AESA Calls on President Morsi to Protect Egyptians' right to Freedom of Speech, the Sanctity of the Rule of Law and Women Rights
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The demands of the youth who triggered the Egyptian revolution were fair, simple, and straightforward: prosperity, freedom, social justice, and human dignity.
American Egyptians and advocates of the strategic alliance between the two peoples, watch with full attention and a wary eye the escalating assault on freedom of speech by a government and a presidency that committed themselves to fulfilling the demands of the Egyptian youth and their revolution. We do recall the Egyptian president's promise during the presidential race that "No TV network will be shut down and no pen will be broken during my presidency." Accordingly, we were hopeful and supportive.
The recent arrest warrants issued by the Egyptian government against several political activists and revolution figures and the arrest of Dr. Bassem Youssef, aka "Jon Stewart of Egypt", stand as a direct breach to the promise Dr. Morsi has made to the country.
There is also the matter of targeting members of the April 6th organization, and of the Constitution Party (founded by Dr. ElBaradei) with questionable arrests during peaceful demonstrations. We can't help but call out the uneven hand of the system in using infamous laws such as those regarding blasphemy and "insulting the person of the president" to deal blows to the voice of opposition, while at the same time flagrantly stall executing the court order with regard to de-installing Egypt's General Prosecutor on basis of the illegality of his appointment.
We are deeply concerned.
We hold (1) the issuance of such warrants, (2) the arrest of Dr. Youssef, (3) the passive reaction of the Egyptian government toward the siege of Egypt's Media City by supporters of the government, which resulted in property destruction and the inability of media professionals to carry on their work, as well as (4) the targeting of admins of Facebook opposition pages as strong evidence to the emergence of a policy of intimidation and of escalating assault on freedom of speech in Egypt. Some of these admins were targeted and murdered.
We further call out the systematic dislodging of the rule of law that started with the siege of Egypt's top court, The Constitutional High Court and, now, the stalling of executing the court order with respect to Egypt's Prosecutor General.
Our families, friends, and neighbors in Egypt voice their frustration at the hardships of everyday life, none of which is media voice or the press. Our families, friends, and neighbors share with us the difficulties they encounter making a living, getting fuel, dealing with power outages, severe lack of security, and the rising trend of sexual harassment and discrimination as a means of terror against women in demonstrations. Nowhere did they complain of Dr. Youssef's coverage of the political and social scene, or any other media voice for that matter. If anything, we are made aware of the hateful sectarian speech that is broadcasted on some religious networks.
We urge the Egyptian government to focus its attention and resources on the problems that truly matter to all Egyptians. We urge it to empower unconditional and uncensored speech; that it stands responsible for bringing to justice the murderers of Gaber Salah (known as 'Gika') and Mohammad ElGindy (known as 'Mohammad Christy'), both of whom were admins of Facebook pages opposing the Muslim Brotherhood; and many others whose numbers by far exceed the infamous record of the previous regime. We urge it to bring to justice the murderers of the peaceful demonstrators during the presidential palace demonstrations, "Etehadeyah". We urge it to empower the rule of law in word and deed.
We urge the Egyptian government to take to heart the universal truth that freedom of speech is a pillar of democracy and is at the core of human rights protections; a non-negotiable value that's a premise for continued support.
As a 501(c)(4) organization, AESA strives to assist decision makers in defining and shaping U.S. policies towards Egypt, and in furthering the creation and protection of a civil society which is based on the universal values of human dignity, democratic process, freedom of speech and individual rights.
Randa Fahmy Hudome, General Counsel
American Egyptian Strategic Alliance (AESA)
1100 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 1250
Washington, D.C. 20036
SOURCE American Egyptian Strategic Alliance