Mounting Anger…The Democratic Path in Egypt 2018

Introduction

Mounting anger, this is the defining characteristic that has been observed throughout the year 2018.

Since the military takeover in Egypt in July 2013 and despite the continuation of political protests, especially by former President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters, anger has mounted and labor and social protests have escalated in a way that surpasses the number of political protests.

Although not all forms of labor and social protests are included in this report- such as “committing suicide for economic reasons” or “threatening to strike, protest or make a plea”- which are involved in another detailed report on labor and social protests, the number still exceeds that of political protests.

A shift in the direction of repression into civil and secular currents (Leftists, nationalists, liberals, and non-politicized secular groups) is another attribute for the year 2018, a matter which indicates shrinkage in President Sisi’s popularity and the support for his political regime in Egypt.

2018 also witnessed further expansion of the circle of repression and the closure of the public sphere. Those who are concerned with public affairs have become a target for security surveillance; prosecution is not only limited to journalists, activists and human rights defenders, but also extends to former judges, such as Hesham Geneina, former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), who is facing a 5-year prison sentence over his remarks regarding former armed forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan’s possession of documents that could confirm the implication of senior military officials in acts of corruption.

Additionally, the usually targeted list of human rights defenders, critical journalists and those calling for democracy and the rule of law, continues to face harassment through trials, prolonged detention, travel bans and, of course, smear campaigns.

Military trials of civilians continue in 2018 together with; the formation of ‘special judicial circuits’ assigned to handle terrorism-related cases, the exceptional measures that haven’t ceased since the announcement of the state of emergency, and the passing of laws that would increase the use of security solutions and the targeting of opinion-makers.

Terrorism continues to strike innocent victims, in light of insistence on ignoring the social solution, including the fight against corruption, to halt the waste of justice that places innocent people behind bars, making them an easy prey to the clutches of extremism.

The number of death sentences is also on the rise, as a result of the trials that violate due process guarantees, and in the meantime trials for Mubarak’s regime affiliates, against whom the January Revolution broke out in the first place, are diminishing to such an extent that the remaining trials took place while defendants were released.

The regime’s attempts to close the public sphere and the attacks against media freedoms are still ongoing in 2018. Manifold laws that could lead to the killing of press freedom have been enacted including regulations pertaining to the establishment of the National Media Commission, the National Press Authority, the Law on Regulating the Press and Media and the Supreme Council for  Media Regulation (SCMR), and the Cybercrime law.

This is the fifth annual report released by Lawyers for Democracy Initiative to monitor the state of Egypt’s democratic path during 2018 in details, numbers, percentages and figures.

“Lawyers for Democracy” Initiative:

“Lawyers for Democracy” is an initiative launched by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in 2014. It consists of a group of lawyers in a number of Egypt’s different cities to monitor the events, cases, and incidents that took place in Egypt; such as protests, strikes and official and non-official practices, in addition to the trials and terrorist operations that affect the democratic path in Egypt. Lawyers of the initiative monitor and document these incidents and provide legal support if needed, and then they release reports to elucidate the state of the democratic process in Egypt based on such monitoring and documentation.

Chapter 1: Protest events

In 2018, the various political powersv organized 485 different protest events, in spite of the measures taken by the authorities to face such protests and their constant efforts to thwart them, either under the Protest Law issued under former President Adly Mansour’s rule or through any other security measures.

The details of the 485 protest events that took place during the year and their distribution according to different powers and months are as follows:

The following table shows the number of protest activities and the security attacks they were subjected to during 2018

Months

Protests that didn’t face security attacks

Protests that faced security attacks

Protests subject to negotiations

 

Total in 2018

 

January

44

6

4

54

February

44

3

5

52

March

33

4

1

38

April

30

4

0

34

May

28

8

2

38

June

20

13

3

36

July

21

4

5

30

August

26

8

2

36

September

29

9

2

40

October

30

9

6

45

November

44

10

3

57

December

21

2

2

25

Total in 2018

370

80

35

485

 

The Egyptian authorities were specifically targeting demonstrations organized in wide public streets and big squares; such as, the staircase of the Journalists Syndicate and in the vicinity of Tahrir Square, and none of them were spared the attack of the security forces.

