| Powerfull solidarity in Egypt! |
NN - 04.02.2011 21:19
Powerfull solidarity. Worldwide revolution started december 2008 Greece!
Christians protecting muslims brothers and sisters while muslims are praying. This is a powerful solidarity. Last xmas the muslims where protecting christians also.
"We are not be silenced, whether you a muslim, whether a christian, whether a atheist. You will demand your goddamn rights. And we will have our rights, one way or another. We will never ever be silenced"
Lees meer over: anti-fascisme / racisme vrijheid, repressie & mensenrechten wereldcrisis
| aanvullingen |
|GOE ACTIONS TO SUPPRESS CRITICAL OPINION |
| W.L. 28-07-2009 - 05.02.2011 03:43 |
09CAIRO1447 2009-07-28 14:02 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
DE RUEHEG #1447/01 2091448
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281448Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3280
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001447
FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA
NSC FOR KUMAR
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2029
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: RECENT GOE ACTIONS TO SUPPRESS CRITICAL OPINION
REF: A. CAIRO 1332
¶B. CAIRO 1263
¶C. CAIRO 930
¶D. CAIRO 504
¶E. CAIRO 79
Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor
Donald A. Blome for reason 1.4 (d).
¶1. KEY POINTS
-- (C) A recent series of selective GOE actions against journalists, bloggers and even an amateur poet illustrates the variety of methods available to the GOE to suppress critical opinion, including an array of investigative authorities and public and private legal actions.
-- (U) A journalist was jailed on defamation charges for the first time in recent memory, and an amateur poet was imprisoned for three months for allegedly defaming President Mubarak.
-- (C) The GOE arrested three Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-affiliated bloggers, and has repeatedly used the Emergency Law to block a court ordered release of another jailed blogger.
-- (C) The government is working with NDP operatives to flood the courts with suits against political enemies, using tactics such as fabricating assault charges against a journalist and filing a profanity case against a novelist.
-- (C) The GOE's actions are examples of where it decides to draw redlines in an environment featuring frequent press articles and blogs critical of both the regime and President Mubarak.
-- (C) These GOE actions, combined with arrests of MB officials (septel), could be the start of an attempt to tighten the political environment in advance of the 2010 parliamentary elections.
Proactive Security Forces and an Unfortunate Amateur Poet
¶2. (C) The recent case in XXXXXXXXXXXXX (XXXXXXXXXXXX miles XXXXXXXXXXXX of Cairo) of XXXXXXXXXXXXX, a local government clerk arrested, convicted and jailed for writing unpublished poetry allegedly insulting to President Mubarak, illustrates how proactive security forces and courts can successfully move against a civilian defended by incompetent lawyers. In late June, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) issued a statement that police in XXXXXXXXXXXXXX arrested XXXXXXXXXXXXXX in April for defaming Mubarak in a poem, and a local court subsequently sentenced him to three years in prison. According to the statement, the court set bail at LE 100,000 (15,000 USD) pending appeal, and since XXXXXXXXXXXX could not afford that sum, he remained in jail. Skilled Cairo-based lawyers from ANHRI appealed the case, and a Minya appeals court acquitted XXXXXXXXXXX July 18; he was released July 20. XXXXXXXXXXXX might still be in jail if his original defense lawyers had not sought help.
¶3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXXX told us he was not aware of the case until June when lawyers from Minya contacted him to help with the appeal. XXXXXXXXXXXXX attributed the conviction in part to the poor skills of the defense lawyers. The case remained virtually unknown until the days leading up to the July 18 appeal verdict when the local and international press began reporting on it. Until mid-July, even our contacts specializing in freedom of expression were unaware of the case. Following XXXXXXXXXXXX's release from prison, XXXXXXXXXX appeared on Egyptian satellite television and said XXXXXXXXXXXXX would not write any more poetry critical of the government. XXXXXXXXXXXX also criticized lawyers from Minya for not defending him aggressively out of fear of the GOE's response.
