News Release

Egypt: Broad Repression with U.S. Backing


The Wall Street Journal reports: “Secretary of State John Kerry voiced strong U.S. support for Egypt’s new president and signaled that Washington will continue the flow of military aid in an American welcome of the post-coup government.”

SHERIEF GABER, sgaber at, @cairocitylimits, @mosireen
Gaber is a member of the Mosireen Independent Media Collective in Cairo, and a researcher focusing on housing rights and social justice issues. He said today: “What has to be understood is that the enormity of the issue is not just about the foreign Al Jazeera journalists, or even journalists in general, but that the scope and scale of politically motivated imprisonment in Egypt right now is astonishing. Also, while the criminalization and targeting of journalists is a heinous act in itself, instances of incitement and targeting of journalists and those who would seek to expose the truth has been a sad constant for years now.

“What is new, perhaps, is merely the cloaking of such attacks under the pretext of ‘rule of law.’ The judiciary is an unchecked force that uses its formal ‘independence’ to be a completely unaccountable wing of the regime, working parallel to the police.

“According to the independent documentation site Wikithawra, over 40,000 politically motivated arrests have taken place since Morsi’s ouster. Recently, since the passage of the repressive protest law, we’ve seen sentences of up to 15 years prison being handed down for mere participation in a protest.”

See video by Mosireen on the police, judiciary and public prosecutor’s office (“three arms of injustice”) on YouTube — click on “cc” icon for English subtitles.

Gaber was quoted in the piece “U.S. Welcomes Coup Leader As Egypt’s New President.” He said, “The U.S. has looked forward to working with every single Egyptian regime to date … to maintain [the] status quo relations favoring U.S. policy in the region, regardless of whether that was Mubarak, Morsi or now Sisi.”

NOHA RADWAN, nmradwan at
Radwan is associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature at University of California at Davis. She was born in Egypt and was among the participants in the 18-day Tahrir Square protests in early 2011. She stressed the case of Mohamed Soltan who “has been on a hunger strike since January 26 in protest of his continual detention and ill-treatment. Doctors who examined Soltan on June 9 found a severe drop in all his vital signs including pulse rate and blood pressure. Medical testing also determined the presence of blood clots in his lungs, and concluded that he is suffering from poisoning due to the disproportionately high level of drugs in his bloodstream.Unless immediately treated, he is in imminent danger of bleeding to death and/or slipping into a coma.

“Soltan is 26, an Egyptian-American and a graduate of Ohio State University. He was arrested in August 2013 and detained without charge until January when he made his first appearance before the court. His family reports that he was severely abused during this period. …

“While Soltan’s life threatening medical condition makes a demand for his immediate release a necessity, his case is not unique. Many of the political prisoners in Egypt today have not been charged with specific crimes or violations and have been incarcerated for months, awaiting formal charges. …

“This is only the tip of the iceberg with regards to the abuse of the justice system in Egypt. It is quite clear that the post-July 2013 government, in its different guises before and after the recent presidential elections, has decided to run the country according to the wishes of General-cum-President Abd al Fattah al-Sisi and his criminal injustice system. The massive repressive measures, which aim at silencing all voices of dissent, including incarcerating journalists, banning publications and TV shows, are likely to continue.”