Therefore, political powers, particularly the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), had to stage quick protests on side streets, which explains why a large number of their protest events didn’t face any attacks by the security services.

It’s worth mentioning that all the attempts by some democratic and civil powers to obtain a license from the security services to organize a protest had been unsuccessful. A salient example is the initiative that former ambassador Masoum Marzouk had called for, when he urged citizens to take to Tahrir square to hold a ‘popular conference’ on 31 August 2018, but the security forces arrested him on 23 August 2018.

A comparison between protests from 2014 to 2018

2018 is the year that witnessed the lowest number of demonstrations; after years of systematic targeting of protests, either through legislation (The Protest Law) or security practices, along with the arrest and detention of protesters. Only 485 protests were organized during the entire year.   

On the other hand, the year 2014, when President al-Sisi officially took the reins of power, is the year that witnessed the largest number of demonstrations; 1515 different protest events.

Then came 2016 with 1318 different protest events; as it saw a significant rise in the number of protests due to the decline in economic conditions, the price increases, and the signing of Tiran and Sanafir maritime border demarcation agreement.

In 2015, 766 different events were organized, ranking the second in terms of the least number of demonstrations, while in 2017, 779 different events were organized.

Pro and anti-regine protests

Not only did the anti- regine protests witness a remarkable decline, but also protest events supporting the authorities declined throughout the year, which witnessed only 7 protests compared to 2016 with 9 pro-regime demonstrations.

As usual, the Protest Law wasn’t implemented on the pro-government protest events, as none of them was banned or attacked as it is the case with the anti-government events.

While there were 478 events of opposition, the year only witnessed seven pro-regime events as shown in the following table:

Anti- regine events

Pro- regine events

478

7

 

Security attacks on protest events:

During 2018, 485 different protest events were organized, 80 of which were attacked by the security forces, while 370 went on without attacks, and 35 were resolved after negotiations.

The following table shows the number of protest events that faced security attacks:

Events negotiated

Events faced security attacks

Events didn’t face security attacks

Total number of events

35

80

370

485

 

Protest events according to the powers organizing them:

Social and labor protests were at the forefront with 277 protests staged, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) that organized 164 protest events.

The following table shows the number of protests according to the forces that organize those events:

Forces organizing protests

MB & NASL

Social and labor protests

Students protests

Civil and democratic powers

Pro-authority protests

Others

Number of protests

164

277

36

1

7

0

The most important demands by the different powers:

The civil democratic powers, the MB and NASL didn’t share any protest events throughout the year; however, the majority of protests staged by the different political powers have some clear demands in common, as follows:

– Demanding the release of political prisoners

– Protesting against the death penalty

– Protesting against poor economic and social conditions

– Protesting against military trials of civilians.

– Protesting against the imposition of the state of emergency.

First: (MB) & (NASL) protest events:

During 2018, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group and its ally, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), continued to organize protest events and what is dubbed as whirlwind protests in a way to make the security services unable to disperse them or arrest their participants.

Compared to previous years, the MB’s protests stepped back as it came in second place after the social and labor forces. The MB and NASL organized 164 different protest activities.

The following table shows, in months, the number of the MB and NASL’s protests

Months

Protests that didn’t face security attacks

Protests faced security attacks

Protests negotiated

Total

January

23

0

0

23

February

11

2

0

13

March

15

3

0

18

April

9

1

0

10

May

10

5

0

15

June

8

7

0

15

July

4

0

0 4

August

9

2

0

11

September

8

5

0

13

October

10

2

0

12

November

15

5

0

20

December

8

2

0

10

Total during 2018

130

34

0

164

The month of January witnessed the largest number of protest events that were organized to commemorate the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, followed by the month of November, which marks the anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud street incidents, then the number of demonstrations fell gradually.

The security services continued to target the protests staged by the MB and NASL groups, as they attacked 34 events throughout 2018.

 

The following table shows the attack on MB and NASL protests in numbers

Protests that didn’t face security attacks Protests faced security attacks Protests negotiated Total
130 34 0 164

 

The most important demands brought by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) during 2018:

– Toppling what they called the military coup, demanding the departure of al- Sisi and the return of legitimacy.