Arresting and Harassing Bloggers
¶4. (C) In a blogging environment often critical of the government, the GOE has selectively moved against certain bloggers. Most recently, the GOE arrested three young, Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-affiliated bloggers. XXXXXXXXXXXXX confirmed for us July 27 that State Security Investigative Services (SSIS) arrested bloggers XXXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXXXX at Cairo International Airport following their return from a conference in XXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXX also confirmed that SSIS arrested a third blogger, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, at his home on XXXXXXXXXXX, and that all three bloggers remained in detention. The MB website reported XXXXXXXXXXX that the GOE released XXXXXXXXXXXXX that day. The three bloggers have criticized trials of MB members in military courts and have voiced support for MB detainees. Our contacts have asserted that the GOE fears young, tech-savvy MB-affiliated bloggers because of their ability to generate mass support for the Brotherhood and organize rallies and other events via the internet. Contacts attributed the arrest and torture of young MB-blogger XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in XXXXXXXXXXXX(refs D, E) to these factors. Police released XXXXXXXXXXXXX in XXXXXXXXXXXX (ref D).
¶5. (C) Prominent blogger XXXXXXXXXXXX ran afoul of the GOE by publicly criticizing the regime in late June at a conference in XXXXXXXXXXXXX (ref B). XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, who was held at XXXXXXXXXXXX International Airport XXXXXXXXXX for 13 hours upon his return, told us XXXXXXXXXXXXXX that police have still not returned his laptop. Hafez Abu Seada, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights which is representing XXXXXXXXXXXX, told us July 22 that the police have not responded to his organization's inquiries beyond saying that they are holding the laptop to search for "intellectual property violations." XXXXXXXXXXXXX had told us that NDP members attending the same conference in XXXXXXXXXXXXX reported his critical comments to the GOE.
¶6. (C) The GOE is using the Emergency Law to reject court orders for the release of blogger XXXXXXXXXXXXXX whom SSIS has kept in jail since XXXXXXXXXXXXXX for allegedly insulting both Islam and Christianity (ref C). XXXXXXXXXXXXX's lawyer XXXXXXXXXXX told us that the Interior Ministry rejected a XXXXXXXXXXXXX court order to release XXXXXXXXXXXXX, and since SSIS made the arrest under the Emergency Law, neither the courts nor attorneys have any recourse. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX commented that this is the fifth time the MOI has refused to follow court decisions ordering XXXXXXXXXXXXX's release.
GOE Actions Against a Novelist and Journalists
¶7. (C) The GOE and NDP operatives have stepped up their efforts to file lawsuits against political opponents. Human Rights attorney XXXXXXXXXXXXX told us in late June that he is defending the leading independent newspaper "Al-Masry Al-Youm" against more than 70 defamation suits, most of which have been filed by NDP loyalists. XXXXXXXXXXXXX is also defending XXXXXXXXXXXXX author of XXXXXXXXXXXXX against a government suit alleging that the work is profane. XXXXXXXXXXXXX said the MOI filed the profanity suit as a pretext to punish the author for the novel's criticism of the NDP and of MOI heavy-handed police tactics against demonstrators. The profanity suit focuses on one relatively explicit sex scene and the use of expletives. XXXXXXXXXXXXX said such content is common in books and magazines, and almost never incurs suits. The trial is currently adjourned until the fall.
¶8. (C) EOHR Secretary-General Hafez Abu Seada told us in early July that he is defending XXXXXXXXXXXXX, a journalist from the weekly newspaper XXXXXXXXXXXXX whom he said the Interior Ministry has targeted for writing a series of articles critical of the minister and other senior MOI officials. Abu Seada said an Interior Ministry general confronted XXXXXXXXXXXXX on the street as a pretext for filing charges against him for allegedly "assaulting" an officer. The Arab Network for Human Rights Information issued a statement July 13 criticizing the police for breaking into XXXXXXXXXXXXX's home six times between July 10 and 11.
¶9. (C) In mid-July, police arrested Yasser Barakat, editor-in-chief of the independent paper "Al-Moagaz," to implement a June 24 court decision convicting him of defaming independent MP and SSIS confidante Mustafa Bakry. In the first instance in recent memory of a journalist jailed for defamation, Barakat spent 5 days in jail before his July 11 release pending appeal, following lobbying by the Press Syndicate (ref A). Contacts have told us that SSIS was able to provide political cover to support Bakry in his long-running personal feud against Barakat.
