On the level of parliamentary work, and according to the laws passed and related to the legislative framework for legislative elections, on July 11, 2020, applications for candidacy for Senate membership elections began, and will continue for a period of 8 days until July 18 with 27 courts nationwide, including the submission of the medical statements results.
Sixteen political parties have agreed to run for the Senate elections, due to start in August, with a unified national electoral list at the Republic level, and it was agreed to coordinate in the provinces at the individual seat level, which is headed by the “Future of the Nation” party, which has a parliamentary majority in the House of Representatives. It includes 3 new parties to its consensual list, namely the Freedom Parties, the Free Egyptians, and the Conference. The list currently includes alongside the Future of the Nation, the delegation, the Republican People, Tomorrow, the Assembly, Justice, Reform and Development, the Egyptian Democratic, the Will of a Generation, the Protectors of the Homeland, Modern Egypt the national Movement, as well as the Coordination of Party Youth.
It is noteworthy that the head of the Future National Party is the former president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Counselor Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek. He was known for his pro-regime decisions in Egypt. The matter is likely to be later appointed as the president of one of the two chambers of the legislature.
Which raises a serious question: Are we in the process of a new political scene which is entirely prone to the system ??
One of the elements of the answer is reflected in the reactions of the political scene. The Protectors of the Homeland Party decided not to participate in the list of the Future National Party, in a consensual way, to contest the Senate elections, in opposition to allocating 8 seats to the party within the list that it sees as ” Protectors of the Homeland” for its role in the political street. Sources within the party revealed that it would come out during a later time, the statement of the Free Egyptians not to run for the elections for the Senates.
The political scene in Egypt is formed according to the wishes of the regime and its supporters, so that it has become impossible for the emergence of balanced opposition voices in the institution representing the Egyptian people.
The Human Rights Harvest in Egypt: Prison Harvest and the pandemic Harvest between the Charge of Freedom and the acquittal of the former regime men
The Court of Cassation decided in a final ruling, and it now affirmed the acquittal of the former Minister of Interior, Major General Habib Al-Adly, and fined him 500 pounds in the case known in the media as “corruption of the Ministry of the Interior.” We also cannot fail to recall here that the Court of Cassation had previously ruled the acquittal of the ousted President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, the Minister of Interior mentioned previously and his six aides who were charged with the murder of protesters in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Court of Cassation rejected Mahmoud Makkawi’s challenge to repeat his trial procedures in the case of the events of the Federal Palace in which the defenseless Mohamed Morsi and others were accused of torture and firing, in which the journalist Al-Husseini Abu Dhaif and others were killed, supporting the aggravated prison for 20 years, and placing him under police supervision for a period of time not exceeding 5 years.
The Court of Cassation ruled, in a final and decisive judgment, upholding the life sentence against the Muslim Brotherhood Leader Mohamed Badie and others in the case known to the media as “incidents of enemy violence”.
On the other hand, related to the rights of women in Egypt, the government headed by Dr. Mustafa Madbouly approved a draft law to protect the privacy of the victim’s statements in those cases. Counselor Sameh Abdel Hakam, President of the Court of Appeal, stressed that the draft law on protecting the confidentiality of victims ’data of harassment and sexual assault crimes will contribute greatly to uncovering harassment crimes and punish the accused for the misdeeds he committed against a female, and he hoped that witnesses would also be supported and protected through issuing witness and whistleblower protection law.
In parallel, the investigation authorities released Muhammad Hashem, the owner of the Meret Printing and Publishing House, on a 5,000-pound bail, following his accusation of harassing a young poet. The latter accused him of indecent assault on the record No. 2079 of 2020 Abdeen. Hashem’s lawyer denied all charges and the accused said before the investigation authorities: “The accusations attributed to me are incorrect, and the complainant came to the Merit House that he owns more than once to publish articles and poems after the mentioned date and that the charges are baseless.”
The Freedom of Thought and Expression Foundation has announced its decision that the advisory board of trustees assume the responsibility of appointing and defining the powers of a fact-finding committee on any sexual violations and harassment or administrative abuses within the institution or by its current or former employees. The Board of Trustees is hoping that the truth commission will be formed before the end of the week.
In this direction and in two other incidents, the Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Centre (DAAM) issued an explanatory statement on the reported incidents of harassment attributed to an Egyptian opposition lawyer, activist, and human rights defender who stayed for a period in Tunisia, stressing that his ties to the matter ended since 2018, while it cooperates with the Democratic Women’s Association in checking the complaints that will be submitted in this regard. The Centre expressed its absolute and unconditional readiness to provide all possible assistance to victims/survivors of harassment incidents. In that, it commits itself to what it has always committed to defending the dignity of the human self and the value of women in our societies.
Biladi’s Center for Rights and Freedoms has also not missed issuing a statement regarding the facts attributed to one of the Center’s projects, and it cooperates, as stated in the statement contained here, with all the victims in order to guarantee their rights and redress them.
