Wednesday, May 31, 2006

HRW: Egypt must Investigate Police Sexual Assaults and Beatings

(Cairo, May 31, 2006) – President Hosni Mubarak should immediately order an independent judicial investigation into last Thursday’s severe beatings by security agents of political activists Karim al-Sha`ir and Mohamed al-Sharqawi, Human Rights Watch said today. Police also sexually assaulted al-Sharqawi, according to a written statement he smuggled out of prison.

On May 25, agents of the State Security Investigations (SSI) bureau of the Interior Ministry arrested al-Sha`ir and al-Sharqawi as they were leaving a peaceful demonstration in downtown Cairo. Both men said they were beaten in custody.

“The Egyptian government must investigate these attacks and punish the perpetrators,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “President Mubarak should put a stop to repeated outrages by agents of the state.”

In his statement, al-Sharqawi wrote that his captors at the Qasr al-Nil police station beat him for hours and then raped him with a cardboard tube. Then they sent him to the State Security prosecutor’s office in Heliopolis. His lawyer told Human Rights Watch that he saw al-Sharqawi at the prosecutor’s office around midnight that night. “There wasn’t a single part of his body not covered in bruises and gashes,” the lawyer said.

Eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that security agents beat al-Sha`ir in the street. According to his lawyer, al-Sha`ir said that the beatings continued once he was in police custody. More....

Friday, May 26, 2006

RSF: Two Egyptian Bloggers Arrested and Beaten, Los Angeles Times Reporter Tear-gassed

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrests of two bloggers, Mohammed Sharkawy and Karim El-Shaer, during a demonstration at the Press Syndicate in Cairo yesterday and the behaviour of the police in using violence to disperse protestors and attacking Los Angeles Times correspondent Hossam El-Hamalwy as he was trying to cover the event.

"The eye-witness accounts we have received about the arrests of the bloggers and the attack on the LA Times reporter are very disturbing," the press freedom organisation said. "The international community should react firmly and condemn such practices on the part of a government that claims to be democratic."

Yesterday's demonstration at the Press Syndicate was held to commemorate the opposition activists who were the victims of repression during a referendum last year. Plain-clothes police dragged Sharkawy (blog: from the taxi in which he was about to leave and gave him a beating. They then took him to a police station where he was beaten again and subjected to humiliating acts. His body afterwards bore the marks of the mistreatment and one of his ribs may be broken. More...

This is how the Egyptian government is responding to Black May 25 anniversary...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Egypt's Supreme Court Protest in Solidarity with Judges, May 25

Egyptian pro-reform judges stand in front the Supreme Court house during an anti-government protest in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 25, 2006. About 300 pro-reform judges on Thursday staged a sit-in under the watchful eyes of thousands of anti-riot police outside a downtown courthouse to demand independence of the judiciary. (AP Photo/Mohamed Al-Sehety)
An Egyptian demonstrator chants anti government slogans in front of Egyptian riot police during a pro-judges protest outside the Supreme Court house in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 25, 2006. Opposition activists, meanwhile, organized protests to support the judges and mark the first anniversary of a referendum on a controversial constitutional amendment. (AP Photo/Mohamed Al-Sehety) CAIRO (AFP) - Protesters rallied in Cairo in support of independence calls by reformist judges and to mark the first anniversary of a referendum day tarnished by violence against opposition activists.

About 500 judges marched silently to the country's high court from their syndicate headquarters, where about 300 protesters were gathered, surrounded by riot police.

"This is a stand for the judges' demands. We want to reform the judicial law, we want real supervision of the elections and an inquest into what happened in last year's elections and the freedom for all those detained while supporting the judges," Ahmed Mekki, vice president of the Court of Cassation, told AFP as he stood under a giant Egyptian flag.

Egypt's judges, who are responsible for supervising the election process, have become a symbol of the drive for reform in Egypt and are waging an aggressive campaign seeking independence from the executive. More

The American University in Cairo's Judges Protest, May 25

Students at the American University in Cairo (AUC) participate in a silent protest in their main campus. Protesters rallied in Cairo in support of independence calls by reformist judges and to mark the first anniversary of a referendum day tarnished by violence against opposition activists.(AFP/Cris Bouroncle)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It is May 25th Man, Egypt's Freedom Day

International Support for Egyptian Judges on May 25

"I must step down while there are one or two people who admire me." Nelson Mandela, Daily Nation, Kenyan paper, 16 June 1999. And Excuse me this is Mandela not Hosni Mubarak.

South Africa’s leader with a sense of inner dignity created his people’s dignity. But in some instances when leaders do not have dignity, their peoples create it for them.

