The military regime in Egypt is escalating repression against its political opponents.
It has condemned more than 100 to death by hanging in the last two weeks. Those condemned include Egypt’s former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi and Emad Shahin, professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo.
The day after Mursi’s sentence, six men were executed after being convicted of attacking soldiers. This was despite the fact that at least two of them were actually in prison when the crime they were accused of was committed.
The Egypt Solidarity campaign has launched an international statement condemning the sentences. It also points to over 1,000 death sentences already issued and hundreds of political prisoners waiting on death row.
Some of their court hearings have lasted only minutes. And the regime often denies those arrested proper legal representation or even the opportunity answer the allegations.
The statement points out that among those sentenced to death are also “two people who are already dead and one who has been in jail for the past 19 years.”
The statement calls for the “immediate halt to executions and for all death sentences passed since July 2013 to be set aside”.
It also calls on governments to “cease all forms of security and military co-operation with Egypt and to impose an immediate ban on arms sales.”
Signatories so far include UCU lecturer’s union president Liz Lawrence, Bfawu bakers’ union president Ian Hodson, John McDonnell MP, and Stathis Kouvelakis, a leading member of the Greek radical left Syriza party.
This is just weeks after Greece’s Syriza prime minister Alexis Tsipras met Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss fighting “terrorism”.
World leaders and politicians should shun el-Sisi and the military regime instead of courting it.
The West and its Gulf State allies are backing el-Sisi’s counter-revolution with billions of dollars in aid and military equipment.
Britain has approved arms sales of at least £2.7 million to Egypt, while the regime intensifies its repression of all political opponents.
Egyptian activists are calling for solidarity with socialists facing prison sentences.
Revolutionary Socialists Mahienour el-Massry and Youssef Shaaban are in prison waiting for the verdict of their appeal against their two year sentences.
Their supporters reported to Amnesty International that police threw everyone but the defendants and their lawyers out of the court during the appeal. They threatened people “with tasers and clubs”.
The verdict is set to be heard this Sunday. The case centres on a protest by lawyers and supporters at an Alexandria police station in March 2013.
Police arrested Mahienour, Youssef and eight others, accusing them of trying to storm the police station. They were demanding an apology after cops assaulted another lawyer.
Mahienour has already served four months of a six month sentence in a separate case last year. She was accused of breaking the regime’s draconian anti-protest law.
She had been demonstrating in Alexandria during the retrial of police officers who killed political blogger Khaled Said under Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship in 2010.
Revolutionary Socialist Wassim Wagdy explained to Socialist Worker how important it was to mobilise support.
He said, “International solidarity makes a difference. “Last time Mahienour was sentenced for two years, but she was let out after six months because of the strength of the solidarity campaign.”
Mahienour’s political commitment received international recognition when she won the prestigious Ludovic Trarieux award last year for her human rights work.
Campaigners also want to highlight the case of Mohamed Soltan, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
He is the US-Egyptian son of a leading Muslim Brotherhood member whose death sentence was upheld last month.
Mohamed’s health has deteriorated since being on hunger strike from January 2014. His family persuaded him to move to a partial hunger strike this January.
Mohamed’s sister Hanaa described her brother’s condition in a letter to Amnesty International. She said, “I’ve watched your body go from a plump basketball-playing frame to one that has withered down to its bones.”
Families of those imprisoned have issued a statement to help build a campaign to have them freed.
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