Calling Notice: Press Conference
Press Conference to highlight the on-going extra-judicial killing of civilians by the Egyptian Security Services with complete impunity and complete derogation from all democratic and legal principles under the military regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Time: Tuesday 2 June 2015, 12.30hrs,
Location: Council Room, Church House Conference Centre
Deans Yard, Westminster, London. SW1P 3NZ
Speakers: Mohammad Jamil, AOHR-UK
Dr. Maha Azzam, Egyptian Revolutionary Council
Dr. Mohammad Soudan, Freedom and Justice Party
Toby Cadman, Barrister, 9 Bedford Row International
Statement by Jeremy Corbyn, MP
I’m sorry I cannot be with you today due to a press conference on Bahrain that is running concurrently.
I am appalled at the trumped up charges so many people in Egypt face, and I’ve been active in a number of areas relating, in particular, to the detention of journalists and the denial of protest to many people there.
All functioning democracies must allow diversity of opinion, the freedom to write and speak, and fair access to justice.
Despite there being clear breaches of international law, there is still no outright condemnation of the current Egyptian military regime, nor does it appear, are any steps being taken to address the current situation.
Since the unlawful seizure of power, and the ousting of Egypt’s first, and only, democratically elected president, the military coup leaders under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has embarked on the road to dictatorship and autocracy.
It is of the utmost concern that countries bound to uphold the principles of democracy, fundamental freedoms, and the Rule of Law; countries who are seen as the custodians of such rights, deem it appropriate to enter into trade and military agreements with a state that despite its rhetoric to the contrary, ignores all of these established principles.
Following the military coup of 3 July 2013, the State and its military and security apparatus have murdered countless peaceful protestors. Notably, at the Rabba and Ennahda Square massacres, hundreds lost their lives simply for exercising their democratic right to protest against an autocratic regime.
The use of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and enforced disappearance has soared, and yet the international community has remained silent.
Despite these gross violations the military regime continues to show its complete disregard for the Rule of Law and principles of democracy, as it continues todirect the judiciary to decide the fate of hundreds in the harshest of terms, including the almost mandatory use of the death penalty.
Until now 1,665 individuals have been referred to the Grand Mufti, including ousted former President Mohammed Morsi, 530 of them confirmed, seven of them have now been executed.
These sentences came after inherently flawed mass trials that hark back to the Stalinist show trials previously thought to have been confined to history; flawed to the extent that of those convicted and sentenced to death some were shown to have been deceased prior to the commission of the alleged offence and others were shown to be serving custodial sentences in third states.
On 17 May 2015, authorities executed Mohammed Bakri Haroun, Hani Mustapha Amin Amer, Mohammed Ali Afifi, Abdulrahman Sayyed Rizq, Khalid Faraj Mohammed Mohammed Ali, and Islam Sayyed Ahmed, after being convicted of false charges by a military court despite conclusive evidence that the acts they were accused of occurred after they were arrested. In another case Mahmood Ramadan Abdalnabi was executed on 7 March 2015.
The use of the death penalty as a means of eliminating political opposition to the military regime could lead to an escalation in violence. It is clear that where those fundamental rights and freedoms are removed, those oppressed will look to increasingly desperate means as a way of exercising their right to protest.
Against this background, and taking into account the plethora of criticisms of human rights monitoring bodies, it is of all the more concern that the international community has chosen not to demand change, but rather, adopt an approach of political, military, and economic expediency, signing numerous trade deals, releasing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military aid, and offering political support on the international stage.
Even as we hold this press conference, the Grand Mufti is expected to rule imminently on the death sentences imposed on a further 122 individuals for merely exercising their democratic and constitutional rights.
The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK calls on the international community, the UK, the US, and the European Union in particular, to:
- Condemn the Military Regime for acts that constitute international crimes;
- Suspend all military and security assistance;
- Take immediate measures to prevent any further executions;
- Free more than 30,000 political prisoners facing conditions that put them at risk of death in custody;
- Condemn the removal of all democratic rights of Egyptian citizens;
- Condemn the derogation from the rule of law;
- Demand a full and transparent investigation into to human rights violations committed by the State Military and Security Services; and
- Demand that Egypt returns to democracy.
- End -