|FROM ACTIVISM TO BROADENING DISCOURSE |
| W.L. 30-03-2009 - 05.02.2011 03:56 |
09CAIRO544 2009-03-30 13:01 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
DE RUEHEG #0544/01 0891336
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FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2050
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1241
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 000544SIPDIS
FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA NSC FOR PASCUAL AND KUCHTA-HELBLING LONDON FOR SREEBNYE.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2029
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KIRF KWMN SOCI EG
BLOGGERS MOVING FROM ACTIVISM TO BROADENING DISCOURSE AND SELF-EXPRESSION
REF: A. CAIRO 468 B. CAIRO 243 C. CAIRO 229 D. CAIRO 152 E. 08 CAIRO 2403 F. 08 CAIRO 1973 G. 08 CAIRO 783 H. 07 CAIRO 3214 I. 06 CAIRO 3161
Classified By: DCM Matt Tueller for reason 1.4 (d).
¶1. KEY POINTS — (C) Egypt’s bloggers are playing an increasingly important role in broadening the scope of acceptable political and social discourse, and self-expression.
-- (C) Bloggers’ discussions of sensitive issues, such as sexual harassment, sectarian tension and the military, represent a significant change from five years ago, and have influenced society and the media.
-- (C) The role of bloggers as a cohesive activist movement has largely disappeared, due to a more restrictive political climate, GOE counter-measures, and tensions among bloggers.
-- (C) However, individual bloggers have continued to work to expose problems such as police brutality and corporate malfeasance.
¶2. (C) Comment: The government generally allows bloggers wide latitude in posting material critical of the GOE.
Exceptions to this policy are bloggers who directly insult President Mubarak or Islam, and the government has arrested and jailed bloggers who have crossed these red-lines. The GOE has also arrested activists, such as XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX, who have used blogging to organize and support protests (refs A and C). Activists are increasingly writing blogs to advance their political aims. Contacts accurately point out that bloggers have ceased to function as a cohesive activist movement. It is noteworthy that bloggers did not play a significant role in the most recent example of mass cyber-activism — the April 6, 2008 strike orchestrated through Facebook (ref G).
The Current State of Blogging
¶3. (C) Egypt has an estimated 160,000 bloggers who write in Arabic, and sometimes in English, about a wide variety of topics, from social life to politics to literature. One can view posts ranging from videos of alleged police brutality (ref B), to comments about the GOE’s foreign policy, to complaints about separate lines for men and women in government offices distributing drivers’ licenses. One NGO contact estimated for us that a solid majority of bloggers are between 20 and 35 years old, and that about 30 percent of blogs focus on politics. Blogs have spread throughout the population to become vehicles for a wide range of activists, students, journalists and ordinary citizens to express their views on almost any issue they choose. As such, the blogs have significantly broadened the range of topics that Egyptians are able to discuss publicly.
Expanding Discourse and Personal Expression
¶4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that blogging allows Egyptian youth to air their views about social and political issues in ways that were “unimaginable five years ago.” XXXXXXXXXXXX said that blog debates currently cover formerly “taboo” topics, such as Christian-Muslim tensions and the military’s potential role in succession. XXXXXXXXXXXX, a blogger who now concentrates on journalism and film-making, described how bloggers began public discussions of issues, such as sexual harassment and the legal status of Bahai’is, that were previously too sensitive to discuss. XXXXXXXXXXXX attributed the media’s sympathetic treatment of the Bahai’is’ national identification card case in January 2008, in comparison with skeptical media coverage of the issue in 2004, to bloggers’ efforts.
CAIRO 00000544 002 OF 003
¶5. (C) Two young upper middle-class bloggers told us that expressing themselves on their blogs is a “bright spot” for them in the current atmosphere of political, economic and social malaise. They noted that blogging provides them with an outlet, which they perceive as relatively anonymous, to disseminate criticism. One of them expressed satisfaction over being able to attack the “religious hypocrisy” and the “serious problems” in the society. A third blogger told us that she uses her blog to discuss whatever issues may be bothering her: her views on dysfunction in the Sinai, the prime minister’s latest speech, or the Obama administration’s Middle East diplomacy. She has written critically about issues, such as the XXXXXXXXXXXX (ref F), without any GOE attempts to silence her.
