Mobilizing for Egyptian Democracy
Mobilizing for Egyptian Democracy
Monday, May 3,2010 07:19
By Nour Scardina
US, May 2, 2010 (Pal Telegraph; by Rachael Rudolph)-  The Islamic Human Rights Commission, a UK-based NGO that holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, embarks on an international campaign to bring awareness to the Egyptian Government’s use of Emergency laws against opposition members, activists and bloggers. The Emergency laws have been used most against the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and strongest opposition party.  Members of the Brotherhood won 88 seats in the 2005 Parliamentary actions, thereby forming the largest opposition bloc.

Emergency laws have been in effect since the assassination of Anwar El Sadat in 1981.  According to the International Federation of Human Rights, the laws suspend parts of the Egyptian Constitution to allow the government to restrict freedom of assembly and grant the power to arrest, detain and search individuals without due process afforded under the Criminal Procedure Code.

It was under the Emergency laws that Egyptian State Security Courts and the Supreme State Security Court were established.  The courts hear cases related to violations of rulings made by the long term President and head of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Hosni Mubarak.  The NDP is expected to face tough competition in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, while the aging Mubarak, who is not in good health, will not be running again in the upcoming Presidential elections.

While Mubarak has not appointed a successor, it has long been assumed that his son Gamal Mubarak was being primed for the position.  The ailing Mubarak, the crisis of leadership of the National Democratic Party, which has ruled in a manner that is in no way democratic, and the anti-Palestinian and pro-Israeli policies of the current Egyptian government have ushered in unrest among young and old Egyptians alike.  More importantly, there appears to be a growing unity among the opposition parties, members and activists alike; Egyptians young and old, from the far right to the far left, are all calling for change and reform.

The call for change and reform in the Egyptian arena has led the current Egyptian government to use the State Emergency Laws to charge, arrest and detain opposition figures, activists and bloggers.  Recently, the Egyptian State Security charged 5 opposition group members and referred them to the Supreme Security Court.  The courts established under the Emergency Laws are in clear violation of the Egyptian Constitution, as well as international law.

The Egyptian Constitution guarantees that all citizens are equal and entitled to be tried by a competent judge and to have a fair and impartial trial.  International law affords the right to due process by all individuals.  It is in this light that the Islamic Human Rights Commission seeks to bring awareness and call for international mobilization for the protection of the democratic due process rights of Egyptian opposition members, activists and bloggers who are being wrongfully arrested and detained out of fear that the current Egyptian government and its party members will lose in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.  Change and reform is coming in Egypt; the government in Egypt should embrace democracy rather than ruling dictatorially.  The international community and states therein that promote democracy should call for, aid and support the democratic call for change and reform in Egypt.