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​’Egyptian authorities are afraid even of Morsi’s silence in the courtroom’

0703morsi ​Egyptian authorities are afraid even of Morsi’s silence in the courtroom

After the coup over 50 journalists were arrested and 11 were killed in Egypt. Salah Abdel-Maksoud, Morsi’s former Information Minister who is currently in exile, told RT about the consequences of Morsi’s defeat. During Mubarak’s reign, Salah Abdel-Maksoud, a journalist and Cairo University graduate, was arrested four times. He protested against President Morsi’s overthrow in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square. He had been hiding for several months and later he managed to leave Egypt. RT: You are one of 529 prisoners sentenced to death in a court session which lasted about 30 minutes. Right? Salah Abdel-Maksoud: No, I’m in a different group together with President Morsi. The court hearings for several cases are not over yet. When they are over I may be arrested. The coup leaders fabricated several cases against President Morsi and members of his government. I’m one of them. If these cases are sent to court, this may result in death sentences. This is a threat not just for me, but for all the Egyptians who are pursuing justice and independence and demanding clean elections. This is a threat for the people attacked by the military who usurped power. I participated in the protests in Rabaa Square. There are tens of thousands of people facing the threat of arrest just like me. RT: Estimates of victims among the Brotherhood supporters vary greatly. Do you know how many were killed and arrested? SAM: On the day of the coup around 6,000 people were killed, 25,000 people were arrested and 30,000 were injured. Since then almost every day somebody gets killed or arrested. RT: Recently, Morsi’s daughter doubted that the man participating in the court hearings is her father, not his double, because both his appearance and his conduct were different from those of her father’s. Do you share her worries? SAM: Well, if this is what she really said and if they haven’t twisted her words… This would mean that they are keeping Morsi in a place where nobody can visit him and that he is under constant pressure. Since July 3, the day when the coup took place, his family members were allowed to visit him just once. During court hearings he is kept behind bars and glass walls. You can’t see him clearly. But that man is the president. He is forced to participate in a performance called “the trial,” which contradicts both the constitution and the law. The coup leaders are afraid of letting him speak. They allowed his lawyer to see him just once. He is kept in complete isolation. When they do show him, they only do it briefly, so you can hardly see his face. They are even afraid of his silence. RT: What do you know about Mohammed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood who is in his seventies and who’s also been arrested? SAM: Dr. Badie has been charged with 28 cases, all of them fabricated. For instance, they charged him with promoting violence, despite the fact that all of his speeches had been recorded. He said that this revolution is a peaceful one but it is stronger than their tanks. Dr. Badie was calling the young people to proceed with the peaceful revolution. RT: Is it true that the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is headed by a Copt now? SAM: That’s correct. Dr. Rafiq Habib, a Coptic Christian, is now the chairman of the party. When El-Katatni was arrested his chair was taken by his deputy. Dr. Habib is a professor, a very intellectual person and a famous thinker. There are quite a number of Christians in the Freedom and Justice Party. The Brotherhood had included a lot of Christians since its foundation in the 1920s. Back in the 1940s, Hassan al-Banna, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, had formed the movement’s political branch, which included three Coptic Christians. RT: The authorities who had toppled the president are cautious about arresting the Brotherhood’s Christians? SAM: They are. On the other hand, the coup came as a result of an agreement between the Coptic chief, the head of Al-Azhar (the oldest and the most influential Muslim university in Cairo – RT), and a Salafi of the al-Nour party. All these people were playing in a spectacle called the President Morsi Overthrow. This doesn’t mean that the church members, or Al-Azhar students, and Salafis don’t support the Brotherhood. I am only speaking about the leaders of these three forces. A lot of people support us in Al-Azhar. I could say that a lot of the church people are against the coup. The pro-Morsi coalition includes five Salafi parties. RT: After the coup, the Coptic cathedrals were burned down, the number varied between 8 and 80. They blamed it on the Muslim Brotherhood, which, as you just said, was closely tied with the Copts. How would you explain this? SAM: There were just a few instances, and