Great nations are made by good citizens in most cases and the love of those good citizens to their countries drives their peoples to follow them. It is some defining moments made by sincere citizens that make great nations and put them on the march to freedom.

Egyptians have the chance to follow some sincere bunch of sincere good Egyptian citizens. Pro-democracy and reform Egyptian judges are bringing the leadership that Egypt missed along the past decades under tyranny.

Egyptians in Egypt and all over the world together with freedom and democracy activists are going in a world wide march for Egypt's democracy and freedom.

Last year, on May 25, the will of the Egyptian people was forged in a blatant move by the Egyptian President who ordered the amendment of article 76 of our constitution to deceive us and the entire world making them believe that Egypt will witness its first multi-candidacy presidential elections when he was only setting the scene for himself to run for the current term. If he had the will to change, he would have changed the article 77 that limit running for the President’s office.

Same day last year, thugs and officers of the ministry of the interior raped women in the streets and have beaten peaceful demonstrators to set an example for those who dared to express themselves. Humiliation is always the language of the regime.

The farces of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections went on as planned by the regime and here is Egypt with the same political regime and agenda. The turn out of the legislative elections was less than 26% according to the Egyptian official sources. That tells a lot about the credibility of the processes. Now the regime is detaining liberals, leftists and seculars in a brutual way and claiming that it is arresting the Islamists. Liar government...They are crushing secular movements to keep the Islamists as the only alternative for the current regime.
  • Misr Digital by Wael Abbas is publishing live today's events and Masr El Youm Radio is broadcasting live today's protests from the different spots with internviews. (Arabic)
  • International support is being rallied to show and express support for Egypt’s democracy and freedom tomorrow through pro-reform and democracy Egyptian Judges Club (Syndicate).
  • Egyptian Judges are calling upon all Egyptians to come and confirm their commitment to Egypt’s freedom in front of Cairo’s Supreme Court, down town. More details here.
  • International support is rallying everywhere in the world. This is really a cute map for all demos around the world. It does not include South Korea’s protest though. Cairo’s protest is extended to Beirut, London, Paris, Athens, The Hague, Seoul, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Toronto and Montreal and the list keeps growing.
  • On the eve of May 25, a protest is planned at Tahrir square, Cairo’s largest and main square in preparation for the big day.
  • Cairo lights will be turned off from 9-10 PM in solidarity with Egypt’s judges.
  • At the American University in Cairo, a protest is planned at the Greek Campus. The University is located at Tahrir Square.
  • Egypt’s popular movement Kefaya (Kifaya)‘s coordinator George Ishak is sending a message to all activists abroad who are showing their support to Egypt before May 25.
  • Protest of university professors in front of main hall of Cairo University calling for the release of detained faculty and students at 11:30 AM.
  • Another main protest in front of the Judges Club is planned at 1:30 PM.
  • The International Campaign in Solidarity with the Egyptian Judges has the timeline for all world demonstrations.

Riot police, thugs and half of Egypt's army are expected to be deployed in Cairo's streets as of tonight to stop the people who are preparing themselves to attend the protests. Thousands of solidiers are expected to be distributed all over the city to attack, if not kill the people, who took the liberity to show solidarity with the pro-democracy and reform judges. Needless to say that mass detentions are expected to anyone who dares to express his will in front of the oppression of the Egyptian police forces as means of terrorizing the Egyptian citizens.

Glenn Reynolds: Congress and Mubarak, above the law?

Opinions with Slate on MSNBC by Glenn Reynolds is featuring Mark Glaser's PBS' Media Shift article and is giving prominence to my quote on Egypt's political changes that was in Mark's article.

Reynolds is comparing what is happening on the ground in Egypt to the U.S. Congress.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mark Glaser is Digging in Egyptian blogging activism

Mark Glaser wrote this article about detained Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fatah and means used to free him from the blogosphere. In this PBS Media Shift article Egyptian blogging activism is very nicely highlighted with a bird's eye view on Egypt's political scene..

He interviewed me last week and the article has excerpts from my answers on reform and change in Egypt. Do not forget to check out Mark's article!

Washington, DC, Protest on May 25 in Solidarity with Egyptian Judges

Egyptian-Americans and Supporters of Democracy in Egypt to Protest at Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC, Thursday May 25, 2006.

Demonstrate along with activists in cities worldwide against the Egyptian regime’s quashing of basic freedoms. We demand independence for the Egyptian judiciary and the release of all detained protestors and activists, and protest Washington’s silence on this count. May 25 is the first anniversary of “black Wednesday,” the date of a referendum on cosmetic changes to the Egyptian electoral system. On that day peaceful protestors and journalists were violently attacked and sexually assaulted by police and government thugs.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 from 12 noon to 1 p.m.