Relationship with the Independent Media
¶6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that the open atmosphere created by bloggers has positively influenced the independent media, especially satellite television, to discuss sensitive issues such as sexuality and abortion. XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that while bloggers originally pushed the independent press to tackle new issues in 2006, the independent press has now overtaken the blogs in breaking important news. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted that while bloggers did ground-breaking reporting on sexual assaults in 2006 before the independent press covered the issue, bloggers are now recycling news stories that the independent press breaks. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the relationship between bloggers and the independent press has come full circle, as bloggers now depend on the independent press for news.
Originally an Activist Movement
¶7. (C) While the voices of individual bloggers are currently making their mark on expanding public discourse and personal expression, bloggers originally saw themselves as a cohesive movement of political activists. XXXXXXXXXXXX, said that in 2006, bloggers with diverse orientations — secular, Islamist, and leftist -- worked together to organize events, such as a sit-in protest at the Judges’ Club (ref I) and demonstrations in Tahrir Square. XXXXXXXXXXXX characterized bloggers during this period as activists who worked closely with civil society organizations to raise public awareness of issues, such as sexual assault. Because of bloggers’ independent, relatively anonymous identities, XXXXXXXXXXXX continued, they were able to engage on these issues more freely than NGOs. XXXXXXXXXXXX believes that female bloggers’ personal accounts of being harassed put an important personal face on the problem.
¶8. (C) Since 2006, XXXXXXXXXXXX said, bloggers have not been able to replicate the same kind of political activism for a number of reasons. He cited growing tensions and divisions within the blogger community, where Islamist bloggers are openly critical of secular and Christian bloggers. As part of the GOE’s increasing crack-down on political reformers since 2005-6, XXXXXXXXXXXX said, State Security (SSIS) began to target bloggers. XXXXXXXXXXXX, and of pressuring western news organizations to dismiss other bloggers who challenged the GOE. XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that many bloggers have abandoned their blogs due to this pressure, and are focusing instead on careers in journalism and civil society.
¶9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that as political activism waned after 2006, bloggers lost their context for advocacy. He concluded that there is currently no political opening for bloggers to push for significant change, and predicted that the next opportunities may be during the 2011 presidential election.
Human rights activist XXXXXXXXXXXX separately echoed XXXXXXXXXXXX’ assessment, opining that there is a current “despondency” among bloggers, whom XXXXXXXXXXXX considers to be part of the broader activist community. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted that in the current “political stagnation,” bloggers are bereft of compelling and achievable political causes, but XXXXXXXXXXXX predicted they would play a crucial role “during the eventual succession.”
Bloggers as Human Rights Activists
CAIRO 00000544 003 OF 003
¶10. (C) While XXXXXXXXXXXX minimizes bloggers’ current impact as activists, veteran civil society advocates view bloggers’ contributions as significant. XXXXXXXXXXXX stressed the importance of bloggers’ concern with torture and press freedom. At a public lecture XXXXXXXXXXXX human rights lawyer XXXXXXXXXXXX lauded XXXXXXXXXXXX for posting an alleged police sodomy video a few days earlier (ref B), and for breaking the El-Kebir police brutality case. In November 2007, a court sentenced two polic officers to three years in prison for assaultin and sodomizing bus driver Imad El-Kebir. The cse gained notoriety after XXXXXXXXXXXX a cell phoe video recording of the attack (ref H).
¶11. (C XXXXXXXXXXXX cited the “3,000 hits per day” on XXXXXXXXXXXX’ blogas evidence of his influence, asserting that XXXXXXXXXXXX is more widely read than “Rose Al Youssef,” th SSIS-backed daily newspaper. Separately, a human rights lawyer XXXXXXXXXXXX marveled at XXXXXXXXXXXX power to expose police brutality on his blog. Bloggers have also been active on other issues. XXXXXXXXXXXX
|Geef mij de Guardian maar |
| joepie - 05.02.2011 04:08 |
'k Snap geen bal van die ongeredigeerde cables. Toch wel handig hoor, zo'n Guardian cs. die dat even voor je willen duiden ;)
|Police brutality in Egypt (january 2009) |
| W.L. 15-01-2009 - 05.02.2011 04:15 |
09CAIRO79 2009-01-15 15:03 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
DE RUEHEG #0079/01 0151524
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FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1372
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A LCAIRO 000079 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, DRL/NESCA, INL AND INR/NESA NSC FOR PASCUAL AND KUTCHA-HELBLINGE.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2029TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM EG
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (C) Summary and comment: Police brutality in Egypt against common criminals is routine and pervasive. Contacts describe the police using force to extract confessions from criminals as a daily event, resulting from poor training and understaffing. Brutality against Islamist detainees has reportedly decreased overall, but security forces still resort to torturing Muslim Brotherhood activists who are deemed to pose a political threat. Over the past five years, the government has stopped denying that torture exists, and since late 2007 courts have sentenced approximately 15 police officers to prison terms for torture and killings.