there are still a lot of questions about them. Most of cathedrals were burned in Minya. The church leaders witnessed that the Muslim Brotherhood members were actually protecting these cathedrals from attacks. Heads of communities are convinced that there must be some mysterious formations behind the attacks, as the policemen were not trying to stop them. Those must’ve been some unofficial force groups. Otherwise I find it hard to explain why the law enforcement officials were not trying to stop them. There are still questions as to their objective. They were obviously trying to frame the Brotherhood for those arsons. RT: Is it true that there were no casualties in the fires? SAM: Yes, it is. It was a planned diversion. They wanted to destroy the cathedrals and take the valuables. The Muslim Brotherhood has never done anything like that. It’s gangs and criminal organizations who do that. The fact is that the Brotherhood and other Islamic groups defended the cathedrals while the police didn’t. RT: How likely is it that the Grand Mufti will confirm the death sentences for 683 people? SAM: I don’t think he will confirm them, because many people in Egypt and in the world are against it. These death sentences aren’t justified by the law or the Constitution. They didn’t even have the chance to defend themselves. If the Grand Mufti approves, it will be a catastrophe for Egypt. RT: Who supports Morsi and the Brotherhood now? SAM: Many nations do. I mean the people, the majority of whom are Muslim and many – Christian. The majority of the countries in the world didn’t recognize the post-coup government. The African Union suspended Egypt’s membership. The UN Human Rights Council has held two discussions on the subject. Amnesty International also started its own investigation. RT: Some experts are convinced that Obama supports the Brotherhood and Morsi and condemns el-Sisi’s coup. Do you feel that’s true? SAM: It’s just an act, just a façade showing that Obama is presumably concerned. Many leaders, including leaders of Arab countries, didn’t want Morsi to stay president. He wanted to free Egypt from American control, for the country to start manufacturing its own products, medicine and so on. He visited so many countries – India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, Russia and many more – to build up Egypt’s independence from the US. RT: Could you tell us about your own experience of joining the Brotherhood? SAM: None of my relatives were members of the Brotherhood, no one suffered because of the regime. In my university days, I got interested in the Brotherhood’s ideas, their program, their way of thinking and their active stance in the community. There are millions of people like me. People like the Brotherhood because it promotes reform. They suggest everyone should get to work towards the country’s prosperity. The Brotherhood believes that there should be different points of view and different religions represented in a society, and it respects women. The media has been distorting the perception of the Brotherhood for many years. Let me give you a couple of examples. Morsi’s deputy was a woman, and so were some members of his council. There was a woman, a Christian and a Salafi among his advisors. RT: Were you a target of persecution under Mubarak? SAM: I was arrested four times under Mubarak’s rule – in 1981, 1984, 1991 and 1995. I was released every time because the journalists’ union worked hard to defend me. But others had to serve long sentences in jail. RT: Several journalists were arrested as part of the coup. What is happening to them? SAM: These people as well as their families are exposed to physical and psychological torture. They have to stay in tiny 2 x 2 meter cells. Relatives are not allowed to visit them. When they are allowed, they can only speak through barbed wire. In some prisons, people are denied linen or a change of uniform, or any medicine or medical treatment. Their ration is very small while the physical torture is very tough and humiliating. One of our famous journalists, Ibrahim Drawi, proved in court that he was tortured by an officer and gave his name. He had been battered really hard. Some of the journalists followed suit, like Mohammad Waquil, who also proved in court that he was tortured. More than 50 journalists are now under arrest, four of them are from Al Jazeera. Eleven journalists have been killed since the coup started. Two journalists were injured last week. Five journalists, including Ibrahim and Mohammad, are facing a death penalty. RT: What do you think about the upcoming election? SAM: The election will be act of bullying and will take place under the pressure from the army. This spectacle will come off as they have planned. I don’t think the turnout will be high but the Egyptian media and those of the world media that back the regime will portray the vote as democratic, admitting there weren’t enough contenders in the race. That’s how they will substantiate Sisi’s victory.