In front of the Egyptian Embassy, 3521 International Court, NW, Washington DC 20008. (Metro: Van Ness/UDC)

We support Egyptian judges who are fighting for the freedom to uphold the rule of law and honest elections.

We call for the release of Egyptian political activists from jail – 700 of them, of all political and ideological stripes, have been arrested in the last month and treated brutally by Mubarak's security services simply for protesting against the regime and calling for democracy.
We protest Washington's silence towards the repression its closest Arab ally is conducting against peaceful dissent. We believe that the continuation of the status quo is harmful to the long term interests of both the United States and Egypt.

We demonstrate in solidarity with people around the world for the same cause on the same day, in Cairo, New York, London, Paris, Chicago, Seoul, Montreal and Athens.

The Alliance of Egyptian Americans, DC area student groups, the International Socialist Organization and individual supporters of democracy in Egypt.


Dr. Ibrahim M. Hussein
Alliance of Egyptian Americans
(301) 613 7337

Sumita Pahwa

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fight looms in U.S. Congress over aid to Egypt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Democratic lawmaker vowed to slash some of the $1.7 billion in aid to Egypt approved by a House panel on Friday as part of a foreign aid bill as Congress voiced growing irritation over Cairo's democratic setbacks.

The $20.7 billion foreign aid bill approved by a House of Representative Appropriations subcommittee contained the full amount the Bush administration sought for Egypt.

But subcommittee acted a day after the United States condemned Egypt for keeping opposition leader Ayman Nour in prison and accused the government of using harsh tactics against people demonstrating on his behalf.

Since 1979, the United States has pumped more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt, but many Republicans and Democrats are growing impatient with Cairo over the slow pace of democratic reform.

Earlier in the week, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch urged lawmakers to maintain Egypt's aid, calling Cairo a "formidable partner" in fighting terrorism. More...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Egypt's Regime Rejects Ayman Nour's Appeal

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's cassation court has rejected an appeal by jailed opposition Ghad party leader Ayman Nur and confirmed his five-year prison sentence.

The court president announced the decision after a hearing attended by foreign observers and journalists but from which the 41-year-old lawyer himself was absent.

Nur was sentenced to five years last December on charges of forging affidavits for the creation of his party in 2004. More

Egypt's pro-reform judges acquitted, amid police violence against protesters

A disciplinary panel in Egypt has reprimanded one pro-reform judge and cleared another of blowing the whistle on allegations of fraud last year.

Ahmad Mekki of the judges club said the panel reprimanded Hisham Bastawisi and cleared his colleague, Mahmoud Mekki.

The verdict came as Egyptian police clamped down on demonstrators supporting the judges in Cairo by sealing off the city centre and arresting over 200 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. More

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Pro-Reform Judge Hesham Bastawisi Suffers a Heart Attack

CAIRO (Reuters) - One of the judges at the center of a conflict between the Egyptian judiciary and the government had a heart attack on Wednesday, throwing into doubt the future of disciplinary proceedings against him.

In the Nile Delta town of Shibin el-Kom, police fired teargas to disperse protesters who gathered at the law courts in solidarity with the two judges and with a campaign for judicial independence from the executive, opposition leaders said.

Judges Club President Zakaria Abdel Aziz said judge Hesham Bastawisi was in serious condition in hospital after the heart attack at 3 a.m. Rights groups called on the authorities to postpone a disciplinary hearing set for Thursday. More

Religious Freedom and Diversity have no place in Egypt

Court suspends ruling recognising Bahai rights

CAIRO, 16 May 2006 (IRIN) - Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court decided on 15 May to suspend the implementation of an earlier lower court ruling that allowed Bahais to have their religion recognised on official documents.

"While [we are] disappointed by the decision to suspend the administrative court ruling…it is important to note that the Supreme Administrative Court has yet to decide on the merits of the case," read a press statement issued by the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Private Rights (EIPR).

The earlier ruling, made on 4 April, was passed after a case was filed by a Bahai couple whose official documentation – on which their affiliation to Bahaism was stated – had been confiscated by the state. The ruling quickly became the epicentre of controversy in parliament, led by members of both the ruling National Democratic Party and the banned-but-tolerated Muslim Brotherhood, after which the interior ministry quickly filed an appeal to overturn the ruling. More

Egypt's Regime Warns Against Street Protests

CAIRO, Egypt - Egypt warned Tuesday it would deal with unauthorized street protests as violations of the law, suggesting police would likely arrest activists if they demonstrate again this week in support of two pro-reform judges facing disciplinary procedures.