Independent NGOs have criticized GOE-led efforts to provide human rights training for the police as ineffective and lacking political will. The GOE has not yet made a serious effort to transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service institution. We want to continue a USG-funded police training program (ref F), and to look for other ways to help the GOE address police brutality. End summary and comment.
A Pervasive Problem
¶2. (C) Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders. One human rights lawyer told us there is evidence of torture in Egypt dating back to the times of the Pharaohs. NGO contacts estimate there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone. Egyptians are bombarded with consistent news reports of police brutality, ranging from high profile incidents such as accidental but lethal police shootings in Salamut and Aswan this past fall (refs B and C) that sparked riots, to reports of police officers shooting civilians following disputes over traffic tickets. In November 2008 alone, there were two incidents of off-duty police officers shooting and killing civilians over petty disputes. The cases against both officers are currently making their way through the judicial system.
¶3. (C) NGO and academic contacts from across the political spectrum report witnessing police brutality as part of their daily lives. One academic at XXXXXXXXXXXX told us XXXXXXXXXXXX the police proceeded to beat a female suspect into confessing about others involved in the theft and the whereabouts of the stolen valuables. A contact from an international NGO described witnessing police beat the doorman of an upscale Cairo apartment building into disclosing the apartment number of a suspect. Another contact at a human rights NGO told us that her friends do not report thefts from their apartments because they do not want to subject “all the doormen” in the vicinity to police beatings. She told us that the police’s use of force has pervaded Egyptian culture to the extent that one popular television soap opera recently featured a police detective hero who beats up suspects to collect evidence.
¶4. (C) Contacts attribute police brutality to poor training, understaffing and official sanction. Human rights lawyer XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX speculated that officers routinely resort to brutality because of pressure from their superiors to solve crimes. He asserted that most officers think solving crimes justifies brutal interrogation methods, and that some policemen believe that Islamic law sanctions torture. XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that a culture of judicial impunity for police officers enables continued brutality. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, “Police officers feel they are above the law and protected by the public prosecutor.” Human rights lawyer XXXXXXXXXXXX attributed police brutality against common criminals, including the use of electric shocks, to the problem of demoralized officers facing long hours and their own economic problems. He asserted that the police will even beat lawyers who enter police stations to defend their clients.
Criminals and Islamists
¶5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that since the GOE opened a dialogue with formerly violent Islamists, such as the Islamic Group, following the 1997 Luxor terrorist attacks, torture of Islamists has decreased. XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that the GOE now treats Islamists better than common criminals. Some Islamist detainees are “spoiled,” he asserted, with regular access to visits from friends and family, decent food and education. Before the Luxor attacks, XXXXXXXXXXXX commented, the government would torture Islamist detainees on a daily basis.
¶6. (C) Attorney XXXXXXXXXXXXXX commented that the GOE is more reluctant to torture Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members, because of their persistence in making public political statements, and their contacts with international NGOs that could embarrass the regime. XXXXXXXXXXXX speculated that the exception to this rule is when MB members mobilize people against the government in a way the regime deems threatening, such as the April 6 Facebook strike (ref D). According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, the MB-affiliated blogger and “April 6 Movement” member XXXXXXXXXXXX whom police arrested XXXXXXXXXXXX (ref A) falls into this category, and the GOE is probably torturing him to scare other “April 6” members into abandoning their political activities. XXXXXXXXXXXX’s assessment tracks with “April 6” member XXXXXXXXXXXX’s accounts of his own torture and the alleged police sexual molestation of a female “April 6” activist this past November (ref A). Bloggers close to XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that following his arrest he was tortured severely with electric shocks and needed to be hospitalized, but that security forces stopped the torture when he began cooperating.