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​’Egyptian authorities are afraid even of Morsi’s silence in the courtroom’


‘Egyptian courts used to settle political scores’

48e2muslim brotherhood ‘Egyptian courts used to settle political scores’

RT: The trial against the Muslim Brotherhood head Mohammed Badie, has proved to be very difficult, with several judging panels refusing to carry on with the case. What do you expect of tomorrow’s session? Shahira Amin: I’m hoping that justice will prevail. We’ve seen justice is elusive in most of the trials since June 30. Just a few weeks ago we had the trial en masse, where more than 500 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were sentenced to death. Shocking. We really need to see justice prevail because it’s obvious that the courts are politicized and the Muslim Brotherhood figures are not getting a fair trial. RT: There are some serious charges brought against Badie and fellow Muslim Brotherhood members, including plots to seize power and kidnap the presidential candidate, General Sisi. Wouldn’t they be prosecuted in any other country for that? SA: It certainly appears that these charges are politically motivated, they are baseless and it’s just very obvious that there is this vendetta between the military-backed authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood and it’s playing out in courts. Courts are being used to settle the political scores, unfortunately. RT: How much attention is the trial receiving in the local media? SA: It is being covered but it’s not headlines here because every other day we have a trial. There are thousands of Muslim Brotherhood figures behind bars and so it is not getting the attention it deserves. RT: Egypt’s been in disarray ever since the country came to ‘democracy’ in February 2011. Could it be that the system just can’t work in your country? SA: Democracy has been elusive. The January 25 revolution was a revolution for democratic reforms, for anticorruption, bread, social justice, freedom, but democracy has just been an elusive dream ever since. We have certainly seen a rolling back of constitutional freedoms, mass arrests of political dissidents and you have one segment of the population marginalized and excluded from politics and public life. This certainly does not go well for stability. But if you talk about Western-style democracy, I am afraid that we have seen the West apply double standards when it comes to the Arab Spring. They supported Mubarak for 30 years and were hesitant to lend their support to the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square. They also supported the military coup that toppled Egypt’s first democratically elected president. So do not talk to me about Western democracy dictated by corporate interests. I think the democracy that we hope to see here in Egypt will be a home-grown democracy, with the activists continuing to push for reforms and constitutional rule in this country. RT: Under the current government the prosecution has not only been after Muslim Brotherhood members but also journalists including foreign reporters. Why are Western governments turning a blind eye to that? SA: There has been a lot of international denunciation of the case of the detained Al-Jazeera journalists, but certainly not enough pressure has been applied for their release. They have been labeled ‘terrorists’ or accused of aiding a terrorist organization when they were simply doing their work. The trials have been a farce. I have attended all of them. Tomorrow there will be another trial session. We are hoping to see justice prevail in this case and we hope to see the four Al-Jazeera journalists walk free.

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‘Egyptian courts used to settle political scores’


Three years after revolution there is little to celebrate in Egypt

1fd5egypt Three years after revolution there is little to celebrate in Egypt

RT: Three years after the revolution, what is there to celebrate? Mohammad Sabry: Well I said my opinion a couple of days ago in one of my articles, and I said Egypt has very little to celebrate on this day. In fact, we have a lot of dead people to mourn. We have a lot of explosions that rocked the city yesterday and this basically should cancel any form of celebration that was intended before that. Yesterday was an unprecedented day in the history of militancy in Egypt. Even through the 1990’s, no single city was hit by four bomb operations on one day, let alone the fact that the capital security department was targeted yesterday and was followed by three more bombings in different parts of the city. The day before, we had five officers killed in upper Egypt’s Beni Suef and this morning we woke up to the news of a military chopper targeted in North Sinai. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate; the country is more polarized than ever, we can see the signs of hostility and divisions. RT:Indeed, we see a lot of violence and unrest on the streets of Egypt and the situation is volatile there, as you just mentioned. There doesn’t seem to be much unity among people – but just how deep are those divisions that you started mentioning, between those who support the army and those who do not? MS: So far those divisions could be contained but what’s happening is we have a major ground for the pro-regime media inciting violence against anyone who is not endorsing the current regime. We have a whole population who is hearing this incitement every day. We have the Muslim Brotherhood who are definitely guilty of a lot of things – the things they’ve done or not have done during their year in power. But that does not give anyone the right to incite violence and civil strife. RT: The Muslim Brotherhood denies responsibility for the violence, so why does the public blame them for all these activities? MS: In fact the Muslim Brotherhood has never publicly and straightforwardly denied its responsibility for violence. In fact the Muslim Brotherhood has been caught on several cameras attacking opposition protesters. There have been several cases of detaining the opposition and shutting down media houses during their time [in power]. Of course it’s not as bad as the violence we’ve been seeing since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, but the Muslim Brotherhood’s approach is also not making them look very innocent. They keep talking about conspiracy theories. They keep blaming the government for staging those bombings in its departments, which is absolutely nonsense. But at the same time, the opposite side – which is the regime – and the regime loyalists and the pro-regime media or protesters are not peaceful themselves and are as hostile as the Muslim Brotherhood is. Legally we have to approach those explosions, those militant attacks, through evidence, through criminal investigations, which is the only thing we lack now. The Muslim Brotherhood is being blamed without evidence and without judicial movement into those cases. RT: We know that at least five blasts have happened in Cairo in the past week amid what is said to be tight security. What does this actually all mean? Does it mean that security is not tight enough? And what can be done to tighten it, to make sure this violence does not happen? MS: Apparently the current government is incompetent in dealing with the ongoing terrorism. We have seen warnings over the past six months and over the past three years in general and I don’t see any effective means of dealing with it. Of course, the military has done a great job in Sinai, but that’s a completely different story geographically, politically, and socially. But on the general level, if you have the security department of the capital bombed in broad daylight then that means a lot of things. It means that the government is somehow incapable of protecting itself in the way it should be protecting itself. And what should be stopped now and what the government should be working tirelessly to stop is inciting violence, moving the country forward towards a phase of civil strife. RT: How realistic is that? MS: The government is not doing any of it. I don’t see the government as facing those violators who gave themselves a right to attack other people. I don’t see the government giving us a clear text of what is happening. If you blame the Muslim Brotherhood for an attack, without any investigation, if the media frenzy is happening…we hear about unnamed security forces blaming the Muslim Brotherhood every other day. But so far we have not seen any legal documents giving evidence to who was behind these terrorist attacks.