– Protesting against the deteriorating economic conditions in the country .

– Demanding the release of former president Mohamed Morsi, along with the NASL prisoners.

– Protesting against the imposition of the state of emergency.

– Demanding to hold accountable those responsible for the dispersal of Raba’a al-Adawiya Sit-in.

– Protesting the enforced disappearance of NASL members.

Second: Civil and democratic powers protest events:

In 2018, the civil and democratic powers staged only one protest in April, which was organized by the Tagammu Party below its main headquarters in Talaat Harb Street in solidarity with the Palestinian Great March of Return. The protest wasn’t subjected to any kind of attacks by the security forces, rather they allowed the protest to take place.

Third: Social and Labor protests

2018 witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of social and labor protests compared to previous years; as the number reached 277 protests most of which were aiming at improving the conditions of workers.

The following table shows the number of social and labor protests and their distribution in 2018

Months Protests that didn’t face security attacks Protests faced security attacks Protests negotiated Total
January 19 1 4 24
February 22 1 5 28
March 12 1 1 14
April 19 3 0 22
May 19 0 2 21
June 12 6 3 21
July 15 4 5 24
August 17 6 2 25
September 20 4 2 26
October 18 7 4 29
November 24 3 2 29
December 12 0 2 14
Total in 2018 209 36 32 277

 

Attacks on social protests

During 2018, the security forces intervened to forcibly disperse 36 protests organized by the labor and social powers and succeeded to resolve 32 events through negotiation, and left 209 events without interference.

The following table illustrates the number of attacks on labor and social protests:

Protests that didn’t face security attacks Protests that faced security attacks Protests resolved through negotiation Total number of protests
209 36 32 277

Social protests’ most important demands in 2018:

– Protesting against the dismissal of workers

– Protesting against low salaries and demanding better economic conditions

– Protesting delayed payment of financial dues

– Demanding the regularization of workers’ conditions

– Demanding an increase of the annual allowance

Fourth: Students’ protests

During 2018, students organized 36 protest events compared to 307 organized during 2014, marking a significant decline in the number of protests, which resulted from the severe repressive measures taken by the authorities and university administration to ban the exercise of public affairs’ activities on campus. These measures include using force to break up students’ gatherings, arresting them, issuing administrative decisions to outlaw political activities on campus, banning them from organizing student exhibitions, dismissal from the university, and depriving them of completing their studies.

The following table shows the number of student protests and their distribution during 2018

Months Protests that didn’t face security attacks Protests that faced security attacks Protests negotiated Total
January 2 0 0 2
February 10 0 0 10
March 6 0 0 6
April 1 0 0 1
May 0 0 0 0
June 2 0 0 2
July 1 0 0 1
August 2 0 0 2
September 1 0 0 1
October 2 0 2 4
November 2 2 1 5
December 1 0 0 1
Total in 2018 31 2 3 36

 

 

Attacks on student protests

Despite all repressive measures and the high price paid by students as a result of organizing protests and events on public affairs on campus, the number of their activities has decreased but didn’t come to an end. Two protests were attacked by security forces, 3 others were resolved after negotiation, and 31 protests were held and left without any intervention.

The following table shows the number of attacks on students’ protest events

Events that didn’t face attacks Events that faced attacks Events negotiated Total of events
31 2 3 36

The most important demands by student protests:

– Senior students at Helwan University’s Faculty of Commerce (English division) protesting the difficulty of exams’ questions.

– Thanawyia Amma (High School) students protesting “Tansik’ or the admission coordination system

– Showing solidarity with their colleagues who got arrested

– Demanding to change the job title of graduates of medical science colleges

Fifth: Pro-regime protests

In 2018, seven pro-regime protests were held and none of them was subjected to any sort of attack of security forces. Five of these events took place in January in conjunction with the January Revolution anniversary, but their goal was to celebrate the National Police Day and block the road in front of opponents to prevent them from commemorating the January Revolution.

