The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
“Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative
Before we begin:
The Democratic Path is a report that is launched by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) every three months, i.e. quarterly, starting from 2018. In previous years, ANHRI used to publish the report on a monthly basis through the “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative it launched in 2014 to monitor the democratic process in Egypt.
In addition to the monthly reports issued to monitor the state of democracy, ANHRI issued annual reports to monitor the democratic path in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, which can be accessed through the “Reports” section on ANHRI’s website by clicking on the following link:
This is the third report issued by ANHRI during 2019. This quarter of the year has witnessed an incidence that occurred for the first time since the release of the Democratic Path report in 2014; which is the scattered protests organized by all political forces in Egypt in what is known in the media as “September 20 protests”. These protests broke out against the backdrop of the statements directed by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the National Youth Conference, when he said: “Yes, I have built presidential palaces, and I will build more. But those are not for me, they are for Egypt”; in response to the recently-raised economic issues pertaining to the construction projects carried out by the Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority, accusing the authorities of corruption and mismanagement of state funds. The president’s remarks have spooked all the political forces deeming it a kind of provocative statements that confirm the suspicions raised against the government.
Protest events didn’t stop during the third quarter of 2019; as 125 protests have been organized by different political forces throughout this period. Social and labor protests were at the forefront with 46 protests, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) with 45 protest activities.
Military trials of civilians also continued in the third quarter of the year; as among the 68 trials held during this period, there were 7 military trials for 1,220 citizens.
Violations of media freedoms have not ceased during this period as well; with 42 cases of violations recorded, most notably pertaining to the investigations conducted by the Prosecution which amounted to 16 investigations during the period covered by the report.
The details of the state of the democratic path during the third quarter of 2019 are outlined, in numbers and percentages, as follows:
First: Protest events
During the third quarter of the year, the various forces organized 125 different events, and their distribution was as follows:
- The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL): 45
- Social and labor protests: 46
- Student protests: 5
- Pro-regime protests: 4
- Protests organized by both civil forces and the MB group:25
The month of September came first in witnessing the largest number of protest events by 56 different protests, as shown in the following table:
Out of these different events, 39 were attacked by security forces, 75 passed without attacks, and 11 labor and social protests were resolved after negotiations.
Labor and Social protests:
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed 46 different social and labor protests; two of which were attacked by security forces, whereas 33 passed without interference, and 11 were resolved after negotiations with their organizers.
The most important demands brought by the social and labor protests:
- Protesting the late salary payments and the non receipt of annual bonuses
- Protesting price hikes and the deteriorating economic conditions
- Warraq Island residents protested the selling of their lands and the arrest of a number of the island’s Family Council members by security forces
- A number of workers demanding installation in their jobs
MB and NASL protest activities:
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) organizing 45 different protests, including 11 that were attacked by the security forces and 34 that were left without security intervention, while none of them was subject to negotiation.
The most important demands raised by Muslim Brotherhood and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy:
- Demanding the release of detainees and improvements to prison conditions
- Demanding to topple what they described as the military rule
- Protesting the price hikes
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed 5 protest activities organized by students and their families. Only one of these protests was attacked by the security forces, whereas the four others were left without any security interventions.
Student protests’ main demands:
- Senior students of Aswan University’s Faculty of Commerce protested their failure in the courses given by their Accounting professor
- Junior students of Helwan University’s Faculty of Commerce objected to the students’ collective failure in some courses
- A number of students and parents objected to the withholding of high school students’ exams results against the backdrop of the collective cheating incident took place at Kafr El-Sheikh governorate.
- A number of High school students objecting to the results of ‘Tansik’ or the university admissions system.
Pro- regime events:
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed 4 protests took place in Cairo and other governorates, all of which were to support the President’s decisions in what they described as ‘fighting enemies’, including the MB. None of such protests subjected to any security interference.
Protests organized by both civil forces and MB:
The third quarter of the year has seen a phenomenon that occurred for the first time since the release of the Democratic Path report in 2014; which is the rally organized by all political forces in what is publicly known as ‘September 20 protests’. Almost all political forces have staged a number of 25 protests, before the security bodies dispersed them all arresting thousands of citizens in relation to such protests.
The most important demands raised by political forces:
- Objecting to the policies of the President in the management of the state’s financial resources and failure to face the economic burden
The following figure illustrates the percentage of attacks on the political forces and MB’s protests:
|Protests not subject to attack||
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed 68 trial cases that are being considered before the Egyptian judiciary. Of these, there were 19 rulings of conviction, 10 acquittals and 6 death sentences against 26 defendants.
