The democratic path in Egypt during the third quarter of 2018

  The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

 “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative

 The democratic path in Egypt during the third quarter of 2018

 Before we begin,

The democratic path is a report that the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) is launching every three months – quarterly – in 2018. ANHRI used to publish it monthly in previous years through the “Lawyers for Democracy” initiative launched by ANHRI 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 and 2017 which can be accessed through the “Reports” section on ANHRI’s website by clicking on the following link:

http://goo.gl/mSo6hc

 

Introduction:

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed an increase in death sentences handed down to defendants of political cases. Egyptian civil courts issued 7 death sentences against 119 citizens, 20 of whom received final verdicts (cannot be appealed) pending ratification by the President of the Republic in order to be implemented.

Terrorist operations continue to decline during July, August and September, comparing to the period monitored by the Democratic Path since the launching of Lawyers for Democracy initiative in 2014. Eight terrorist operations have been observed, two of which was thwarted, and they were all carried out in the provinces of North Sinai, Cairo and Dakahlia.

The third quarter of the year also witnessed 106 protests organized by various political powers. As is the case for the first and second quarters, social and labor protests were at the forefront with 75 different events staged, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) that organized 28 protest events.

As for the assault on freedom of expression and media freedoms during the third quarter, it witnessed a slight increase comparing to the first one of the year; with 23 violations recorded, most of which were linked to investigations by the Prosecution and ongoing trials. However, a new kind of attack has emerged during the reporting period following a ruling issued by the Temporary Judge to confiscate a number of websites and newspapers, including Al- Mesryoon and Al-Borsa newspapers,      and put them under the management of the governmental Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper.

The military judiciary, furthermore, presided over 6 trials for 864 civilians during the third quarter of 2018. The Egyptian judiciary also handed down 26 rulings of conviction and 5 of acquittal.

The details of the state of the democratic path during the third quarter of 2018 are outlined, in numbers and percentages, as follows:

First: Protest events

During the third quarter of the year, the various forces organized 106 different events, and their distribution was as follows:

  • Social and labor protests: 75.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the Coalition to Support Legitimacy (NASL): 28.
  • Student protests: 3.

While the reporting period didn’t witness any pro-regime or civil forces-related protest events.

The following table shows the distribution of protest activities in percentages according to the forces organizing them

The month of September witnessed 40 protests, comparing to May when 38 protests were organized, making it the month that witnessed the biggest number of protests during the second quarter of the year. The details are in the following lines:

 

Total July August September
106 30 36 40

 

Out of these different events, 21 were attacked by security forces, 76 went on without attacks, and 9 cases were negotiated.

The following table shows the percentage of attacks on all protest activities:

Labor and social protests:

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed the organization of 75 different social and labor protests; 14 of which were attacked by the security forces, whereas 52 passed without interference, and 9 were resolved after negotiations with their organizers.

The most important demands brought by the social and labor protests:

  • A number of workers protested against the non-payment of allowances approved by the President of the Republic.
  • Protesting the non-payment of financial dues and annual earnings.
  • The Academy of Arts’ employees protested what they described as financial corruption and demanded the dismissal of the Employees Fund’s General Assembly.
  • A number of drivers in Egypt’s different provinces protested the ride tariff and demanded to lift it.
  • Fishermen in Abu Qir protested the decision to ban sea fishing.
  • A number of fish farms tenants in Damietta’s Lake Manzala protested the decision to abolish fish farms
  • A number of workers demanded installation in their jobs

The following figure illustrates the percentage of attacks on Labor and Social protests:

 

Activities of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL):

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed the organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Alliance to Support Legitimacy of 28 different protests, including 7 that were attacked by the security forces, while 21 passed without security intervention, and none of them was subject to negotiation.

The most important demands raised by Muslim Brotherhood and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy:

  • Demanding the departure of Al-Sisi and putting an end to the military rule.
  • Demanding the release of detainees affiliated to MB and NASL
  • Demanding retribution for the victims of Raba’a al-Adawiya sit-in dispersal
  • Protesting against the death sentences issued in cases currently considered by Egypt courts
  • Protesting against poor economic conditions

The following figure illustrates the percentage of attacks on the activities of the MB & NASL

Student activities:

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed 3 protests organized by students. Security forces have not attacked any of them.

Student protests’ main demands:

  • Students of Dweidar Primary School in Beheira governorate demanded re-building the school after it was demolished six years ago
  • A number of high school students in Sohag governorate protested against the Minister of Education’s decision to cancel their exams
  • Senior students at Zagazig University’s Faculty of Commerce protested the fact that 1200 students failed their exams.