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Three years after revolution there is little to celebrate in Egypt


Egyptian army gives Mursi 48 hours to share power

adbemf Egyptian army gives Mursi 48 hours to share power

adbemf Egyptian army gives Mursi 48 hours to share power

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The crowds returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Monday evening, most delighted that the army appeared to be backing them.

The Generals have given the Egyptian government a 48 hour deadline to ‘listen to the will of the people’ or have the army impose its own ‘roadmap.’

Meanwhile, President Mursi has met with the head of Egypt’s armed forces, who is also the defence minister, to talk about the situation in the country.

Mursi is furious at the ultimatum and says he believes the army wouldn’t dare to attempt a coup.

Pressure is mounting on the government, with five ministers resigning in sympathy with the protests.

Earlier army helicopters flew above the crowds, trailing national flags, to much applause from the thousands gathered below.

Elsewhere, security forces arrested 15 armed bodyguards who worked for a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

They are accused of unlawful possession of firearms after activists were shot while attacking the Brotherhood’ s headquarters. Eight people were killed and more than a dozen injured.

The Muslim Brotherhood say police failed to protect the building.

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Egyptian army gives Mursi 48 hours to share power


Egypt army gives Mursi 48 hours to compromise in crisis

abf0mf Egypt army gives Mursi 48 hours to compromise in crisis

abf0mf Egypt army gives Mursi 48 hours to compromise in crisis

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Egypt’s powerful armed forces issued a virtual ultimatum to Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Monday, calling on the nation’s feuding politicians to agree on an inclusive roadmap for the country’s future within 48 hours.

A dramatic military statement broadcast on state television declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday to demand that Mursi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were ransacked.

“If the demands of the people are not realised within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces)… to announce a road map for the future,” said the statement by chief-of-staff General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

It was followed by patriotic music. The people had expressed their will with unprecedented clarity in the mass demonstrations and wasting more time would only increase the danger of division and violence, he said.

The army said it would oversee the implementation of the roadmap it sought “with the participation of all factions and national parties, including young people”, but it would not get directly involved in politics or government.

Anti-Mursi demonstrators outside the presidential palace cheered the army statement, and the main opposition National Salvation Front, which has demanded a national unity government for months, applauded the military’s move.

It was the second time in just over a week that the armed forces had issued a formal warning to the politicians, and it appeared to pile pressure on Mursi to concede power-sharing with the liberal, secular and left-wing opposition.

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Egypt army gives Mursi 48 hours to compromise in crisis


Muslim Brotherhood HQ torched and ransacked

4e65mf Muslim Brotherhood HQ torched and ransacked

4e65mf Muslim Brotherhood HQ torched and ransacked

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The headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, has been left abandoned after a night of deadly clashes between opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi.

Eight people were killed and dozens more were wounded.

After the staff fled, looters roamed through the six-storey building, making off with office equipment and other items from inside.

One anti-government protester explained how Muslim Brotherhood guards opened fire: “This isn’t an office, this is the Muslim Brotherhood Fortress. They were shooting live ammunition. Even when an ambulance tried to pass, they’d fire at it!”

The Brotherhood’s offices in Alexandria and in several other cities have also been attacked in recent days.

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Muslim Brotherhood HQ torched and ransacked


Alexandria: US citizen dies in Egypt clashes

69e2mf Alexandria: US citizen dies in Egypt clashes

69e2mf Alexandria: US citizen dies in Egypt clashes

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Mursi enhances military powers ahead of Egypt… 10/12/2012 15:45 CET

A US citizen has died in Alexandria as clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi turned violent on Friday, but little is known of his identity.

State TV reported the man was an American journalist. The US embassy have yet to confirm anything. Reports claim that he was filming images outside a local office of the Muslim Brotherhood. Security officials say the man died of a stab wound to the chest.

At least 70 others have been wounded as fighting erupted during anti-Morsi marches, held ahead of mass rallies planned for the weekend to mark the president’s one year anniversary in office. Many are disappointed with his rule, and are targeting the Muslim Brotherhood who backed his election.

Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, demanding the ‘fall of the regime’.

Religious leaders have called for calm as they fear the spectre of civil war.

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Alexandria: US citizen dies in Egypt clashes


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