• April 18, 2015
  • 8 minutes read

Mohamed Beltagy Steadfast Against Relentless Junta Vengeance Campaign

Mohamed Beltagy Steadfast Against Relentless Junta Vengeance Campaign
"You killed my daughter, arrested and detained my son, persecuted and harassed my wife, and burnt down my clinic. Do you think I stand here to defend myself? I swear to God – in my eyes, innocence and execution are the same," said Dr. Mohamed Beltagy, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing the Freedom and Justice Party.

Dr. Mohamed Beltagy, the 52-year old Egyptian political opposition leader is the pro-democracy activist who received the most jail terms, almost 150 years so far.

Dr. Beltagy’s family was described by April 6 Youth Movement as only the second in terms of suffering the military junta’s murderous brutality, living a life of perpetual mourning – with loved ones executed, detained, jailed, persecuted and hunted by coup security forces.

Military snipers killed Asmaa, Dr. Beltagy’s 17-year old daughter, in the Rabaa massacre in August 2013. Being viciously hunted by her killers – the junta and its militias, her father (Dr. Beltagy) was not able to attend her funeral. Instead, he sent her a highly emotional letter of mourning, vowing to continue the January 25 Revolution for which she died.

This was not the first revenge atrocity committed by the junta regime against Dr. Beltagy, one of the symbols of defiance in the Rabaa Square peaceful sit-in. Earlier, during the sit-in, the military’s media henchmen claimed that Dr. Beltagy called for support for terrorism in the Sinai. However, he responded, refuting the utter lies. In fact, his entire career was linked to political endeavors and non-violent revolutionary work.

The military junta repeatedly endeavored to exact revenge on Dr. Beltagy, Tahrir Square’s most prominent leader during the January 2011 Revolution that toppled General Mubarak. Eventually, Dr. Beltagy was arrested by coup security forces in a most barbaric manner. He was brutally assaulted and thrown in Tora Prison, the country’s most notorious and toughest prison.

Since his arrest, the junta has continued to bring against Dr. Beltagy trumped-up charges in clearly politicized sham trials. The coup regime further continued to harass and persecute Dr. Beltagy’s wife as well as his two sons Anas and Khalid, giving them the usual fake charges and sham trials treatment. The junta also forced Dr. Beltagy’s eldest son Ammar to leave the country.

Dr. Beltagy was one of the most prominent advocates of revolutionary unity and reconciliation among supporters of the Revolution. Despite his imprisonment, he has not changed his position, calling for supporters of the Revolution to rally around shared objectives. Reflecting Dr. Beltagy’s unfailing steadfastness, despite all the unfair accusations, activists launched the hashtag "Man up… Be a Beltagy (Be a man like Beltagy)".

The peaceful struggle advocated by Dr. Beltagy in the face of the military coup, in order to facilitate a return to the democratic process, was invariably his approach in the era of former General Hosni Mubarak, where Dr. Beltagy was the most prominent opposition leader. Security authorities at the time used many repressive tactics against him, but failed to force him to flee or cower.

Dr. Beltagy’s career and history was always one of peaceful political activity and excellence. He excelled academically at every level. He was elected leader of the Faculty of Medicine Student Union (Al-Azhar University), then head of Azhar University Student Union (nationwide).

Dr. Beltagy’s leadership, representing Azhar University students, led to a great beginning of a new era in student and Islamic action at Azhar University. In fact, it was a great awakening for students to political participation.

Dr. Beltagy ran for the 2005 People’s Assembly (Egypt’s parliament) for the Muslim Brotherhood bloc. He won a landslide victory in the first round. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, results were blatantly falsified and rigged to rule him out. However, Dr. Beltagy won a seat in the 2012 parliament, where he became a member of the Committee on Defense and National Security.

The majority of Dr. Beltagy’s political fights in parliament were linked to public issues such as rising prices, along with public liberties and political reform issues. He also endeavored for independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press and stood against unfair or absurd legislation (eg imprisonment in publishing cases, extending the state of emergency, unjust constitutional amendments in 2007 and trials of civilians in military courts). He also stood firm in defense of the rights of expression and peaceful protest, and objected strongly against repression and shooting at demonstrators.

Along with a number of leading Egyptian politicians from all political currents, Dr. Beltagy launched the Egyptian Campaign Against Bequeathing Power, in October 2009. At the same time, he helped found the Egyptians for Free and Proper Elections movement. Further, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, he helped set up the National Assembly of Change in February 2010. He later played a prominent role in the activities of the National Assembly in all governorates across Egypt.

It is certain that the steadfastness of Dr. Mohamed Beltagy will ultimately triumph over the junta’s vengeful campaign of terror and false accusations. Before he was arrested, he said: "For Egypt, we will continue to demonstrate peacefully in all streets across the country until we topple the coup regime whose leaders, including General Al-Sisi, have pushed the country into an unprecedented level of chaos and violence. We will not give them the opportunity to turn our beloved homeland into another Syria or to escape from prosecution for their crimes".