Then, another protest was staged later in February to support the authorities in their anti-terrorism measures, in addition to another one held in November as part of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman’s visit to Egypt.

 Chapter Two

Ongoing Trials and Judicial Rulings

 First: Ongoing trials

2018 witnessed 136 deliberated trials that have been considered before the Egyptian judiciary against the different political powers, Mubarak’s regime figures, and post-June 30 regime’s figures.  Of those trials, 112 are being considered by civilian courts and 24 by the military judiciary.

1- Trials deliberated by the civilian judiciary:

2018 witnessed a continued rise in the number of trials against various political powers; due to the slow judicial process and the lack of rapid adjudication over trials on the one hand, and the introduction of new cases on the other hand. The civilian judiciary is considering 112 trials related to public affairs against different political powers.

The following table shows the number of ongoing trials against the different political powers

MB and NASL Civil democratic powers Mubarak regime Post-June 30 regime Other cases pertaining to public affairs Total in 2018
77 18 10 4 3 112

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group remained on top of all the powers facing trial, followed by the civil and democratic powers, and then came in third place Mubarak’s regime figures whose trials have been ongoing for many years, as part of the cases that had been lodged against Mubarak’s regime figures began in the wake of January 25, 2011 Revolution.

2- Military trials for civilians:

2018 saw the deliberation of military trials against civilians and citizens who were brought before the special (exceptional) military tribunals. 

During the year, 24 ongoing trials were being considered before the military judiciary, compared to 38 trials in 2017 and 32 trials in 2016.

In 2018, 1562 civilians appeared before the military judiciary; while in 2017, the number of civilians brought to military trials was 1869, compared to 3037 in 2016.

Second: Judicial Rulings

113 sentences were handed down in 2018 by the Egyptian judiciary into cases related to public affairs; of these, there were 81 rulings of conviction, 30 acquittals, and two suspended sentences issued by the criminal courts before ordering to halt the execution of the penalty.

  • Convictions:

During the year, 81 convictions were issued against the different political powers; 12 rulings were handed down by the military judiciary against civilians, and the MB and NASL groups were at the forefront of forces that received convictions.

The following table shows the distribution of convictions among the different political powers

MB and NASL Civil democratic powers Mubarak’s regime Post-June 30 Military trials for civilians Other cases Total in 2018
58 6 2 2 12 1 81

 

  • Acquittals

During 2018, 30 different rulings of acquittal or public affairs-related trials have been issued; of these, 9 acquittals were handed in military trials for civilians and 45 in trials before civil courts.

The following table shows the distribution of acquittals in numbers

MB and NASL Civil democratic powers Mubarak’s regime Post-June 30 Military trials for civilians Other cases Total in 2018
14 4 3 1 8 0 30
  • Sentences issued with the suspension of the penalty

In 2018, criminal courts issued two rulings of conviction and ruled to suspend the implementation of the penalty in favor of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Alliance for the Support of Legitimacy.

  • Death sentences

In 2018, 68 death sentences were handed down against 682 citizens, while in 2017, 358 citizens were handed 32 death sentences.

The following table shows the number of death sentences issued by both civil and military courts

Death sentences issued by civil courts Death sentences issued by military courts Total death sentences
61 7 68

 

The following table shows the number of defendants who were handed down death sentences in 2018

Total number of defendants Number of defendants whose death sentences confirmed by the Court of Cassation Number of death sentences confirmed to be executed by the Mufti Number of defendants referred to the Mufti
587 152 432 201 Civilian
95 0 59 36 Military
682 152 293 237 Total

 

Death sentences executed in 2018

– The Prisons Authority sector has executed the death sentences handed down against 43 citizens into 10 cases, as follows:

1- On 3 January 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by the Military Court against 4 defendants into the case known as “Kafr al-Sheikh Stadium incidents”.

2- On 10 January 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by the Military Court against 3 civilians convicted of rape of a woman in the city of New Damietta in 2011.

3- On 26 February 2018, the Prisons Authority carried out a death sentence that was issued by Tanta Criminal Court against 6 defendants in two criminal cases.

4- On 7 March 2018, the Prisons Authority carried out a death sentence that was issued by Minya Criminal Court against 6 defendants in two criminal cases.