The warning from the Interior Ministry followed clashes last week in downtown Cairo when thousands of riot police beat and chased demonstrators supporting the judges who blew the whistle on electoral fraud in last year's parliamentary vote. Authorities arrested 255 people. More

EU calls Egypt's police operation "disproportionate" and questions arrests

The European Union called the police operation "disproportionate" and questioned arrests made under emergency laws that allow detentions without warrants and imprisoning people for months without charge.

"The European Union calls on the Egyptian government to allow civil society activists and other political forces to express themselves freely, to permit peaceful demonstrations and freedom of assembly and to maintain public order by transparent and proportionate legal procedure," said a statement from officials in Austria, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

The 25-nation EU said it hoped Egypt would not extend the emergency laws beyond 2008, noting that President Hosni Mubarak had promised to repeal the measures and ensure they were used only to combat terrorism, not target political opponents. Egypt renewed the emergency laws last month. More

Friday, May 12, 2006

Plainclothes Police Savagely Beat Pro-Reform Protesters in Egypt

One more time, the Egyptian regime brutally attacks protesters that are supporting the pro-reform judges. Pictures speak for themselves...Where does in the world still protesters are treated like this?
Previously more attacks....
Egyptian Regime is Getting Bloody Wild, Blogger Activist Alaa and Others arrested May 7, 06
Egyptian police Attacks Peaceful Protesters, One Judge Wounded and 15 Detained April 27, 06
Pro-reform Activists Attacked Again in Egypt! July 24, 2005

Meeting Joshua Muravchik

Last week I accepted a very kind lunch invitation from the Joshua Muravchik and Golnar Oveyssi from the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

I was at the AEI on time, I did not want to give the impression that Egypytians have lousy schedules, that's only between you and me. The place is so elegant and filled with a certain grace. May be I just got used to the practical style of offices in the U.S. The AEI is different somehow.

During our lunch, I had the pleasure of shaking hands with the President of AEI, Christopher DeMuth ,and one of his guests. Josh introduced me as an Egyptian blogger whose name is "Freedom for Egyptians". The President immediately refered to Josh's new article on Egypt, "The Trials of Ayman Nour" which was published on May 8 on the Wall Street Journal. As I fully understand how Nour was treated with injustice, but I took the opportunity to divert the attention to Egypt's current battle of democracy and freedom. I had to mention the honorable Egyptian judges from Judges Club (Syndicate) who are defying with courage a very unrelenting regime.

Muravchik wrote his Wall Street Journal 's article in anticipation to Ayman Nour's appeal due on May 18. As he is relating the different dimentions of Nour's case, he is also refering to the Judges demands for judicial independence following the parliamentary elections and to the renewal of the repressive emergency law. Though the article's main focus is the trial of Ayman Nour and his deteriorating health contidtions, it ties the case to the whole political scene in Egypt which I believe are inseparable.

Josh promised to write about the Egyptian judges' battle against the regime in his upcoming article about Egypt. And by the way, he visited Cairo last March and he believes Egyptians are very friendly people. In Cairo, no one can never feel alone. Take a walk in the street, anyone takes the liberity to approach you and talk to you. If you go window shopping, there is always someone at door asking you to come in. And actually, when I used to live in Cairo, I was fed up, I used not to answer anyone. But my new hobby when I go to Cairo is to almost grab every opportunity to talk to people. I probably miss my people.

I had so much fun talking to Josh and Golnar that day. It is so exciting to find in this big globe some few knowledgeable people who are showing understanding and compassion to the Egyptians people and ready to help.

Egyptian Judges Dossier

Dear readers,

In case you did not notice. I added on the right side of my blog links to my previous blog posts on the Egyptian judges from the Judges club since before the start of both the presidential and parliamentarian elections in Egypt and later the rigged results for the elections until the disciplinary hearings to senior justices Mahmoud Mekki and Hisham Bastawisi this month and the police state attacks on Egyptian citizens supporting the Judges.

Your support is invaluable!
Freedom for Egyptians

Building Iraq against all Odds

As the news takes the opportunity to highlight the blood shed caused by terrorism in Iraq everyday, I would like also to grab the opportunity to write about some positive news. Some Iraqis are rolling up their sleeves to build the new Iraq despite every day deadly threats.

Despite the ongoing difficulties in Iraq, the American Islamic Congress office in Iraq continues to assist Iraqi women civic leaders. The Iraq-based staff provides leadership training and organizational development guidance to 15 women-led organizations working on human rights, women's rights, and minority rights. They are also opening resource centers in Basra and Karbala for community leaders and the general public to use in facilitating the organizations' efforts. Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director, will be in Iraq soon to review the project.

