Egypt’s courts blot on the name of justice

Developing Just Leadership

Ayman Ahmed

Rajab 12, 1436 2015-05-01

News & Analysis

by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 3, Rajab, 1436)

Judges in Egypt act like executioners and serve as slaves for the brutes in uniform. Handing death sentences by the scores has become routine in Egypt under the Pharaohs.

Verdicts delivered by Egyptian courts are so out of line with the basic tenets of justice that it is hard to call them courts of law. The expression “kangaroo courts” is much closer to reality. This was again evident in the latest set of sentences handed down to the legitimately elected President Mohamed Mursi on April 21 and 10 days ealier to the murshid (leader) of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon, Mohamed Badie.

Mursi was sentenced to 20 years in jail after a ludicrous allegation that he had ordered supporters to attack protesters in 2012 when he was still in office as president. How could an elected president be accused of such a “crime”? The charge is entirely political because his accusers are the very people that carried out a coup — an illegal act under the Egyptian Constitution — to oust him from power. Further, the sentence was handed down on April 21 because under the constitution, he would have had to be released if he was not sentenced by a “court” after being held in detention for so long.

The prosecution had initially called for a death sentence but then changed it to 20-year jail term realizing that the entire charade would be seen for what it is: a farce. The idea is to keep Mursi in permanent detention so as to keep him of circulation while the thugs in uniform continue to strengthen their grip on power.

The witch-hunt has been underway for more than a year. Mursi’s sentencing was preceded by the death sentences handed down to the Ikhwan leader, Mohamed Badie, and 13 others on April 11. The Cairo court confirmed their death sentences on charge of planning attacks against the state. Another 36 persons were given life sentences.

They were not accused of carrying out an attack, merely “planning” one, but the allegation is not only vague it goes against the reality of what transpired nearly two years ago. Badie who was sentenced to death last March is facing at least 40 other trials on similarly trumped up charges in different courts.

The Egyptian military carried out a coup on July 3, 2013 against the legitimately elected government of President Mursi. When supporters (mostly members of the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood) of the ousted president staged peaceful sit-ins to protest this brazen disregard for people’s wishes, the military unleashed its firepower killing thousands of innocent civilians on two consecutive days on August 14 and 16, 2013. Tens of thousands of others were rounded up and thrown in jails that have rightly been denounced as torture chambers.

Far from charging the brutes in uniform with crimes against humanity for massacring thousands of innocent civilians including women and children, the judges in Egypt have turned into agents of oppression to serve their masters. Those people that survived the military’s bullets are being sent to the gallows through a thinly disguised judicial farce.

Last year a series of outrageous sentences were handed down to defendants. One judge in particular, Saeed Youssef gained notoriety for his extremely hostile conduct. In March 2014, he sentenced 529 people to death in a single court hearing in Minya. The defendants were accused of being supporters of the Brotherhood, which was banned a few months earlier and declared a “terrorist” organization by the military regime that had perpetrated the blood baths of August 14 and 16, 2013.

As if this was not bad enough, Judge Youssef (an inappropriate name for him since Prophet Yusuf (a) had himself suffered much injustice at the hands of judges in Egypt — the same Egypt today is sending innocent Muslims to the gallows!) followed this with another set of outrageous sentences. On April 28, 2014, he sentenced an additional batch of 683 people, accused of being alleged supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to death. The list included Badie as well as 77 other members of the group. For such conduct, Judge Youssef has earned the epithet “the butcher.”

The Minya defendants were protesting the military coup of July 2013. Some protesters became unruly leading to an attack on a police station in which one policeman and several protesters were killed. Killing protesters is routine but the death of a policeman is not, and for that, hundreds of people were sentenced to death. On appeal, the sentences were set aside and a new trial was ordered.

The butcher judge again sentenced 37 of the 529 defendants to death and the rest to 25 years in jail. Defence lawyers boycotted the proceedings demanding that the judge recuse himself because he lacks basic fairness and impartiality. His denunciation as a “butcher,” hardly comes close to describing his criminal behaviour in the service of the thugs in uniform that have taken over Egypt.