5- On 23 March 2018, the Ministry of Interior executed two defendants convicted over Case 382/2018 Ismailia Military Criminal.

6- On 26 June 2018, the Ministry of the Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by Suez Criminal Court against one defendant convicted of killing Ganayen (Suez) Chief of Detectives.

7- On 12 July 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by Cairo Criminal Court against 6 defendants convicted over criminal cases.

8- On 30 August 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by Cairo Criminal Court against 5 defendants convicted of murder.

9- On 29 November 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by Assuit Criminal Court against 5 defendants convicted over criminal cases.

10- On 4 December 2018, the Ministry of Interior carried out a death sentence that was issued by Minya Criminal Court against 5 defendants including a woman.

Chapter Three

Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Operations

 First: Terrorist operations

Terrorist operations continued in 2018, and although their number had considerably declined compared to the previous three years, the exceptional measures and the announcement of the state of emergency didn’t stop organized terrorism from targeting state institutions and the Christian minority in Cairo and Egypt’s different governorates.

Lawyers for Democracy team have monitored 26 operations carried out in 2018, compared to 400 terrorist attacks in 2015 and 259 operations in 2016.

The following table details the terrorist operations that took place during 2018:

Total of terrorist operations Terrorist operations thwarted by the authorities Terrorist operations carried out
26 8 18

The following table shows the number of terrorist operations in 2018

Months Terrorist operations carried out Terrorist operations thwarted Total
January 7 2 9
February 0 1 1
March 1 2 3
April 0 1 1
May 1 0 1
June 1 0 1
July 0 0 0
August 4 2 6
September 2 0 2
October 1 0 1
November 1 0 1
December 0 0 0
Total in 2018 18 8 26

Terrorist operations in different governorates:

North Sinai continued to be the center and focus of terrorist and extremist groups. As is the case in previous years, Sinai is at the forefront of the provinces that witnessed terrorist attacks during 2018, followed by the capital Cairo.

 The following table details in numbers the terrorist operations and their distribution in the different governorates

Governorate Operations carried out Operations thwarted Total
North Sinai 13 7 20
Cairo 1 0 1
Giza 1 1 2
Alexandria 1 0 1
Daqahlyia 1 0 1
Minya 1 0 1
Total 18 8 26

These operations resulted in the killing and wounding of 48 people during the year, detailed as follows

Civilians Security forces Terrorists Total
killed 12 7 2 21
wounded 11 14 2 27
Total 23 21 4 48

Second: Counter-terrorism operations

In 2018, there were 43 preemptive attacks by the security forces which targeted what the Egyptian authorities described as terrorism hubs, resulting in the arrest and ‘liquidation’ of some elements whom the authorities hold responsible for the terrorist operations carried out in the country.

These operations have resulted in the killing of 528, the wounding of two others and the arrest of 3061 people.

The following table shows the details of terrorist operations during 2018

Killed Wounded Arrested Total number of operations
528 2 3061 43

 

Chapter Four

Attacks against Freedom of Expression and Media Freedoms

 2018 witnessed a continuation of the massive crackdown and ongoing targeting of media freedoms. Lawyers for Democracy monitored 215 various violations of freedom of the press and media freedoms compared to 289 violations in 2016.

The following table shows the number of violations against freedom of expression and media freedoms throughout the  year

Months Number of violations
January 9
February 10
March 11
April 6
May 13
June 13
July 11
August 13
September 11
October 15
November 16
December 10
Total violations in 2018 138

During 2018, there has been a significant escalation in enforced disappearance of journalists and their interrogation in State Security prosecutions over charges that have nothing to do with their journalistic work. Courts and prosecutors are now expecting journalists’ trials and investigations to take place on an almost daily basis.