GOE Awareness of the Problem
¶7. (C) Contacts agree that in the past five years, the government has stopped denying that torture exists and has taken some steps to address the problem. However, contacts believe that the Interior Ministry lacks the political will to take substantive action to change the culture of police brutality. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted that following alleged standing orders from the Interior Ministry between 2000 and 2006 for the police to shoot, beat and humiliate judges in order to undermine judicial independence, the GOE made a political decision in 2007 to allow the courts to sentence police officers to short prison terms. XXXXXXXXXXXX described the 2007 Imad El-Kebir case as a turning point in influencing the government to permit the sentencing of police officers.
(Note: Per ref E, a court sentenced two police officers to three years in prison in November 2007 for assaulting and sodomizing bus driver Imad El-Kebir. The case gained notoriety after a cell phone video recording of the torture was posted on YouTube. End note.)
¶8. (C) An estimated 13 cases of officers accused of brutality are currently working their way through the courts, and judges have handed down moderate sentences, usually the minimum three-year prison term, against policemen over the past few months, often for heinous crimes. For example, in October 2008, a court sentenced a policeman to three years in prison for beating and drowning a fisherman. In November 2008, a court sentenced two policemen to three years in prison for hooking a man to their car and dragging him to his death. XXXXXXXXXXXXX characterized the sentences as “light,” in proportion to the crimes, but commented that any prison sentences are an important development toward holding the police responsible for crimes. XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that the prison sentences demonstrate that the GOE is providing political space for judges to operate somewhat independently, in response to criticism from foreign governments and international NGOs. XXXXXXXXXXXXX described the sentences as important in drawing public attention to brutal police crimes, and strengthening the hand of advocates who call for reforming systemic problems within the police force.
¶9. (C) Ambassador Ahmed Haggag, who is detailed from the MFA as the coordinator for the UNDP Human Rights Capacity Building Project, described for us the organization’s efforts to train the Interior and Justice Ministries and the Public Prosecutor on human rights issues through lectures and workshops. Acknowledging that torture is a “problem, but not a daily occurrence,” Haggag said the UNDP trains police officers on international human rights conventions, and is trying to convince police officers to solve cases using “legal and ethical means,” instead of torture. Haggag told us he “doubts there is still torture against political prisoners.” Staffers from the quasi-governmental National Council for Human Rights described the council’s workshops for police officers where professors give lectures on human rights law and prisoner psychology. NGO contacts have privately criticized the UNDP project as ineffective, complaining that it has banned credible human lawyers from giving lectures to the police because of their political opposition to the NDP, and instead invites MOI officials complicit in torture to give human rights presentations.
¶10. (C) In late December 2008, the MOI announced it had suspended 280 police officers for human rights violations and fired 1,164 lower-ranking policemen for misconduct. Our NGO contacts doubted that the disciplinary actions were human rights related, and speculated that the officers were probably involved in taking bribes and other illegal activity. XXXXXXXXXXXX asserted that this announcement does not amount to a serious MOI human rights policy. XXXXXXXXXXXXX expressed skepticism over whether these disciplinary actions will result in long-term positive changes XXXXXXXXXXXX
¶11. (C) Former senior Interior Ministry official Ihab Youssef, Director of the NGO “The Police and the People for Egypt” told us in late 2008 that his NGO did not receive many proposals from the public in response to its solicitation for ideas on developing projects to build trust between the police and citizens. Youssef said that the NGO’s Facebook site, which provides a forum for the public to complain about the police, has generated more interest. In September 2008, Youssef publicly announced the formation of his NGO, which counts establishment figures such as former FM Ahmed Maher among its board members (ref C). Youssef does not receive GOE funding for the NGO, and has turned to private Egyptian businesses to raise money. XXXXXXXXXXXX
¶12. (C) The GOE has not begun serious work on trying to transform the police and security services from instruments of power that serve and protect the regime into institutions operating in the public interest, despite official slogans to the contrary. It seems that the government would have the strongest interest in preventing future accidental shootings of innocents, such as the Salamut and Aswan incidents that resulted in riots. We imagine that halting the torture of common criminals, who are usually poor and voiceless, is lower on the GOE’s agenda. We want to continue USG-funded police training, and we will look for ways to help XXXXXXXXXXXX’s NGO launch productive work.
|HRW MEETS EGYPT'S STATE SECURITY DIRC. |
| W.L. 27-10-2007 - 05.02.2011 05:48 |
07CAIRO3449 2007-12-10 14:02 2011-02-03
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Cairo
DE RUEHEG #3449 3441445
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FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7692
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS CAIRO 003449
NSC STAFF FOR PASCUAL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KIRF EG
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH MEETS WITH EGYPT'S STATE
Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.