Zainab Al-Suwaij is part of an established Iraqi religious family, Ms. Al-Suwaij was born in Basra, Iraq. While visiting Kuwait in 1990 she experienced Saddam Hussein's invasion, forcing her to return to Iraq. There, she participated in the failed 1991 Intifadah uprising against Hussein (read her memoir of the uprising). After the Gulf War, she fled to the United States to complete her studies. She has worked as a refugee case manager and a teaching fellow in Arabic at Yale. Read her articles on Muslim-American women, the role of contradictions in the Muslim world, and inclusive American patriotism.

I met Zainab in reality, before that I only knew her through TV programs. I thought I will be meeting the same serious sober person on TV, but in reality she is very funny and whom you ll feel you knew her before. I am sure with serious sincere Iraqi people like Zainab, Iraq will continue to reap the fruits of democracy and freedom.

In the picture Zainab with George Cloony during the Sudan Rally in DC, April 30, campaigning for ending Darfur human disaster.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Heads Up on Egyptian Blogger Alaa’s Arrest

Alaa Ahmed Seif El Islam, Egyptian blogger and founder of the Egyptian bloggers aggregator was detained on Sunday May 7, 2006 in front of Bab El Khaleq court in Cairo by an emergency law’s police force for trying to support another number of detained activists in a court session after their earlier detention in pro-reform protests meant to give support to Egyptian judges.

Alaa and some others who are considered witnesses to the case of the earlier batch of detainees who were also detained according to emergency law that was renewed this month wanted to attend the court session and peacefully show support.

  • Alaa is blogging from prison, yes he is check here. It is too late to silence free voices. We will keep shouting and screaming with you.
  • Reporters without Borders, press freedom organization, is responding to Alaa’s detention and expressing support. Alaa won RSF’s special award for best blog last year.
  • Earlier, Human Rights Watch condemned the detentions of peaceful protesters where Alaa was rounded up.
  • Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance, Hamsa, is encouraging all free voices to sign a petition to free Alaa that will be sent to the Egyptian Ambassador in Washington, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, Egypt's Interior Minister Habib El Adly, US Ambassador to Egypt Francis Ricciardone and US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch.
  • Italian blogger and friend Stefania and other Italian bloggers are launching a campaign to release Alaa. They are starting by an appeal that Stefania posted on some websites, that will include the forum of Il Corriere della Sera, run by Magdi Allam. Stefania will send me the links, stay tuned and check her blog as well.
  • Egyptian protesters and Alaa get support of power blogger Gateway Pundit against the bloody attacks and random detentions of the Egyptian police.
  • Mary Joyce, editor of digital democracy for the developing world is asking everyone to google-bomb for Alaa meaning that bloggers link the word "Egypt" to the official Free Alaa blog ( in their posts, in order to move the Free Alaa blog up in the Google rankings. The goal is that when someone googles "Egypt," the first page they find is the Free Alaa blog. Examples are here, here and here.
  • Egyptian bloggers writing about Alaa's arrest in English are Sandmonkey and Mostafa.
  • Do not forget to check Manal’s, Alaa’s wife, blog posts during her family crisis after Alaa’s detention.
  • Finally, updates will be frequently posted on “Free Alaa” blog. Placing “Free Alaa’s banner” (in Arabic) is not also a bad idea.
    • Freedom for Egyptians and Alaa

      Tuesday, May 09, 2006

      Human Rights Watch Condemns Alaa's arrest and the more than 100 Political Detainees

      (New York, May 10, 2006) – Egyptian security officials arrested 11 more political reform activists, including an award-winning blogger, Alaa Ahmed Seif al-Islam, Human Rights Watch said today. This brings to more than 100 the number of people detained over the past two weeks for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

      Approximately half of those arrested are members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were putting up posters and distributing leaflets protesting the April 30 extension of emergency rule for another two years. The Emergency Law has been in effect since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in October 1981. The others were detained for demonstrating in support of a group of judges campaigning for greater judicial independence.

      Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division said “These new arrests indicate that President Mubarak intends to silence all peaceful opposition.” Full text....

      Monday, May 08, 2006

      Human Rights Watch Responds to Egypt's Regime Mass Detentions

      (Cairo, May 5, 2006) — Human Rights Watch has said the Egyptian government should immediately release scores of peaceful protesters arrested over the past 10 days solely for exercising their right to free expression and assembly.

      On the night of April 24, the government dispatched thousands of security forces to surround a few dozen protestors peacefully demonstrating in Cairo. Over the course of four days, security forces arrested at least 51 of the protestors, who were demonstrating in support of a group of judges who have called for judicial independence and criticized fraud and intimidation in the parliamentary elections held several months ago. Read more...