The following table shows in numbers the details of violations committed against freedom of expression and media freedoms

Type of violation Number of violation
Arrest and detention 13
Media coverage ban 7
Investigations or ongoing trials 87
Censorship and confiscation 2
Gag order (publishing ban) 1
Court decisions 1
Reports to the Public Prosecutor 8
Verbal and physical assault 5
Administrative sanctions or dismissal from university or work 8
Deportation from Egypt 1
Ban from appearing 5
Total violations 138

From the previous table, we can notice a large and remarkable increase in the trials and pretrial detention renewal sessions against opinion-makers and journalists because of their views, besides cases of arrest and detention of journalists and media professionals. Also in 2018, the Law on Regulating the Press and Media and the Supreme Media Regulatory Council (SMRC), which was dubbed by many journalists and writers ‘the law that would execute or kill the press and the media’, has been enacted.

Chapter Five

The situation of Human Rights Defenders

 2018 saw a continuation of the systematic targeting of human rights defenders who have been subjected to constant harassment and violations that range from arrest and detention to ongoing trials and the use of pretrial detention as a punishment.

Although human rights defenders were subjected to continuous targeting, two of them received international awards.

First: Violations against human rights defenders:

Pretrial detention, investigations, and travel bans are no longer considered the most serious and common violations committed throughout 2018- as is the case in previous years; rather the onslaught against human rights defenders have escalated and intensified that the number of defenders who received judicial rulings or brought to trial has increased in a considerable way.

The following table shows the number of attacks on human rights defenders in 2018

 

Type of violation

Number of violations
Arrest, detention, and harassment of human rights defenders 9
Human rights defenders brought to trial 25
Investigations by the Public Prosecution and the investigating judges 11
Pre-trial detention as a punishment for human rights defenders 57
Closure of organizations 1
Crackdown on imprisoned human rights defenders 1
Blocking websites of human rights organizations 1
Asset freeze against human rights organizations and defenders 1
Defenders handed down court rulings 8
Physical assault on defenders 1
Reports (communiqués) filed against defenders 2
Total 117

Second: Awards received by human rights defenders

1- Mohamed Lotfi receives the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

On December 18, the French Embassy in Egypt held a special ceremony to award activist Mohamed Lotfi, executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

2- Photojournalist Shawkan awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

On April 23, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that photojournalist Mahmoud Abdel-Shakour Abu Zeid, aka Shawkan, was selected as laureate of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, while he had been on trial over the case known as “Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal”.  Shawkan was arrested while covering the dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in by security forces, as part of his job for Demotix photo agency based on an invitation by the Interior Ministry to media outlets to cover the incident.

Chapter Six

Milestones in the Democratic Path

Influential milestones in the democratic path

2018 witnessed a number of crucial events that have influenced the democratic process and the state of the rule of law, which can be summarized in the following lines:

First: Presidential elections resulted in President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi winning the second term as president:

The year 2018 began with the state’s willingness to hold the presidential elections which witnessed a lot of incidents; as some of those who announced their intention to run in the elections had later announced their withdrawal from the presidential race.

– On January 7, former Air Marshal Ahmed Shafik reversed his previous decision to run for the presidency through a video he posted on his personal page on the social networking website “Twitter”.

– On January 20, ex-military chief-of-staff Sami Anan announced his intention to run in the 2018 election, but on January 23, he was arrested on a charge of violating the military code and running for the post without the permission of the Armed Forces. In addition to that, a number of his presidential campaign members including Hesham Geneina, former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), were arrested as well.

– On January 24, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali announced that he decided to retreat from the presidential bid, and attributed his decision to “the authorities’ unwillingness to carry out real presidential elections through distorting the image of all the current president’s competitors”, in addition to the harassment by security forces that his campaign’s members were subjected to.

– On January 24, legal advisor Mohamed Bahaa Eddin Abu Shokka submitted his candidacy papers to the National Elections Authority (NEA) after he met the required conditions.

– On January 29, and at the last five minutes before the closing of the candidacy deadline, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, head of the Ghad party, submitted his candidacy papers to run against Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt’s presidential election.

– On March 26, the electoral process and contest among candidates began lasting for three days, which were characterized by a low turnout in light of citizens’ disengagement and reluctance to vote. The security forces were also arresting whoever tries to take photos of the empty polling stations and implicated those arrested in Case 621/2018 State Security.

– On 2 April, the National Elections Authority (NEA) announced that Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi won a second term after 92.08% of the electorate voted for him while Mousa Mostafa Mouse received 2.92% of valid votes.