1.(SBU) Summary: On November 24, Human Rights Watch's (HRW) Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Joe Stork, met with General Hassan Abdel Rahman, Director General of Egypt's State Security Investigative Service (SSIS), facilitated by the Ambassador. After the meeting, Stork told us that while he did not think he made substantive progress, he was pleased that lines of communication had been opened between SSIS and HRW and looked forward to future contacts. Separately, on November 28, we met with Colonel Hisham Abdel Hamid, SSIS' Human Rights liaison, who also attended the meeting with Stork. Abdel Hamid expressed similar views on the meeting; he added that he had fully answered all of HRW's questions. End summary.
2.(SBU) Stork visited Cairo in late November to unveil HRW's recent report on GoE "interference with religious freedom." In a meeting with the Ambassador, Stork lamented his inability to discuss the report, and human rights issues generally, with officials from SSIS, the agency responsible for monitoring opposition politicians, journalists and activists. Instead, Stork said he was limited to speaking with officials from Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who have limited substantive knowledge on human rights issues. The Ambassador offered to assist Stork in arranging a meeting with the SSIS Director General.
3.(SBU) Stork told us that Abdel Rahman opened the ninety minute meeting by asking that the discussion be "informal" and "off the record." Substantively, Stork characterized Abdel Rahman's position as "we (SSIS) don't do bad things." Abdel Rahman said that he commands over 40,000 police officers and told Stork he could count on one hand the number who had committed abuses.
Abdel Rahman objected to Stork's use of the word torture, saying it implied something "systemic" and said Egypt's security services were "badly maligned." Stork asked about the monitoring and harassment of NGOs, which Abdel Rahman said was necessary because such organizations are run by "anarchists" and people with prior arrests who need "monitoring."
4.(SBU) Stork said he made no substantive progress. Nonetheless, he found it significant that HRW now has a line of communication with SSIS. Abdel Rahman named one of his deputies, Colonel Hisham Abdel Hamid, SSIS' human rights liaison, as HRW's point of contact, and HRW intends to meet with Abdel Hamid on subsequent visits.
5.(SBU) On November 28, we met with Abdel Hamid, who gave a similar, but more positive, account of the meeting. He said Abdel Rahman described to Stork SSIS' role in protecting human rights, including participating in the Ministry of Interior's Human Right's Committee, conducting human rights training programs for police officers (including in conjunction with the UNDP), identifying and rewarding "best human rights practices," monitoring officers interactions with citizens, and disciplining officers who commit human rights violations. On Stork's questions about torture, Abdel Rahman said torture was not an SSIS policy, but the organization was besmirched by "media exaggerations". Abdel Hamid said that although it was a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) responsibility, he would meet with HRW in the future. (Note: Abdel Hamid also noted that the MFA is responsible for and should be the primary liaison with diplomatic missions on human rights issues, but said the U.S. Embassy was the exception and he would welcome more contact with us. End note.)
6.(SBU) Comment: Abdel Hamid said that he had met about a year ago with Amnesty International, but in general, he and SSIS had limited dealings with human rights organizations, and dealt with them through the MFA. We share Stork's view that although there were no substantive developments as a result of the contact, it is a significant development that SSIS appears willing to engage directly with an international human rights organization.
|Tuesday international Egypt solidarity day |
| Mubarak out - 05.02.2011 14:39 |
This Saturday, 4pm Dam Amsterdam Egypt solidarity demo.
Trade unions around the world will join a Day of Action for Democracy in Egypt on Tuesday 8 February, following a decision by the ITUC General Council meeting in Brussels today. Unions will organise demonstrations at Egyptian embassies, and continue to press their governments to demand democratic transition in Egypt and to ensure that those responsible for the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations are brought to justice.
About this, and more international solidarity with Egypt news:
| aanvullingen |