- Ongoing trials:
The distribution of the 68 ongoing trials is as follows:
- 45 trials for the MB & NASL.
- 9 trials of the civil and democratic powers.
- 6 trials for Mubarak’s regime’s affiliates.
- 3 trials for affiliates of the post June 30th regime
- The military judiciary considered 7 trials for 1,220 civilians
The most prominent trials of MB and NASL are:
The cases known in the media as: (Breaching the Eastern borders, Atfih violence incidents, Popular Resistance committee in Kerdasa, spying for Hamas, dispersal of al-Nahda Sit-in, bombing of High Pressure Towers, Warraq terrorist cell, Marmina Church incidents, Helwan Brigades, Rabaa Sit-in dispersal, October terrorist cell, Helwan Microbus Cell, Al-Nusra Front, Isis’s Sinai Province organization).
The most prominent trials of Mubarak regime figures are:
The cases known in the media as: (Trial of Mohamed Ahdy Fadly and others on illicit gain charge, Stock market manipulation, Al-Ahram gifts, The Interior Ministry corruption, trial of Ibrahim Soliman in the Green Belt case, damaging the Ministry of Finance funds).
The most prominent trials of civil and democratic powers are:
The cases known in the media as: (Al-Moqattam Police Station incidents, trial of Al-Warraq Island’s residents, gathering of Helwan lawyers, Cabinet incidents).
The most prominent trials of post- June 30th regime’s affiliates are:
The cases known in the media as: (Trial of Alexandria’s deputy governor Soaad Al-Kholy on charge of money laundering).
Military trials of civilians:
In the third quarter of 2019, the military judiciary considered 7 ongoing trials for 1220 civilians.
During the reporting period, there were 19 convictions and 10 acquittals. The details are as follows:
During the third quarter of the year, the Egyptian judiciary issued 23 convictions, distributed as follows:
- 14 rulings against the Muslim Brotherhood and the National Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy.
- 2 rulings against defendants in the civil democratic forces’ cases
- 2 rulings against defendants in the military trials for civilians
- 1 ruling against post-June 30 regime’s affiliates
- While no ruling was issued against any of Mubarak regime’s figures
During the third quarter of the year, 10 acquittals had been handed down, distributed as follows:
- Nine rulings of acquittal for the MB and NASL affiliates
- One acquittal for the Democratic and Civil Powers
Six death sentences were issued against 26 defendants during the third quarter of 2019, as shown in the following table:
|Total||Death sentences issued by military courts||Death sentences issued by civil courts|
|Total (Number of defendants)||Number of defendants upheld by the Court of Cassation to be executed||Number of defendants upheld by the Mufti to be executed||Number of defendants referred to the Mufti|
Third: Violence and Terrorism:
The third quarter of 2019 witnessed a total of 9 terrorist operations in Egypt’s different governorates, along with 12 counter-terrorism operations, detailed as follows:
- Terrorist operations:
Nine terrorist attacks took place in the third quarter of the year; four of them had been carried out, while the security forces succeeded in thwarting the five others. The operations resulted in the killing of 4 and the injury of 6 citizens.
The following table shows the details of such terrorist operations during the 3rd quarter of 2019:
|Total||Operations thwarted||Operations carried out||Months|
The following table shows the number of terrorist operations and their distribution in the different governorates:
|Total||Operations thwarted||Operations carried out||Governorate|
– These operations had resulted in 30 killed and 47 wounded
The following table shows the number of killed and wounded and their distribution:
|30||3||5||22||Number of killed|
|47||–||–||47||Number of wounded|
- Counter-Terrorism Operations:
During the third quarter of the year, there were 12 preemptive attacks by the security forces which targeted what they described as terrorism hubs, resulting in the killing of 185, the wounding of 5 and the arrest of 16 others.
The following table shows the number of dead and injured
|185||183||2||Number of killed|
|4||4||0||Number of wounded
Fourth: Violations against Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom:
The third quarter of the year witnessed 42 various violations against freedom of expression and media freedoms.
