Posts by: Mohamed ElGohary

An Egyptian veteran blogger.Global VoicesLingua manager.

Egypt: No justice for 49 facing trial before emergency court

From the Amnesty international report about trial of 49 people in mehalla :

Mahalla prisoners سجناء المحلة

The trial of 49 people before an emergency court for alleged involvement in the violent protests of 6 April 2008 in the city of Mahalla is due to resume on 6 September.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Egyptian authorities to stop trying individuals before special emergency courts that flout basic guarantees for fair trial.

On 5 April 2008, the government banned all demonstrations in advance of a general strike planned for 6 April in support of industrial action by textile workers in the city of Mahalla north of Cairo. Thousands of members of the police and security forces were deployed in Mahalla, Cairo and other cities.

The industrial action was called off after negotiations with officials and under pressure from the government, but violent protests broke out in Malhalla against the rise in the cost of living. At least three people, including Ahmed Ali Mabrouk, a schoolboy, died after being shot by the security forces and dozens were wounded due to excessive use of force. Around 258 people were arrested during the clashes and later released without charge.

The 49 defendants are being tried for a wide range of charges, including: assembly of more than five people with the aim of disturbing public order and security; deliberate destruction of public and private property; ransacking and theft; violent resistance and assault on police officers during the exercise of their duties; and illegal possession of firearms. If convicted they face up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

The defendants are the first to be tried by an emergency court following the Egyptian authorities’ renewal of the state of emergency in May 2008. Emergency courts regularly use evidence obtained under torture and other ill-treatment to secure convictions, and their procedures routinely fall short of the basic guarantees for a fair trial. Judgments by emergency courts cannot be appealed against and become final after ratification by the President.

The trial, which started on 9 August before the (Emergency) Supreme State Security Court in the city of Tanta, north of Cairo, has been postponed upon the request of the defence lawyers in order to allow them to review the case files. The court also acquiesced to order expert examination of the damage to property allegedly caused by the defendants, and ordered the arrest of those defendants previously released on bail by the public prosecutor. When police officers later went to proceed with the arrests, they arrested relatives of the defendants who were not at home and took them into custody as “hostages” so as to force those wanted to surrender.

Torture and threats of sexual abuse

The 49 people who are facing trial were arrested after the clashes, between 13 and 18 April 2008. After their arrest they were blindfolded for up to nine days. Many of them said that while they were being held at the State Security Investigations offices in Mahalla and later in Cairo they were beaten, tortured with electric shocks and threatened with the sexual abuse of their female relatives.

When they were brought before the Public Prosecutor on 21, 22 and 23 April, their lawyers complained about the torture and other ill-treatment inflicted on their clients. No independent investigation is known to have been opened as a result. The main evidence used against the defendants are the confessions, allegedly extracted under torture, that they had thrown stones at the police, as well as the testimonies of members of the security forces and government officials. Some of the defendants stated that they had not even participated in the protests, this being confirmed by witnesses. These witness statements were dismissed by the Public Prosecutor.

All the defendants remained in detention until 2 June when the Public Prosecutor ordered the release on bail of 20 of them, including a 58-year old woman. Nine of those released were immediately rearrested under emergency legislation by orders of the Minister of Interior. All those in custody are currently held in Borj al-Arab Prison, near Alexandria. On 6 June, the Public Prosecutor referred their case for trial before the emergency court in Tanta.

Amnesty International is urging the Egyptian authorities to:

  • rescind the decision to refer the defendants to the emergency court and order a retrial before an ordinary court and ensure they receive a fair trial.
  • release immediately and unconditionally those protestors found not to have used violence; the others must be given a fair trial in accordance with Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law and standards.
  • open a full, independent and impartial investigation into the killings of the three people in Mahalla. In particular the investigation should focus on the circumstances in which police used lethal fire and ensure that any officers or other officials responsible for using or ordering excessive force should be brought to justice.

Just give them the chance…

Life is a group of parameters, variables in an equation. The most important equation explains the relation between different members of the family. Between the parents and their children. Their is a factor which I consider very important. A line…the determiner of right and wrong. Or maybe between what is appropriate and what is not. In many families conflicts happen, between the point of view of the parent and that of the child. Some parents see certain thing as inappropriate without considering that it is not wrong, and vice versa, sometimes opposing the natural insight of the child. It really hurts…

It hurts more when the child see the parent enrolls in what was refused before, or even enthusiastic about it. While, ironically, the child see it in a neutral way. When a child wants something, the timing is important, very important. When the margin of time is over, this desire or natural insight is no longer strong like before, no longer wanted like before. It loses its taste, its meaning, loses it value and fun. It even increases the hurt,especially when the parent is thinking to do that action towards himself and raises the always unspoken question…why?

A child in this moment is confused, experiencing a deteriorated image of freedom and of the outside world. He forms a picture in his mind that who has the power can do anything, no matter what others say or think of. He believes in the phrase: “Who cares”, he has the power and nothing really matters if he is still in the controlling side.

Many things can be lost as a side-effect, important things. Any decision done this way by the parent against the right vision of their children at the time of conflict can waste a talent, waste a value, waste something which could have made others’ lives better. Parents do not normally realize that anything they do, ANYTHING, is like a butterfly effect. Major things always happen from minor things. Tornados can happen when a butterfly flies in the air, just a little colorful butterfly roaming around the lighted bulb while you are enjoying its beauty. This beauty can form a powerful tornado with all its damage to others’ lives.

