From Cairo: Egypt’s Military Leading the Counter-Revolution?

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

From Cairo: Egypt’s Military Leading the Counter-Revolution?

WASHINGTON - As media have turned their attention elsewhere, breaking news of Egypt’s uprising has fallen into the shadows. Local activists report that in Egypt the military is banning the local press from covering any of its activities. So Egyptian activists are turning to other methods — including testimonial videos on YouTube — to reach the public with such information.

The following are available for interviews in Cairo, 6 hours ahead of U.S. ET:

MONA SEIF, tahrirdiaries.wordpress.com
Seif is an activist and one of the organizers of a recent conference against military trials of citizens. On April 14 the group No Military Trials of Civilians, in coordination with the popular committee of the Imbaba district of Cairo, held a conference to address military violations. The following is a short excerpt from human rights lawyer Ahmed Rageb speaking at the conference about the rights of civilians (press CC button to get English subtitles for all videos): youtube.com

Many former detainees and relatives of current detainees were present to tell their testimonies. One of them was Salwa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnZQUp4gxIM

Dr. AIDA SEIF AL-DAWLA
Al-Dawla is with Nadeem Center for Victims of Torture. She was profiled by Time magazine as a global hero in 2004. The Nadeem Center is among a group of non-profits, bloggers and activists highlighting the continuation of torture in post-Mubarak Egypt on the website against-torture.net.

Al-Dawla said today: “While the news of the arrest of Gamal and Alaa Mubarak and the interrogation of the ousted president have been met with nationwide cheers, several points worthy of observation have escaped or are being ignored by public attention. With the joy of ‘justice being done’ to representatives of the old regime in past weeks, we seem to have forgotten the hundreds of young people detained and prosecuted by military trials. And we need to question why the figureheads of the old regime are being prosecuted by judicial procedures while ‘the youth of the revolution’ are receiving military trials.

“Not only was a promise to open closed files of torture and maltreatment rejected by the same public prosecutor who was appointed by Mubarak, but the claim, supported by videos and live testimonies of extremely courageous survivors, was met with a categorical denial by the military council. Meanwhile, these authorities accused the sources of trying to disrupt the relationship between the people and the army. Justice remains incomplete if not applied to all.”

PHILIP RIZK
Rizk is a writer and filmmaker and part of the collective that runs the channel youtube.com/user/intifadatintifadat that provides short videos and testimonials like that of the Zaghloul family linked to below. He is also a contributor to the site against-torture.net. In recent months Rizk has focused on military trials and torture as well as the ongoing labor protests and strikes.

He said today: “As of Thursday April 15 Hosni Mubarak remains under guard of the military pending investigation. The former president is known to have been involved in widespread corruption and overseeing the draconian security apparatus that abused Egyptians for three decades. Meanwhile, since January 29 when the military deployed its forces to control Egypt’s streets, the army in turn has carried out vast violations including putting thousands of civilians on military trial while arresting and torturing thousands of these without legal warrant.

“The military trial of thousands of innocent citizens is proof that this transitional government is merely a facade of a regime with the same logic as the one just overthrown during the recent uprising in Egypt. Not only are military tribunals illegal by any global legal standard, but the new authorities are now banning the Egyptian press from covering any such military actions. While the former president who oversaw a system that made it possible for economic exploitation, corruption and systematic torture to flourish, is only being ‘investigated,’ tens of thousands of Egyptian civilians have no recourse to legal representation before a civil court. All possible forms of pressure — locally and globally — must be applied to bring this process to an end.

“For example, Mohamed Zaghloul was detained by the the military police on his way home from work on January 28 and subsequently tortured. In early April he was sentenced to one year in prison before a military court without recourse to a lawyer. Here is a short video of his case.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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