      Sunday, May 07, 2006

      "Reporters without Borders" Promises to Help Alaa

      Read the comments section for this blog post on Egyptian blogger Alaa 's detention together with others today. Julien, from Reporters without Borders has been a great support for freedom of expression cause in Egypt, will see what he and RSF can do for Alaa. But it is not only Alaa, it is also Malek who is another blogger. He was detained one week before Alaa. Thanks RSF for your continuous support.

      The Egyptian Regime is Getting Bloody Wild, Blogger Activist Alaa and Others arrested

      A wide campaign for mass arrests for Egyptian citizens who are defending the rights of other detainees and the right for an independent judiciary in Egypt has been launched by the regime of Mubarak to clamp down on any chance for change towards reform and democracy.

      Egyptian blogger Alaa Ahmed Seif el Islam was arrested today together with another 14 during a demonstration in Cairo in front of the penal court in Bab Al Khaleq. The first batch of detainees which was arrested two weeks ago were brought before the attorney general. Alaa and others went to the court to show their solidarity and support. Another blogger was detained a week ago, his name is Malek.

      Since the beginning of the year, the Judges Club in Cairo and Alexandria has started a nation-wide movement calling for an independent judiciary. The current judiciary system is ruled by the strong grip of the executive authority of the regime of Mubarak. The members of the Judges Club could not tolerate taking the rigging of the parliamentary elections in November/December as a normal procedure to fool the Egyptians and the world. When they tried to take their responsibility and uncover the rigging of the elections they were crushed by the regime and some of them were slapped on the faces in polling stations. The regime made it clear to the Egyptian people and to the judges that there is no will but the of the President.

      The Judges Club ran the only democractic free elections that took place in Egypt where the pro-reform, pro-independent judiciary list won the elections, ousting all the Pro-regime out of the board of members of the Syndicate.

      The regime could not tolerate any sector or any branch of society to gain power bearing in mind that the Egyptian people of different backgrounds stood behind the judges's call for an independent judiciary. Leftists, islamists, rightists, seculars are supportive of this judges' call.

      Everytime the Judges Club's General Assembly convenes it became a very normal scene to find Egyptians gathering in front or near by the meeting's venue.

      Following the setbacks of the presidential and legislative elections which I would call a farce, Egyptians had nothing to cling to. They knew they are stuck with a President who wants to rule for life and a cooked-up representation in the parliament.

      Then came the rise of sincere faithful Egyptians represented in the Judges Club. It was an unexpected move for the regime which thought that after the legislative elections control will be back and people will be suppressed as has been the case for the past 25 years. However, the plans and expectations of the regime were proven wrong. Masses of Egyptians are surrounding the judges with their support which is increasing day by day.

      Now the uprise is on the rise and the Mubarak regime cannot take it. The result is that security forces are lashing out in all directions detaining anyone who would open his/her mouth in any street in Egypt using very arbitaray procedures, thanks to the renewal of the Emergency Law.

      Since the dawn of April 24, according to the counts of the websites that I read about the detentions, I believe that not less than 80 Egyptians have been detained because of their support to the judges.

      One year ago a very trustworthy person of an opinion which I respect and this person happens to be also a political writer told me "this regime will be thrown away with blood". I didn't want to believe him, but I am seeing blood coming! I am saying it now with my eyes filled with tears.

      Egyptian blogosphere is boiling with anger today here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here

      Saturday, May 06, 2006

      Freedom for Egyptians T-Shirt for my Birthday

      This is my favorite belated birthday present for the year. I have received my blog t-shirt for my birthday that I celebrated last week of April in Cairo. I got this wonderful T-shirt as a surprise gift. I could not let it go without sharing it with you. I am not sure whether I ll be able to wear or not though. I think I am too shy.

      My sitemeter says I am above 103,000 however, I do not know the reason why neocounter is still 97,000+. However, I still love the neocounter for all the flags and names of countries it displays:) It is a source of pride for me to have over 165 nationalities visiting my blog.

      Thursday, May 04, 2006

      Eternal Question: What will the U.S. do with Egypt?

      During my stay in Egypt, I was asked this question from people who are really concerned about Egypt’s unknown future and afraid of President Mubarak’s lashing out in all directions. Well I am not so sure I am the right person to answer this question first because some of those who asked me are better informed than me. Living in the U.S. does not mean that I dine with President Bush at the White House to learn about the U.S. foreign policy. I get the news as they come as everybody else.

