For Immediate Release
Military Trials “Crushing Egyptian Revolution”
WASHINGTON - Protests are resuming today in Cairo. AP is reporting: “The mother of a prominent blogger jailed by Egypt’s ruling generals has gone on a hunger strike to protest her son’s detention and the military’s increasingly heavy-handed approach against critics.
“The strike by Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s 55-year-old mother could turn into a major embarrassment for Egypt’s military three weeks ahead of landmark parliamentary elections, the first since the uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak nine months ago.”
SHERIF GABER, sgaber at gmail.com
Gaber recently graduated from law school at the University of Texas at Austin and, back in his native Egypt, has been active with the group No Military Trials for Civilians. He said today: “Since, Jan. 28, 2011, we’ve seen at least 12,000 civilians tried in military courts. At least 8,000 have received prison sentences, at least 18 have received death sentences. We know of at least 58 minors tried and sentenced as adults. Activists, journalists, demonstrators and others have been targeted by this system to stifle criticism of the army and put down those who would seek to continue the goals of the revolution. The military trials issue is one of the largest obstacles currently facing the Egyptian revolution right now, they are infact in the process of crushing it.
“With respect to [today's] protest, it is the 40-day remembrance of the Maspero massacre, where 27 people were killed as the army brutally and unprovokedly attacked a peaceful demonstration in front of the state TV building (Maspero). The massacre has been covered up by the army and state media (which itself incited a great deal of violence against the demonstrators at the time), 29 people have been given prison sentences in connection with the incident through the military tribunal system and 29 others are being questioned by the military prosecutor. Alaa Abd El Fattah is one of these and he has rejected the military tribunal system for its injustices and lack of impartiality in investigating events in which it is itself implicated.
“So the demonstration [Friday] is both in remembrance of those killed on the 9th of October, and a statement against the continued cover-up of the massacre demanding an independent investigation. So far, many of those who have asked for the same, and have criticized the army and state media for perpetrating this massacre have been terrorized by the military tribunal system, this also has to stop.
“To perhaps nobody’s surprise, for all of the flowery rhetoric about democracy and the like that we hear from the U.S. government right now, they’re still playing the same game of defending their own strategic interests in the region by backing autocratic strong men with a penchant for repression. The U.S. is giving well over a billion dollars year to the Egyptian army directly, and while it may act upset at each new violation or abuse by the army (and the U.S. rarely even bothers to go that far), it seems completely comfortable with their rule for political and economic reasons. We don’t want intervention, but at the same time openly supporting the counter-revolution is obscene. On the other hand, many ordinary Americans, particularly those involved in the ‘occupy’ movement, have shown us real support and solidarity, making the U.S. government’s two-faced position on democracy seem all the more hollow.”
See the video “The Maspero Massacre | 9/10/11 | What Really Happened”
An “International Day of Solidarity” is taking place on Saturday, with protests in London, New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Oakland, Eugene, Paris, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Stockholm, Oslo and Manila.
Also see the webpage “Global Solidarity with Egypt”
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