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The president’s promises and night-time speeches

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O president, just because you have forgotten your promises, doesn’t mean that we ever will.

6-3 Gamal EidThere is an old Egyptian adage that goes: “Night-time speeches, greased in butter, melt away when the morning comes.” Even he who utters such promises does not believe them to be true, and no sooner does the sun rise do they fade into the wind.

I think of this adage and reminisce about the promises I have heard President Mohamed Morsy make, many of them made unexpectedly in the night.

How many promises have you made O president? Many, both before and after you rose to power. However how many of these promises have you lived up to and implemented? Unfortunately very few.

Morsy claimed that he would, “seek the aid of and protect Egyptian civil society, restructure the Constituent Assembly, vindicate the blood of the martyrs, and be the president of all Egyptians”…many are the promises of President Morsy.

I will now focus on the most important of all these promises.

Morsy promised that the shedding of the blood of Egypt’s martyrs would not go unpunished. The president repeated this many times, claiming that he would respect the rule of law and Egypt’s judiciary, and not seek to sabotage or postpone the sentences of those accused and convicted of killing protesters.

However what about issues that have not yet been ruled upon? What about the extent to which Morsy has or has not utilised his power to expedite court proceedings regarding other issues previously frozen or tossed out by Egypt’s public or Military prosecutors? In particular, issues related to the scrambling of Egypt’s telecommunications networks?

My colleagues and I had previously put pressure on the public prosecutor to pursue this issue, we being victims of Egypt’s scrambled telephone networks on 28 January, 2011. That day, I had been injured but was unable to call for medical treatment because of the lack of a functioning network. I went two hours before receiving any treatment before I happened upon a doctor among the throng of protesters who could attend to my wounds.

Many people died that day because they couldn’t obtain medical treatment, the result of the country’s telecommunications having been shut down.

We began calling upon the government to pursue this issue starting in February 2011, however the public prosecutor stalled for two months before beginning an investigation. We had to push the issue in five different offices within the public prosecutor’s bureau before any action was taken, however this did not happen until after the issue itself had turned into a full blown scandal.

Our goal was not to determine which branch of government was responsible for shutting down Egypt’s telephone networks, but rather identify the specific person who gave the order.

After investigations had been completed, the case was ready to go to court. However once again, the public prosector stalled, refusing to present the case before a judge.

Four more months passed with no success. Worse, when I confronted the public prosecutor himself on the issue, he said that it involved a high ranking officer from the military, and that he was therefore turning the case over to a military prosecutor!

The case was transferred to a military prosecutor while there was still blood in the refrigerator; an expression used when the judiciary wants to bury an issue. Naturally then, efforts to convince the prosecutor to produce any of the accused were met with failure.

And then came Morsy, with absolute power in his hands, promising to honour, protect and vindicate those martyrs.

We proceeded to send the president’s office a fax containing all the details of the trial, making a copy for ourselves to serve as evidence of the fact that we had done so.

We begged the president to take action on the issue, to live up to his promises to unfreeze the proceedings and take the case to court.

However he did nothing. We repeated our demands over and over, but the president simply played deaf.

Where are the president’s promises now? What does one call sabotaging justice?

O president, just because you have forgotten your promises, doesn’t mean that we ever will. We will remember our rights and how you chose to ignore them, as you ignore the blood of Egypt’s martyrs. And rest assured, that from here on out, we will consider you complicit in their deaths.

About the author

Gamal Eid

Gamal Eid

Gamal Eid is a prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer and executive director of the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI)


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