 

Second: Trials:

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed about 92 trial cases that have been considered before the Egyptian Judiciary. Of these there were 26 rulings of conviction, 5 acquittals, and death sentences against 119 defendants.

  • Ongoing trials:

The distribution of the 92 ongoing trials is as follows:

  • 66 trials for the MB & NASL.
  • 22 trials of the civil and democratic powers.
  • 5 trials for Mubarak’s regime’s affiliates.
  • 3 trials for members of the post June 30th
  • The military judiciary considered 6 trials for civilians.

The following figure illustrates the percentages of the ongoing trials:

The most prominent trials of the MB and NASL are:

The cases known in the media as: (Rabaa sit-in dispersal, Al-Zeitoun 1st cell, Al-Istiqama mosque incidents, Al-Edwa incidents, Al-Nahda sit-in dispersal, harming the national economy, Kerdasa center storming, specific committees, Tanta terrorist cell, Al-Maadi violence incidents, Media Production City violence incidents, storming prisons, Guidance office incidents, setting fire to Kafr Hakim Church, spying with Hamas, and “No Abdo Please”)

The most prominent trials of Mubarak regime figures are:

The cases known in the media as: (The Ministry of Interior’s corruption, Zuhair Garana’s trial in companies’ licenses case, Safwat al-Sharif and his son’s illicit gains, Stock market manipulation, and Ahdi Fadli’s trial over illicit gains).

The most prominent trials of civil rights defenders are:

The cases known in the media as (The Tambourines Detainees, Downtown oppressed, cabinet incidents case, Amal Fathy’s trial and ‘Solidarity with Tambourines Detainees’ case ).

The most prominent trials of members of the regime after June 30th are:

The cases known in the media as; (Torturing “Afrotto” to death)

Military trials of civilians:

In the third quarter of 2018, the military judiciary handled 6 trials for 864 civilians.

 

  • Sentences:

In the third quarter of 2018, there were 26 convictions and 5 acquittals. The details are as follows:

 

Convictions:

During the third quarter, the Egyptian judiciary issued 26 convictions, distributed as follows:

 

  • 21 rulings against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy.
  • 1 ruling in the cases of civil democratic forces
  • 2 rulings in the trials of Mubarak regime’s figures
  • 2 rulings in military trials for civilians

While no ruling was issued against post-June 30 regime’s affiliates

 

The following illustration shows the distribution of the convictions in percentages:

Acquittals:

During the third quarter, 5 acquittals were issued, distributed as follows::

  • Two rulings of acquittal for the MB and NASL affiliates
  • Two in military trials for civilians
  • One acquittal for post-June 30 affiliates

The following illustration shows the distribution of acquittals in percentages:

Death sentences:

Seven death sentences were issued against 119 defendants during the third quarter of 2018; as follows:

 

Number of issued sentences Death Sentences pending  the religious opinion of the Mufti Death sentences confirmed after referral to the Mufti Total convictions with death penalties
 

Civil

7 15 104 119
Military 0 0 0 0
Total 7 15 104 119

 

Third Violence and Terrorism:

The third quarter of 2018 witnessed a total of 8 terrorist operations all of them were in North Sinai, Cairo and Dakahlia governorates, along with 15 counter-terrorism operations, detailed as follows:

  • Terrorist operations:

Eight terrorist attacks took place in the third quarter of the year, which confirms the noticeable decline in terrorist operations file since the launch of the Democratic Path report in 2014.  Bombs of six of these operations have exploded, while the security forces succeeded in diffusing two bombs. The operations resulted in 5 wounded and 3 killed.

The following table shows percentages in details:

The following table shows figures and distribution of injured and killed:

Civilians Security forces  

Terrorists

Total
Number of killed 0 2 1 3
Number of wounded 4 1 0 5
 

Total

4 3 1 8

 

  • Counter-Terrorism Operations:

During the third quarter of the year, there were 15 preemptive attacks by the security forces which targeted what the security forces described as terrorism hubs, resulting in the killing of 153, and the arrest of 144 others

Fourth: Violation Against Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom :

The third quarter of the year witnessed 23 violations against freedom of expression and media freedom.

Details are as follows:

Ongoing trials & interrogations 20
Ban from appearing 1
Gag order 1
Storming headquarters and confiscation 1
Total 23

 

The following table details the media violations in percentages:

Fifth: Attack on Human Rights Defenders:

–  On 11 July, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention renewal of human rights lawyer and activist Haytham Mohamaden for 15 days pending investigations in case No. 718 of 2018 State Security, AKA “Metro case”. Mohamaden is facing charges of cooperation with a terrorist group to carry out its objectives, protest, and incitement to protest. His detention has still being renewed until now.