      I felt from those who asked me this question that there is a certain hope and reliance on the U.S. to press for more political freedoms in Egypt. But as some asked hoping to know some positive news, many believe the U.S. has given up on Egypt's political freedom and that they should not rely on the U.S. for pressing the Egyptian regime. I know that Americans may never be talking about any country with reliance, but as a matter of fact many other peoples in the world look at the U.S. with hope for help at the political level.

      It is difficult for me to explain the slackness of the US administration to pressure the Egyptian regime to open up for more political freedoms. No one in Egypt knows why the U.S. is being so mild in its responses towards the continuous violations made by the Egyptian regime against political freedoms and civil liberties. My answer is that Egypt is not a priority at the time being and that really in my own opinion contradicts President Bush’s pledges to push for more political freedoms in the Middle East. I might be right and I might be wrong. I know that dictatorships are not welcomed in the Middle East in the context of the United States war on terror. Tyrannical regime in the Middle East were working hard to protect their seats while failing to develop their peoples and societies which did not save some of the Middle Eastern citizens falling into the trap of terrorist networks that are not necessarily operating in the Middle East butmay be have links to it. I am not seeing the Middle East as a dangerous region as many are trying to depict it, but I am seeing it a region with huge potential to develop given all its human and wealth resources.

      Seeing the political scene in Egypt while one set back after the other is happening made so many who believed the U.S. is pressuring the Egyptian regime to have some doubts about the present and future intentions of the U.S.

      Since President Mubarak took office early September for the fifth term to complete 30 years in office, disasters have been falling one after the other causing huge setbacks to political freedoms and civil liberties in Egypt.

      The keenness of the regime on success of the ruling National Democratic Party candidates in the legislative elections gave way to the success to so many Muslim Brotherhood candidates. And the elections were rigged in favor of striking a balance between the MB and the NDPP.

      The elections was marred with violence between the police and the voters and mass arrests, not to mention that EU monitors admitted elections were rigged.

      In September opposition leader Ayman Nour's immunity was lifted by the attorny general. In December he lost the rigged legislative elections and was imprisioned for five years . Two weeks ago, Nour was banned from writing his weekly article after writing an article about the President's son.

      Then came the liquidation of the pro-reform Judges Club members after they complained of the rigged process of the legislative elections and their call for an independent judiciary in Egypt. Immediately, the immunity of two leading judges were lifted as a punishment and they were referred to a disciplinary hearing. Last week supporters were detained and one judge was beaten in the street as a punishment for expressing their demands.

      Local electoins that were due in April were postponed for two years. Emergency law was renewed for another two years.

      Freedom of the press law has been in the drawers for years waiting for endoresment with no luck. Journalists are still getting prison sentences.

      One disaster after the other is happening with no accountability and no government intention to bring responsibles before justice.

      Sectarian violence is erupting against Copts and terrorism is finding its way to Egypt.

      I do not know what else can happen to our Egypt. Egypt has been a long standing ally to the United States and played pivotel roles at different levels.

      But as I said I am not the person who can answer this question, but may be some of my American friends may have an answer this question that I carried all the way from so many Egyptians. What will the U.S. do with Egypt?

      Wednesday, May 03, 2006

      RSF's Annual Report Criticizes Egypt's Clamp Down on Online Media

      Reporters without Borders' Internet Annual Report 2006 puts Egypt on the spot with regards to its continuous clamp down on online or internet media. Last October Kareem Amer was arrested for his controversial writings about Islam and later was dismissed from his Al Azhar University.

      Last week of April, another blogger activist was arrested for his support to the pro-reform judges from the Judges Club in Egypt. On Egypt from the RSF's Annual Report.

      "The government has taken steps since 2001 to
      control online material.Though censorship is
      minor, some criticism of the government is not
      welcome. The government seems unsure what to
      do about the explosion of blogs, being more used
      to pressuring the traditional media.A blogger was
      arrested for the first time in late October 2005
      because of the content of his blog." Full Report....

      Three Months Later a New Bird Flu Case in Egypt

      Why is it difficult to control bird flu in Egypt?

      "Egypt reported a new human case of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, bringing to 13 the total number of Egyptians who have been infected by the deadly virus.

      The health ministry said late Tuesday that the new case was detected in a 27-year-old woman who was infected by poultry from her domestic rearing in the Nile Delta governorate of Menufiya. "

      People have no idea about the magnitude of the disaster that could happen if such an epidemic attacks. I think convincing people to stop rearing chickens at home is like telling Egyptians to cross streets at the pedestrian traffic lights because if cars hit they can really kill.

      In my neighbourhood in Cairo, I saw two very popular restaurants, serving chicken as their speciality, ran out of business. Now closed...

