A new report by Human Rights Watch has cast light on the scale of the Egyptian dictatorship’s crimes against its own people in the Sinai region.
The report on forced evictions in the Egyptian town of Rafah says that “at least 3,255″ homes, businesses and other local buildings have been demolished by the military since it came back to full power in the coup of July 2013. Innocent people have been forced to move out of their own homes, often at extremely short notice and with little or no compensation in return.
The report opens with a moving quotation from one of the local people who has suffered at the hands of the military in this way, reflecting on what she lost: “I myself used to make food and tea for the soldiers and they came and sat in the shade of our olive tree when the sun beat down on them… My mother told me: ‘The tree is your responsibility. I fed you from it and raised you on it. Even in times of war, we lived from its oil when nobody could find food.’ Now there’s nothing I can do but hold the tree and kiss it and say, ‘Forgive me, mom, what can I do.'”
The town of Rafah sits near the border with Palestine, close to the Gaza city of the same name. Historically, these two places were one city, but as the saying goes, these people did not cross the border, the border crossed them.
Continue reading at MEMO.
On Saturday, there was a surprise verdict in an Egyptian court. Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for three years each in a widely-covered retrial. The three had previously been imprisoned for a year for supposedly “spreading false news” in support of a “terrorist” group – in fact the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood.
The previous verdict had been overturned due to what even the court admitted was a lack of evidence, but this retrial was ordered nonetheless.
One of the three, Australian journalist Peter Greste had been released in February and deported back to Australia. His colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy are both Egyptian and so have now been sent back to prison.
Read the rest over at MEMO.
On the Egyptian military regime’s spree of death sentences:
Since then, the coup regime has only felt itself more empowered to entrench its control, imprisoning dissidents and critics on the flimsiest of pretexts. These have included many Muslim Brotherhood leaders, but also secular and leftist critics like Alaa Abd El Fattah, who an Egyptian court outrageously sentenced to five years in jail earlier this year for the crime of organizing protests.
More recently, feeling more and more emboldened by tacit support from its American sponsors, the coup regime has been on a grotesque spree of handing out death sentences to many of its imprisoned critics. Egypt is now in danger of becoming a death sentence regime.
Read the whole thing over at MEMO.
Yet another delay, probably for good this time:
Reports in the British press suggest that Sir John has cleared the Brotherhood of any violent extremist tendencies. It is “not a terrorist organisation but should be more open about its dealings,” is how The Independent summarised the findings on Monday, when the report failed to materialise.
Read the full story here.
On rumours of an Egyptian “invasion” of Gaza:
After the Muslim Brotherhood, the spectre of Hamas has been been another primary boogie man for the generals. Pro-regime media outlets have relentlessly harped on with one farcical conspiracy theory after the next about Hamas – including the ridiculous claim that Morsi wanted to hand the Sinai over to Hamas.
With the Brotherhood dealt with, these latest Egyptian army threats do not come as a surprise.
On Egypt’s recent election:
Buoyed by a newly invigorated cult of personality centred around Sisi, the military dictatorship decided to shore up its power by staging an election to usher in a new constitution. It will free the army, police and intelligence services from civilian control, giving the coup a legalistic veneer.
Once, Saddam Hussein used to to claim 99 percent of Iraqis had voted for him. The dictator Mubarak and his party “won” rigged elections with 80-88 percent. Sisi decided to out do him.
Updating the site with my recent MEMO columns.
In these turbulent times, many things remain uncertain. But there seems to be one reliable constant: the oppression of the Palestinian people throughout the region.
Despite widespread popular support for the Palestinian cause among the Arab peoples, regimes all over the region have used vulnerable Palestinians as easy scape-goats, abusing their human rights in various ways.
Read the whole thing here.