The following table shows the number of violations throughout the three months of the reporting period:
|Number of violations||Months|
Details are as follows:
|Number of violations||Kind of violation
|10||Ban from media coverage
|16||Ongoing trials & interrogations|
|7||Arrest and/or detention|
|3||Administrative penalties (fines)|
|1||Physical and verbal attacks|
|1||Suspension from work|
Fifth: Attack on Human Rights Defenders:
– On 1 July 2019, Cairo Criminal Court decided to adjourn the detention renewal session of pharmacist Gamal Abdel-Fattah and activist Khaled Mahmoud in case No. 1739 of 2018 State Security for the 20th of July. The two are charged with joining a terrorist group, broadcasting false news and statements, and using Internet personal accounts with the aim of committing a crime that is punishable by law and disturbing public order. On the July 20 hearing, the court ordered the release of the defendants on probation.
– On 4 July 2019, Cairo Criminal Court decided to adjourn the request submitted by the Public Prosecutor to seize the funds of human rights lawyer Zyad Elelaimy and journalists Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad, who are detained pending case No. 930 of 2019 State Security known in the media as “The Coalition for Hope”, for the first of August hearing. And during that hearing, the court accepted the asset seizure request.
– On 7 July 2019, the State Security Prosecution decided to adjourn considering the detention renewal of human rights lawyer Zyad Elelaimy and journalists Hossam Moanis and Hisham Fouad pending case No. 930 of 2019 State Security for the 8th of July session. In this case, the three are charged with colluding with a terrorist group to achieve its goals and spreading false news and statements. On the July 8 session, the court adjourned the case for July 9 session, during which the Prosecution renewed the defendants’ detention for 15 days pending the case, and their detention has continued to be renewed until the release of this report.
– On 9 July 2019, the Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to renew the detention of activist Mostafa Maher for 15 days pending case No. 741 of 2019 State Security, in which he is accused of colluding with a terrorist group to achieve its goals, after the Prosecution went to ‘Tora Liman’ Prison (Investigation) where the activist was being held in detention. Maher’s detention has continued to be extended until the release of this report.
– On 13 July 2019, Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the consideration of the precautionary measures issued against blogger Wael Abbas pending case No. 441 of 2018 State Security, in which he faces charges of participating with a terrorist group and publishing false news and statements, for the July 22 hearing. During this hearing, the court ordered the continuation of the precautionary measures for 45 days.
– On 17 July 2019, Alexandria Criminal Court turned down the appeal submitted by human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan challenging his 45-day detention order pending case No. 16576 of 2018 Montazah, aka “yellow vests” case, on charges of joining a terrorist group, spreading false news and statements, and inciting to protest. On 24 July 2019, Alexandria Criminal Court renewed the detention of human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan for 45 days pending the aforementioned case and charges. Ramadan’s detention has continued to be renewed till the release of this report.
– On 21 July 2019, Al-Mansoura Criminal Court renewed the detention of political activist Mohamed Adel, April 6 Movement former spokesman, for 30 days pending investigations into case No. 5606 of 2018 Aga Administrative, in which he faces charges of joining a group established contrary to the provisions of the law and spreading false news. Adel’s detention has continued to be renewed till the release of this report.
– On 24 July 2019, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of activist Shady al-Ghazali Harb with precautionary measures (appearing before the police station two days a week) pending case No. 621 of 2018 State Security, in which he faces charges of colluding with a terrorist group to achieve its goals and spreading false news and statements. The State Security Prosecution has consequently appealed the decision, and a hearing was set at July 25 to consider the appeal. During this hearing, the court reversed the release order and ruled that the defendant be detained for 25 days, and since then, his detention has continued to be renewed until the release of this report.
– On 1 August 2019, Cairo Criminal Court decided to adjourn the trial of lawyers Montaser al-Zayat and Mohamed Mounib over the case publicly known as “insulting the judiciary”, in which they face charges of insulting the judicial system, for the September 19 hearing, during which the court set the case for adjudication.
– On 5 August 2019, Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the detention renewal session of engineer Yehia Hussein Abdel Hady for the August 18 hearing, pending case No. 277 of 2019 State Security, in which he is charged with joining a terrorist group and misusing one of social media means. Then, on August 18, the court renewed the detention of the defendant for 45 days, and his remand continues to be renewed until this report is issued.
– On 14 September 2019, South Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the appeal filed by 11 human rights defenders challenging the travel bans issued against them by the investigating judge of the case publicly known as “The closure of civil society”. The appeal was adjourned for the 17 November 2019 hearing to include the decision.
Note: This report is based on the cases monitored by ANHRI and does not necessarily include all the incidents took place throughout the month.
To view the previous Democratic Path reports:
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2014, “Obscure and stalled”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2015, “One step back, two steps further back”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2016 “Closed until further notice”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2017, “Very Steep”
To view the Democratic Path Report in 2018, “Mounting Anger”