BRIEF 2 – ENAG Feb 2020

Enag

, OUR MONTHLY BRIEFS

This is our view on
The “Deal” of the century
In a statement on 29/01/2020, ENAG condemned the “Theft of the Century” which amounts to legalizing illegal
settlements, seizing Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites and denying Palestinians of their rights to
sovereignty.
In the same statement and in a letter sent to European leaders, ENAG warns of further destabilization threats in the
whole region including Egypt. With a $9bn reward included in the US-Israel plan, it seems now certain that Sisi
intends to give away Egypt’s sovereignty on Northern Sinai in a tragic move closer towards the Gaza-Sinai
New State Solution. There is a growing body of evidence that supports the belief that Sisi is preparing Northern
Sinai to the “Deal of the century” with mass eviction of local population and mass destruction of homes and
farmland buildings.
Although this waiver of Egyptian territory might be disguised under some form of “economic special zone”, the result
is the same and is utterly inacceptable for both Palestinians and Egyptians, including in the army’s ranks.
Beyond the fundamental national sovereignty threat, this situation will result in major security threats and instability
in Sinai but also in the rest of Egypt, including among the junta.
11th of February 2011
11th of February marked the 9th anniversary of Mubarak’s ouster from power. On this occasion, ENAG celebrated
the Egyptian people’s will for a better future and recalled how unexpected this change of regime had been a few
days before. Mentioning the obstacles erected by the military and the mistakes that were made by all trends
among the Revolution’s supporters, ENAG members expressed their confidence that the Egyptian nation will rise
up again against the dictatorship and will succeed in building a free, democratic and sovereign Egypt.
In brief
28 year-old human rights activist Patrick Zaky arrested
A Bologna University Egyptian student and human rights activist, Patrick George Zaky, was arrested on 7th of
February after he landed in Cairo for a short holiday break. Patrick Zaky told his lawyers he was beaten and tortured
with electroshocks. He has been charged with “spreading fake news and disturbing security and social peace” for
previous Facebook posts.
His arrest has provoked a massive outrage among the Italian population as Zaky’s arrest sounds like a painful
reminder of Italian student Giulio Regeni’s murder in Egypt. Students have organized protests in several cities of
Europe, remarkably assembling thousands to ask for his immediate release. A petition has gathered close to
200,000 signatures for his release and Giulio Regeni’s parents have joined their voice to the battle to free the
human rights defender.
Egyptian Embassy in Canada attempts to censor a movie on the repression
The Egyptian Embassy in Ottawa has attempted to prevent the movie screening of El Hatk (The Assault). The
movie, directed by former prisoner Mohamed El Bahrawy, depicts life under Sisi’s dictatorship. Both Imagine
Cinemas’ Ottawa St Laurent shopping centre theater’s staff and head office received pressures from the Egyptian
Embassy but fortunately refused to proceed.
The film, produced independently, has previously been screened in several theaters in Canada, Turkey, France and
the UK. It will be screened in Vienna, Austria and in Toronto, Canada, on 7th of March, in Washington DC, USA on
12th of March. Further dates will be given for screening in the US (New York and Chicago), Marseille (France) and
Italy.
German celebrities stand up against Sisi
The awarding of the Order of Saint-George to Egyptian ruler Sisi on 26th January by the German Opera Ball
association’s director Hans Frey, has provoked an unprecedented backlash.
Several German celebrities refused to participate in the Dresden’s Semper Opera Ball’s Awards Ceremony early
February in disagreement with Sisi’s awarding. This backlash pushed the Opera Ball’s director Hans Frey to
apologise and the award to be withdrawn. Billionaire Dietmar Hopp who was to be awarded the same medal had
turned down the award in protest against Sisi’s crackdown on human rights.
This backlash is the sign of a growing awareness of Sisi’s repression among the international public opinion, with
apolitical individuals who have decided to uncompromisingly reject Sisi’s methods.
The EU and the French and German governments respond to our letters
The EU External Action Services responded to a letter sent by Dr Ayman Nour to the EU High Representative for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell last December where he raised the cases of the 200 Egyptian