Just give them the chance to live, to create, to love, no to hesitate. Give them the chance to feel, to understgand, to fly with their minds in their very special atmosphere of imagination, the kind of imagination you lost long ago. Give them the chance to do it their way, they have a great chance to understand their surroundings better than you, you didn’t live their childhood, you maybe didn’t have their experience as they don’t have yours. They can be different, and you will never know if this difference is in the right way or the wrong way, or even if it was appropriate or not.

Just give them the chance…

Egyptian Shura Council and People’s Assembly on Fire!!!

The Egyptian Shura Council and People’s Assembly (The two houses of Parliament) are now on fire. Several officials suggesting an electric fire or a thrown away lighted cigarette!!!

Photos for the burning of the historical building with the unsuccessful attempts to turn down the fire even by helicopters can be available here and here.

Rumors say that the fire can be an intentional one, to burn documents related to some recent important incidents (related to corruption) Like Mamdouh Ismail Salam 98 case for example.

You can also see vidoes (updated every minute) for the fire directly and news coverages.

Personally, I’m now remembering the V for Vendetta movie ending, when the Parliament exploded.

Watch from the minute 4:30 if you want to watch the scene directly.


Zeinobia An eye witness
Juplia Flickr
Juplia Youtube here and here

Free thoughts

Every human relation, every human act, every human thought has its own reference. A human reference. This human reference can be noble or not. Can be justified to be over religion and ethics. At the moment of doing a certain life/death act you don’t think that this act is right or wrong, you just do it with a big to-hell to the whole world.

We always complain about people, what people will say, what way they will look at you. Really…what’s the use? Do they feed you? Usually not. So? People will always talk and will never stop. Why would you surrender?

Sometimes this is done internally. When a certain person is afraid that he is wrong though he is not. Being ashamed when there is no need to. Self fear, self censorship, leading to self destruction. Be it totally or just in one’s soul. When you can’t face yourself and retreat away with no excuse, with no warning, with no month notice. You just go away, leaving your soul away, surrendering everything which had some meaning, some value, some memory, some life.

I hate this way of letting away things with no known reasons, I feel confusion for a long time before I try (usually failing) to overcome this confusion. Analyzing and reanalyzing it again for so so long. I really want to tell myself: “It is over you idiot, don’t waste your time and nerves on it. Any ended thing can never be the same again as it was and enjoy the moment as it is and never think about it when it is gone”. But I just can’t. I don’t have the strength. I just keep myself absent from the world acting the victim blaming the whole world for my so-called misery, though in my current life I must feel content.

I don’t waste my time. I have a life, a job, good cooperative work team, a perfect sister… What do I want more?

Maybe I want annoying people/relatives to leave me alone and know how destroying they are to me, again we go to the point of strength of facing. Yes, this is what I want…

The force to face anyone in the face and tell them they are annoying. And I’m glad that I’m succeeding in that.

P.S. Rediscovering Celine Dion, love the A New Day Has Come album :)

Gamal Eid, Manal and Alaa facing trial

Again with MuradGamal Eid, the General Manager of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Manal and Alaa are facing trial for insulting Judge Murad during the law-suit in 2007 for blocking several blogs and sites (including the web site of the Arabic Network) for talking about piracy in his book about the legal base for blogging (He copied a large portion of material from the some of these sites in his book with even referring to them).

The court will be held in ElDokky Court in 24/9/2008 according to Egyptian Watchman

Murad, TO HELL!

Detaining 14 people from 6th of April Youth Movement in Alexandria

After a successful conference for the 6th of April’s Youth Movement at the Ghad Party Alexandria HQ and their meeting with some of Alexandria’s youth, those young people went to the beach wearing the movement’s t shirts, singing patriotic songs and raising the Egyptian flags. They were also flaying a kite with the Egyptian Flag shape on it.

But then, strangely, State Security officers came and told them to stop singing and taking off their t shirts. This was opposing to National Security according to the officers. The people didn’t obey the “order”, so “naturally” the State Security forces attacked them physically while spraying them a strange substance (supposedly some sedative substance). Resulting in falling of some of them, so they dragged them on the ground to the SS cars, hitting them heavily several times.The SS took them to a place called ElFara’ena (The Pharaohs) in Alexandria. This place is known to be the HQ of the State Security in Alexandria.

This is a video shot just before the State Security attack happen

Those brave ones are arrested:
Khaled Adel
Mahinor ElMasry (The only girl) Update: She is now out, the rest still.
Youssef Shaa’ban
Bassem Fat’hy
Mustafa Maher
Amro Ali
Nour ElDeen Sob’hy
Medhat Shaker
Moa’tasem Bellah Mohammad
Tarek Tito
Mohammad Mahmoud
Ahmad Nassar
Ahmad Afifi
The State Security ordered that they will be detained for 15 days and this is the text for the reason of their detention

On Thursday, 24th of July
4 pm
In the case of detaining the Internet Activists
The case’s number is 5943 for year 2008 Raml First Administration in Alexandria
Participating with others to disrupt the means of transport and disrupting traffic
Crowing for more than 5 persons in public places and collecting agents under the name of 6th of April movement via Internet and incitement to overthrow the regime and destabilize the Country
Inciting demonstrations by distributing leaflets within citizens to call for civil disobedience
The order:
Detention for 15 days for investigation

For more pics you can go there

It is observed this time the brutal security dealing with the detainees

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