– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

17. May 2006

Situationen i Egypten - update


Alaa El-Fatah og alt for mange andre egyptiske demonstranter sidder stadig fængslet efter fredelige demonstrationer forleden.

I dag bringer Christian Science Monitor en længere artikel om sagen, hvor vi bl.a. læser om Alaas tidligere udtalelser om udviklingen i Egypten:
In August 2005, the Monitor profiled Abdel-Fatah in an article on Egypt's growing cyber-activist community. His Web log - which was created with his wife, Manal Hassan - serves as a meeting point for hundreds of Internet-savvy and politically active young Egyptians. In November 2005, the blog won a top award from Reporters Without Borders for promoting freedom of expression.

In March, Abdel-Fatah helped organize an overnight sit-in in Cairo. Alerted by websites, e-mails, text messages, and newspaper ads, about 100 demonstrators spent the night singing songs and waving anti-Mubarak signs at passing traffic.

"In the last year we won back the right to protest," said Abdel-Fatah at the time, referring to the frequent demonstrations that various prodemocracy groups had been holding in the streets of Cairo since January 2005.
Men så godt fik det, har læsere af denne blog allerede forstået, ikke lov til at blive ved med at gå:
Tuesday Egypt's Interior Ministry said that any unauthorized street protests would be considered as breaking the law. Since April 24, more than 300 demonstrators, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the secular opposition, have been detained. They were all arrested while trying to hold demonstrations in support of the two Egyptian judges. Abdel-Fatah was detained May 7 while standing with a small group of protesters outside a Cairo courthouse where the judges were arguing their case.

Abdel-Fatah and other protesters - many of whom were beaten by plain-clothes officers and security forces during their arrests - have been charged with crimes such as insulting the president, blocking traffic, rioting and destroying public property, disseminating subversive materials, and inciting the public to demonstrate. All those arrested are being held in detention pending investigation.
(Hat tip: Niels Grotum, også kendt som Bistroisten).

Hvis man gerne vil have lidt baggrund om, hvordan egyptisk politi kan ventes at optræde til demonstration (udover den, vi selv gav i sidste uge), kan man læse om det i The Guardian fra i går. Simon Tisdall skriver her under overskriften Egypt finds democracy can wait:
President Hosni Mubarak's enforcers have a particular way of dealing with female demonstrators: they sexually humiliate them. The case of journalist Abir al-Askari is but one example. When she arrived at Cairo's high court last week for a disciplinary hearing against two pro-democracy judges, she was grabbed by several men.

"They drove me to Sayyida Zeinab police station. I screamed and resisted and they beat me and pulled my hair and my veil," Ms Askari said. "Right in front of the police station they kicked me. When people gathered and told them to stop they replied: 'She's been committing adultery.'"

Ms Askari told Human Rights Watch investigators that she was taken to a room where three female activists from the Kifaya reform group had previously been abused. "'Nobody will know where you are,' the officer said. 'You are lost.' They tore at my clothes, my shirt buttons. They continued to slap and punch me ... I was lying on the floor. He placed his shoe on my face." She was later released.
Et enestående overgreb?

Nej, for Tisdall fortsætter:
Ms Askari's ordeal recalled a similar outrage in May last year when women protesters were assaulted and groped by plainclothes security men as police looked on. That incident was especially embarrassing for Mr Mubarak. Under US pressure, he had just promised a new era of democratic reform and announced Egypt's first contested presidential election (which he later won by a landslide). He ordered an investigation. But no charges have been brought.
Og det bliver der nok heller ikke denne gang, for såvel den egyptiske regering selv som dens vestlige allierede er pludselig holdt op med at interessere sig for demokrati, reformer eller retssamfund i Egypten. I CS Monitors artikel hedder det således om grunden til, at myndighederne slår så hårdt ned netop nu:
"The government before was talking about reform, they wanted to show they were serious, and allow different groups to express themselves," says Hafez Abu Saeeda, head of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights.

But now, he says, Western governments see the Egyptian regime as a necessary ally in the region, and are more willing to overlook its lack of reform ...
The situation is "obviously demoralizing," says one young female activist who prefers to remain anonymous because of security concerns. "Every single important leftist is in prison. They're arresting everyone. We've given up on street work."
Er dette, hvad vi kan vente os her i Danmmark, når vi først har fået nødlove og terrorlove på plads?

Who knows - det går i hvert fald ikke den rigtige vej, så jeg vil gerne gentage min tidligere opfordring om at skrive til den egyptiske ambassade og protestere, og i det meget mindste skrive under på den underskriftsindsamling til fordel for de anholdte, der er i gang.

Link til artiklen om Alaa og udviklingen i Egypten i Christian Science Monitor.
Link til The Guardians artikel Egypt finds democracy can wait.