      Most of the disovered cases happen outside the Greater Cairo area where not necessarily chicken are reared at homes except for some informal areas.

      With Egypt's centralized government prevention is never better than the cure. It is very difficult for the government to reach out for these rural areas where cases are discovered. It is true there is a speedy response to emerging cases but prevention or raising awarness is not vigourously pushed for to get rid the virus as many countries did.

      Three months have passed since the discovery of the first cases and still Egypt is struggling to contain the virus.

      As there is no credible communications between the people and the government, Egyptians living in the rural areas find it so difficult to believe the government when it tells them to get rid of their chicken at home. Rural areas residents eat those chicken, some of them sell them and they cannot see the danger probably because high illiteracy rates in these areas make it difficult to convince them. If they get rid of their chicken what is the alternative. You cannot also tell them, oh please check the WHO website for further information.

      The problem does not only lie of protecting the people's life or curbing the virus to infect on human to human basis but also to maintain a healthy animal life in the country.

      I was keen on watching the Egyptian channels last month, something that was irritating my family because they never watch them. There was no one single time when I went through programs and I found one speaking about the Bird Flu.

      The second question that really puzzles, are there enough educated people or cultured about the bird flu who are going to the vast areas of the rural areas in Egypt to raise awarness. I will say here from the Ministry of Health because the government was smart enough to kill the activities of the civil society or the citizens' initiatives in general. Where are the volunteers and pharmaceutical companies in Egypt whom can be used to raise awarness and provide needed medical supplies if needed... where are the private sector initiatives...possibly busy around the centralized government in Cairo...

      Egypt reports two new human cases of bird flu
      Egypt Reports Four Human Cases of Bird Flu
      BREAKING: First Human Death from Bird Flu in Egypt
      Bird Flu in Egypt: 24 Provinces out 26 confirmed Cases
      Poultry Breeders Demonstrate in Cairo Over Bird Flu Boycotts
      Mass Slaughter, State of Emergency Declared Over Avian Flu Spread ...
      New Suicide Bombers, Egypt Attacked..

      Monday, May 01, 2006

      Egyptian Judges Revolution against Oppression and Tyranny

      I am proud to be one of the early Egyptians who wrote about the new emerging revolution of the Egyptian judges back in July 2005 and the dire need for supporting them in December 2005 before the judges’ massacre started early this year. And I was right, it has started against the judges and it is taking many Egyptians on the way in mass detentions. Detentions have started last week April and rounded around 52 Egyptians.

      August 2005, the honorable judges set their conditions for supervising the elections and their demands were overruled and the elections process was rigged. The demands led to a growing tension between the Judges and the regime. Following the elections’ results, the Egyptian judges were outspoken over the rigged results, something that was not so much appreciated by the Egyptian regime and President Mubarak.

      In February 2006, in an apparent escalation with the judges, judges Mahmoud Mekki and Hisham Bastawisi’s immunity was lifted in preparation to refer them to a disciplinary hearing for being outspoken about the right to an independent Judiciary and the irregularities that marred the last legislative elections in November and December 2005.

      In March, popular rallying began in the streets of Cairo in support of the Egyptian judges demands for independent judiciary.

      In April, the regime takes the chance to clamp down on Egyptians who are showing support to the demands of judges. Around 52 Egyptian protesters in solidarity with the judges were detained during the last week of April. One of them is an activist blogger called Malek.

      On April 23, I went to the sit-in site in front of the Judges Club. Some Egyptian Copts joined the judges in their Easter day when they were supposed to be celebrating with families. At dawn, April 24, a security force attacked and detained the peaceful protestors destroying their signs and detained several of them. When Judge Mahmoud Hamza tried to save the protestors he was beaten and dragged in the street. Egyptian riot police stole his gun and cell while beating him.

      April 27, on the day of the disciplinary hearing for judges judges Mahmoud Mekki and Hisham Bastawisi, popular rallies gathered in the streets of Cairo's down town. Riot police cordoned the protesters and started beating them with sticks.

      After the hearing of two judges who had accused the judiciary of helping to rig elections was adjourned to May 11, their syndicate (Judges Club) held an assembly during which they vowed to keep up the pressure on President Hosni Mubarak.

      In a statement released after their meeting, the judges called for "democracy through free elections which allow a real change of regime."

      They also called for "the abolition of all exception laws, including the state of emergency, and for the freedom to form political parties without any restrictions."

      And here we go the swirl of violence is starting with an adequate procedure. It is battle of survival of the regime. More to come...

      Picture by AP: Egyptian riot police crushing protesters.