Prisoners of Conscience in Arab World
|Friday, March 7,2008 17:23|
|By Nadine Abdullah|
The delegation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared there is no prisoner of conscience or military prisoners in Mauritania after visiting main prisons and police affiliated detention centers in many Mauritanian cities.
Leila Zerrougui, the Chair of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and head of the delegation, said that such kinds of prisoners are not found in Mauritania , contrary to the Arab world .
Good News in the Midst of Bad News
Dr. Essam El-Erian, a top leader in the Muslim Brotherhood group, said in statements to Ikhwanweb, an atmosphere of freedoms can undoubtedly help the nation realize its aspirations. "Using various methods of repression against critics can"t lead to this" he said, hoping that the aura of freedoms dominates the entire Arab world.
He said also that emptying Mauritanian prisons of prisoners of conscience came after the Mauritania junta got to know that rule is not a gain. This junta met its promises of carrying out free and elections after which they voluntarily stepped down from power.
Al Erian praised the Mauritanian people and its rulers, lamenting that, except for Mauritania . It is very rare to find an Arab country that contains prisoners of conscience in this age. He said also that there are some small Arab Gulf countries which have no prisoners of conscience although they don"t have the same ceiling of freedom that the Mauritanian people are enjoying through free and fair elections and a circulation of power.
Al Erian saw that it is difficult to have a remake of the Mauritanian experience in most Arab countries because of the prevalent tyranny and corruption wielded by Arab regimes. The presence of such authoritarian regimes led to backwardness and led to filling prisons with prisoners of conscience.
Impossible under such monopoly of power
Mohamed Zara, director of the Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners (HRCAP), said to Ikhwanweb that the fact that there are no prisoners of conscience in Mauritanian prisons is very rare in the Arab world. He praised this attitude from Mauritanian authorities, adding that prisons of other Arab countries are full of prisoners of conscience in cases related to politics and freedom of speech.
Mohamed Zara saw that unfortunately this healthy political atmosphere in Mauritania towards prisoners of conscience can never be created in Egypt- or even in the entire Arab Region. He attributed this to the fact that most Arab regimes experience a monopoly of power in all political systems- a ruling party, a ruling Emir, a ruling monarch, a ruling regime.
He added that political rows can be dramatically curbed if there is a peaceful transfer of power and a real practice of democracy. He confirmed that the current political monopoly of power in Arab countries spawns political rows and other exceptional issues that raise tensions between the regime and various political parties and groups.
We will remain in this vicious circle
For his part, Dr. Amr Al Shobaki, an expert at Al-Ahram Center for political an strategic studies, saw that lacking prisoners of conscience in Mauritania is logically a result of the presence of a democratically elected regime that legitimately reached power by the Mauritanian people. He pointed out that Mauritania is the only Arab country that witnessed a military coup for the sake of real democracy.
Al Shobaki saw that the UN delegation"s report about Mauritania is an important message from a small country like Mauritania to other Arab countries in the hope that they learn and benefit from its democratic experience.
Under the current regime in Egypt , there is no evidence that Egypt may to respond to or be affected by this healthy atmosphere in Mauritania , said Al Shobaki to Ikhwanweb.
"The idea of staging a military coup for the sake of democracy can"t be carried out in other Arab countries", said Al Shobaki. "Thus the Arab countries will remain in this vicious circle unless a real popular pressure is carried out on regimes in our Arab region to press for carrying out real political reforms that may lead to a democratic political regime.