– On 11 July, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention renewal of blogger and online activist Mohamed Oxygen, along with student Mohamed Khaled Mohamed Yassin and activist Sherif al-Roubi, for 15 days pending investigations in the case No. 621 of 2018 State Security. The three are facing charges of participating with a terrorist group in achieving its objectives, spreading false news, and promoting the group’s ideas online. His detention has still being renewed until now.

– On 9 July, State Security Prosecution ordered the release of Karim Hussein- one of the protesters against the increase in subway prices- under guarantee of his place of residence into the case No. 718 of 2018 State Security. It also ordered the continuation of precautionary measures regarding activist Asmaa Abdel-Hamid into the same case, and renewed the imprisonment of both Abeer Al-Safti and Fawzi Saeid Saleh for 15 days pending the investigations conducted in the same case.

– On 4 July, the Supreme State Security Prosecution renewed the detention of journalist and blogger Wael Abbas for 15 days pending investigations conducted with him in the case No. 441 of 2018 State Security. Abbas is accused of participating with a terrorist group in achieving its objectives, spreading false news, and using the social media to promote the group’s ideas and views.

– On 2 July, State Security Prosecution decided to renew the detention of activist Amal Fathy and Shady Abou Zeid, correspondent of “Abla Fahita” TV show, for 15 days pending investigations in case No. 621 of 2018 State Security.

– On 26 July, the Criminal Court upheld the appeal lodged by the State Security against the decision, issued a day earlier by another circuit, to release the two activists Gamal Abdel-Fatttah and Hassan Hussein. The court, accordingly, annulled the release order issued for them and ruled to extend their incarceration for 45 days pending investigations in case No. 482 of 2018 State Security.

– On 30 August, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention renewal of satirical blogger Islam Zakaria al-Rifaai, AKA “Khorm”, for 15 days pending investigations conducted with him in case No. 441 of 2018 State Security , in which he faces charges of joining a banned group and spreading false news. The security investigations, first, accused him of communicating- through some elements he has connection to- with international organizations, most notably Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to issue statements to pressure the Prosecution into releasing him. Islam was preparing for his release after he paid the bail of EGP 2000 following the release order issued by the criminal court into case 977, but he was surprised to find himself involved in a new case over in a way to deprive him of his freedom.

– On 30 August, the Court of Administrative Justice at the State Council adjourned considering lawsuit No. 2174 for the judicial year 72, filed by one of the “Hesba” lawyers, demanding the annulment, suspension of activities and revocation of licenses and closure of human rights organizations’ offices in the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the September 20 hearing.

– On 23 August 2018, the security forces arrested a number of prominent politicians and human rights activists from their homes and separate places. A communiqué was then lodged against them on charges of joining a terrorist group, inciting protests, and promoting the terrorist group’s goal through publishing. In the morning of 24 August 2018, ambassador Masoum Marzouk, economist Dr. Raed Salama, university professor Yehia al-Qazzaz, and activists Nermeen Hussein, Sameh Seoudi, Amr Mohamed and Abdel Fattah al-Banna appeared before the Supreme State Security Prosecution over the case known in media as “Eid detainees” which carries number 1305/2018 State Security. The Prosecution then ordered the aforementioned to be held on remand pending investigations.

– On 28 August, the Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered the detention renewal of photojournalist Zeinab Abu Awna for 15 days pending the investigations conducted with her into case No. 441 of 2018, in which she is accused of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news. Zeinab was arrested from Cairo airport while she was ready to board a flight to Beirut .

– On 20 September, the investigative judge mandated by the Ministry of Justice to preside over the case No. 173 of 2011, known in the media as the “closure of civil society”, decided to postpone the investigations with lawyer Amr Imam until a new date to be set later.

– On 19 September, Dokki Appellate Misdemeanors Court sentenced prominent human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali to three months in prison, with the suspension of the sentence for three years, on a charge of public indecency. The case was lodged against the salient lawyer by one of Hesba lawyers after Ali celebrated a ruling annulling the Egypt-Saudi border demarcation agreement- also known as the concession of Tiran and Sanafir Islands to Saudi Arabia- in front of the State Council courthouse.

The democratic path in Egypt during the third quarter of 2018 pdf

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Note: This report is based on the cases monitored by ANHRI and does not necessarily include all events in the month.

For the previous Democratic Path Report

For the Democratic Path Report 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”