female political prisoners detained in Egypt, highlighting the case of critically ill Aisha al-Shater.
The EU response assured that the rights of political prisoners were “integral part” of their dialogue with Egypt. The
EU also mentioned that in September 2019, at the UN Human Rights Council, it called on Egypt to “respect freedom
of expression, assembly and association and to stop unduly restricting space for civil society, including through asset
freezes, travel bans, long periods of pre-trial detention and a growing number of arrests especially since June [2019]”.
As for France and Germany, they answered our letter sent in January 2020 asking for their urgent intervention in
support to the mass hunger strike undertaken by 300 political prisoners after the deaths of several inmates.
They ensured that they were following the human rights situation closely.
ENAG regularly sends letters to European leaders and lawmakers to update them on the human rights and political
situation of Egypt.
66 French parliamentarians petition for the release of political prisoners
On 31st of January, 66 French MPs and MEPs released an op-ed in Le Monde calling for the release of human
rights defenders unjustly detained in Egypt. They particularly mentioned the case of Ramy Shaath who was
arrested on 5th of July 2019 and whose pre-trial detention has been constantly renewed since. His wife, Cécile
Lebrun-Shaath, was expelled from Egypt and has been since relentlessly advocating for his release. They criticized
the “deafening silence” from the Egyptian authorities on this matter.
Ex Egyptian Minister of Solidarity appointed as Director General of the United Nations Office
in Vienna (UNOV)
It is under Mrs Ghada Waly that highly repressive NGO laws were adopted in 2014, 2017 and 2019, imposing
numerous restrictions on NGOs, granting authorities to revoke them for unclear motives, skipping any Court order
obligation as stipulated by the Constitution. These laws are in breach with Egypt’s obligations laid out in the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In October 2016, the United Nations Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr Maina
Kiai expressed his concern about the then draft NGO bill saying it would “aggravate already constraining legislative
framework and raise further questions about compatibility of the Egyptian legislation with its international human
rights obligations”.
In June 2017, after the 2017 law had been adopted, UN Human Rights Commissioner Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
stated that the law “places such tight restrictions on civil society that it effectively hands administration of NGOs to
the Government”.
In statements from July 2019, Human Rights Watch denounced the 2019 NGO law which “renews draconian
restrictions” whilst Amnesty International said it would “help perpetuate the devastating crackdown on human rights
defenders and independent civil society organizations”.
Watch for
Patrick Zaky’s hearing
On 12th of February, the President of the EU Parliament, David Sassoli, called the Egyptian authorities to release
Patrick Zaky and liaised with High Representative Joseph Borrell to highlight it at the following Foreign Affairs
Council which took place on 17th in Brussels. However, according to the Outcome documents available on the
European Commission’s website, Patrick’s case has not been discussed at all by European Foreign Affairs Ministers.
Luigi di Maio, Italian Foreign Affairs Minister attended the Council.
On 22nd of February, a hearing will decide to release or prolong his detention which might show whether Egypt is
ready to listen to its partners.
French Arms Export under scrutiny
In November 2019, French National Assembly Information Mission on arms export organised closed hearings
with a series of stakeholders, from industrials to NGOs. According to our information, their report should be finalised
by the end of February. At stake, the lack of transparency and accountability on French arms export.
Read
An “unwelcome visitor”: The Times editorial
On 20th of January, the UK held its first UK Africa Summit and invited Sisi to give one of the opening speeches, a
week after the death in detention of the US-Egyptian dual citizen Moustafa Kassem. The Times issued a
remarkable editorial calling Sisi an “unwelcome visitor”.
Why did Egyptian Democratization fail?
The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) asked 14 experts to answer the question “why did Egyptian
Democratization fail?”. Most pointed out to the role of the “deep state” which was not ready to leave power as shown
by Sisi’s military coup in July 2013 and to the lack of preparation of the opposition. This is why ENAG was created.
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