News Release

Egyptian Military Courts and IMF


Today, online Egyptian media are reporting the noted blogger Hossam El-Hamalawy and TV presenter Reem Maged were scheduled to be questioned by the military prosecution for criticizing Egypt’s ruling military on air; but following an outcry, the military only asked them “to provide evidence of alleged military police violations,” AhramOnline reports. El-Hamalawy has tweeted that he is scheduled to appear on OnTV again tonight.

Rizk is an independent writer and filmmaker and a friend of Hossam El-Hamalawy. He said today: “It seems the military saw the support for Hossam and decided persuing this case would cause their image too much harm. But there are literally thousands of other civilians who are being prosecuted by these military courts who are not as well-connected. Today, torturing inmates much like the state security apparatus has in the past is ongoing.

“The case of El-Hamalawy and Maged are relatively rare because of the extent of self-censorship that takes place in the media in Egypt. Even mentioning the military in the Egyptian media — especially on TV or in print, as opposed to on the internet — is against the law as it was during Mubarak’s reign.

“On paper it’s illegal right now to have protests or strikes that hinder the workflow of any factory or business in Egypt. Those laws are not always implemented but they create the legal impetus for the military or security forces to crackdown when they see fit which creates a lack of freedom. So, for example, it’s very difficult to question things like economic policies. That’s partly because people are confusing political and social liberalization with economic liberalization. But it’s largely because of the lack of serious freedom to speak out about policies that will be detrimental to many Egyptians, like the just-announced International Monetary Fund loans.

“Such policies look for outside money to move the Egyptian economy, but Egypt is still being drained by corrupt giveaways to members of Mubarak’s old clique. They are still being sold things by the state like natural gas for about a quarter the market value. Meanwhile, the tax system in Egypt is still very regressive. If these things were changed, Egypt wouldn’t need to be getting loans — with various conditions attached — from the IMF.”

Rizk is creating a series of short documentaries about issues like the military courts.

He has also made short films about issues like how Mubarak policies and international finance reversed land reforms in Egypt.

Also see the reports by Jasmina Metwaly’s at TahrirDiaries’ YouTube channel:

“Military Trials — An Explanation”

“No Military Trials”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167