ban peaceful power rotation by imposing restrictions on the political parties activities.

The statement continued by saying that the law neglected all general and private freedoms stated in the constitution, as the emergency law makes the president – at the same time head of the ruling party- a military ruler with great authorities. What made the matter worse is transferring these authorities to the Interior Minister that consequently controls the people’s fates through detention, meetings adjournment, newspapers seizure and other unrestricted authorities granted to him by the emergency law.

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