To get a proper grasp of what is going on in Egypt, it is pertinent to go over the sequence of events since the military coup in Egypt nearly two years ago. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was appointed Defence Minister by President Mohamed Mursi after the long-serving General Mohamed Hussain Tantawi was retired. El-Sisi and his fellow generals started to instigate remnants of the old regime to frustrate Mursi from performing his duties. In June 2013, el-Sisi actually gave an ultimatum to Mursi to sort his problems with the opposition otherwise the military would intervene. No such threats were issued against the opposition hence they knew all they had to do was to be uncooperative and the military would do the rest.

This is exactly what happened. On July 3, 2013, General el-Sisi violated the constitution by carrying out the coup. He arrested Mursi and had him locked up in military barracks — another illegal act. The Saudi regime was the first to congratulate el-Sisi for the coup and pledged billions of dollars in aid. The coup was carried out in close cooperation with them. The Saudis further corroborated this by declaring the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Even the Palestinian group Hamas was tarred with the terrorist brush.

When Mursi’s supporters staged peaceful sit-ins in al-Adawiya and Giza Squares of Cairo against the coup, el-Sisi unleashed the military slaughtering thousands of people. Among those killed were also the children of several Ikhwan leaders. He also banned the Ikhwan as an organization and said as long as he was in charge of affairs in Egypt he would not allow the Ikhwan to operate as a political party! Thousands of Ikhwan members and supporters — 16,000 according to the Associated Press — were arrested and thrown in various prisons.

The kangaroo trials that have sentenced such huge numbers of people to death or life imprisonment have followed. The Arabian dictators in such places as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other places in the region have showered billions on el-Sisi’s basket-case country. With its 80 million people and tourism as the main source of earning, the continuing chaos has scared most tourists away. The fun-loving tourists are not the bravest of people. Egypt needs a constant inflow of cash to stay afloat.

Further, the thieving generals take much of the revenue and invest it in their favorite projects — hotels, tourist resorts and the like. The Egyptian military controls 40% of the country’s economy. It is not a fighting force; these people are in the real estate and tourism business. They might as well open an academy for tourism instead of military training.

They seem to be good at everything but the profession for which they allegedly train: soldiering. The Egyptian army, like armies in all Muslim countries, has never won a single battle against an external enemy. Their only claim to fame is repeated assaults on their own hapless people. They are loath to allow civilians to run the affairs of state, hence their constant itch to grab power.

El-Sisi’s predecessor Husni Mubarak was at the helm for nearly 30 years. He had taken over from another military man, Colonel Anwar al-Sadat who in turn succeeded another military strongman — Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasser. This last one was a demagogue and indulged in much rhetoric but he ultimate became the victim of his own rhetoric when the Egyptian army was trounced in the Six Day War against Israel in June 1967. Al-Nasser’s deputy Field Marshal ‘Abd al-Halim ‘Amer committed suicide for such a colossal failure. Al-Nasser resigned, sort of, but then quickly rescinded it after his hangers-on “pleaded” with him to reconsider his decision. He died of a heart attack in September 1970 as a broken man but by then he had left Egypt in shambles.

It has not recovered from the blows al-Nasser and his military cohorts have delivered to the country. The military in Egypt rules supreme because it keeps conquering its own people. That is the only game it knows since it cannot fight the external enemy, Zionist Israel that continues to occupy the Sinai Peninsula by forcing Egypt to keep it demilitarized. The Zionists have also forced the Egyptian military to keep the Rafah Crossing with Gaza closed and have all the tunnels blown up so that the bottled up people of Gaza cannot bring in food, fuel, medicines or other essential items needed for survival.
This is what the Egyptian military has been reduced to: lording over its own people while working as a slave of the Zionists and imperialists. One could add one more feather in its cap: as a slave of the Saudis as well now.

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