Second: The state of emergency remains in force and is being extended

Since the state of emergency imposed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi since 2017 following the terrorist bombing of St. Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria and Mar Girgis Church in Tanta, the President approved, on 13 January 2018, the Presidential Decree No. 647 of 2017 on extending the state of emergency throughout the Republic for a period of three months. And before the 3-month period expired, on 14 April 2018, the President of the Republic announced Decree No. 168 of 2018 on extending the emergency law for another three months.

Then on 15 October 2018, the President issued Decree No. 473 of 2018 extending Egypt’s nationwide state of emergency for three months, and since then the Emergency Law has been enforced and is being used nowadays to refer many cases against journalists and dissidents to the courts of the Supreme State Security.

Third: Legislative Amendments

The year 2018 witnessed a number of legislative amendments affecting the state of democracy and freedoms, the independence of the judiciary, due process, and the work of human rights defenders. Following are the amendments of the most important law in the year:

– Amending some provisions of the Prisons Law

In late January, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 6 of 2018 on the amendment of the provisions of Law No. 396 of 1956 on Regulating Prisons, replacing Article 52 with regard to the conditioned release of prisoners.

– The law on the formation of the National Council to Confront Terrorism and Extremism

On April 2, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 355 of 2017 on the establishment of the Higher Council to Confront Terrorism and Extremism, which is meant to “mobilize institutional and societal capabilities to limit the causes of terrorism and remedy its effects.”

– The law on the seizure of funds of the designation of terrorist entities:

On April 21, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi passed Law No. 22 of 2018, which sets up measures for the seizure, assessment, and managing of financial assets belonging to designated “terrorist groups and terrorists”. The law provides for the establishment of an independent and a ‘judicial nature” committee that shall be competent to take all measures relating to the implementation of sentences against any “group, entity or person belonging to a terrorist group, especially the seizure and disposal of assets’ measures”, as a case of exception to the provisions of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Law.

– The Cybercrime Law:

On August 19, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi ratified Law No. 175 of 2018 on Combating Information Technology Crimes (“Cybercrime Law”), which states that: anyone has by illegal way got any benefits or services of communication and information technology services, or any of broadcasting (television/radio) services, shall be punished by imprisonment not less than three months and fined not less than 10,000 Egyptian pounds (EGP) not more than 50,000 Egyptian pounds (EGP)- or one of these penalties.

–  The National Media Commission Law:

On August 27, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 178 of 2018; the National Media Commission Law, which obliges all state-owned media entities, institutions, and websites, existing since the effective date of this law, to reconcile their positions in accordance with the provisions of the law during one year from the date the law took effect.

– The National Press Authority (NPA) Law

On August 27, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 179 of 2018; the National Press Authority Law, which provides several definitions for all of the following (press institutions, Press Authority, publications, journalist, Journalists Chairman, and newspapers). The law also explicitly outlined the editorial policy of each newspaper; figuring its objectives, and its political, social and cultural affiliations and the criteria that govern its editorial policy. The law also stipulates that the Authority shall be independent while exercising its tasks and competencies, and while running the state-owned media institutions, and developing their assets.

– The Law on Regulating the Press and Media

On August 27, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 180 of 2018 on Regulating the Press and Media and the Supreme Media Regulatory Council (SMRC), which provides for the repeal of the Press Regulation Law 96/1996 and the Press and Media Regulators Law 92/2016, and which many journalists and opinion-makers described as the law that kills journalism.

– Amending the NGOs Law:

The Cabinet of Egypt ordered the formation of a committee, headed by the Minister of Social Solidarity, to amend the law regulating the work of civil society organizations .

– Defendants in “civil society case” acquitted

On Thursday 20 December 2018, Cairo Criminal Court ordered the acquittal of all foreign defendants (foreign NGO workers) in the “civil society” case that dates back to 2011, however, the other part of the case pertaining to the local organizations is still under investigation.

Mounting Anger…The Democratic Path in Egypt 2018 PDF

Mounting Anger…The Democratic Path in Egypt 2018 WORD

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