According to the Attorney General’s statement, the “Monitoring and Analysis Unit” of the “Statement Department in the Attorney General’s Office” has made demands for the girl “Amal Abdel Hamid” to re-investigate a person who had previously reported during 2018 that he had assaulted her by force, after she had found new evidence of the incident, requiring that she be able to establish the lineage of a child to whom she gave birth via a DNA analysis. This came after the lawsuit complained of was filed, and another was rejected to prove the child’s pedigree mentioned to him, and during the month of June, the complainant edited another report – after circulating several clips on social media, in which she reported that she had reached a witness about the incident she was subjected to and, accordingly, the “Public Prosecution” listened to it and to the witness of the incident, who confirmed that the accused informed him of his complaining position, and that the child to whom she gave birth is the prosecutor’s daughter. The counselor, the “Public Prosecutor,” ordered the arrest and interrogation of the accused and comparing the child’s fingerprint with the child’s fingerprint.
On the twelfth of July this month, the police managed, pursuant to the “Public Prosecution” order, to arrest the accused, and after his interrogation, the Public Prosecution ordered his seizure and presented it to the “Forensic Medicine Authority” the next day to take a sample of his genetic fingerprint and match it with the fingerprint of the child produced by the complainant. Investigations are being completed.
The phenomenon of harassment is a very rampant, in various areas, and it is a phenomenon of social, economic and cultural “authority” that must be addressed at all levels, provided that the political authority takes a real initiative in this direction. This level disrupts the authoritarian nature of the system, as a repressive authority cannot initiate a reform project in individual and collective consciousness that restores the value of the Egyptian person in general and the value of women in particular
Within the human rights harvest, the regime’s policy led to the pandemic being part of the policy of repression in Egypt. Egyptian journalist Mohamed Mounir died in a hospital in Cairo as a result of being infected with the emerging coronavirus, where he was in health isolation, days after his release. The Egyptian authorities had arrested Mounir, the 65-year-old last June 15, after his intervention with the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, on charges of spreading false news. During the period of his arrest, Mounir suffered from some symptoms, so he was transferred to the prison hospital after the intervention of the Press Syndicate.
On July 2, the State Security Prosecution decided to release Mounir, pending case No. 535 of 2020, after the Journalists Syndicate intervention, to release him, but he went to his home. A few days later, Mounir announced his deteriorating health condition through his page on Facebook, crying out and calling for his transfer to the hospital due to the difficulty in providing treatment places in Egypt at present due to the Corona pandemic.
The restrictions imposed on opposition parties and freedom of opinion and expression continue, with the Criminal Court deciding to renew the detention of Dr. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the head of the Strong Egypt Party, for 45 days pending investigations into case No. 440 of 2018, restricting the security of a supreme state.
While the Ministry of Health announced that the total number registered in Egypt with the Corona virus is 84,843 cases, including 26,135 cases that have been cured and discharged from isolation and quarantine hospitals, and 4,067 deaths, medical personnel continue to bleed in Egypt, despite their exceptional efforts in fighting the pandemic. According to the Egyptian Physicians Syndicate page, the number of doctors victims of resistance to the Corona virus has reached 116.
It is reported that members of the Medical Syndicate demanded the release of the doctors, “Muhammad Moataz Mandour Al-Fawal, member of the Eastern Doctors Syndicate Council, Ahmed Safwat Ibrahim Ali, member of the Cairo Doctors’ Syndicate, Alaa Shaaban Hamida, Ahmed Sabra, and Hani Bakr Ali Kahil ”, who were imprisoned for expressing their opinions in the Prime Minister’s statements about the doctors ’failure and criticism of the government’s policies in dealing with the spread of the virus.
Doctors in Egypt between the threat of a pandemic and the official policy of lack of transparency about it
Parliamentary work continues under tension between the trends asking for confidence withdrawal from the President of the Council, tense and violent political speeches, and the theatricality of the political scene in general.
In the meantime, the Parliament office approved the date of July 16, 2020 to hold a voting session for the rest of the members of the Constitutional Court. This indicates that the details of the political struggle are what determines the legal hour. The political conflict has already postponed the formation of the Constitutional Court and the rest of the independent constitutional bodies, and today it is accelerating with it, in light of the balance of conflict between the three authorities, especially the executive and legislative. The constitution remained on the margins of the conflict, although it was running it.
In connection with the foregoing, the political crisis in Tunisia continues in conflicts that have been found to be postponed due to the crisis of the spread of corona. It is noteworthy that the Choura Council of the Ennahda Movement, held on Sunday July 12 in its forty-first session at the party’s central headquarters, has ended with a decision to delegate to the Executive Office and its President Rachid Ghannouchi to begin consultations with all components of the political and organizational landscape, starting with the President of the Republic and all parties and social organizations to form a new government to replace Elyes Al-Fkhfakh’s. However, the President of the Republic denied entering any such negotiations.
His statement came during a meeting with Prime Minister Elyes Al-Fakhfakh and the Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labor Union Noureddine Taboubi on Monday 13 July 2020, stressing that the Head of the Government has full powers, and if he resigned or a blame list was distributed, then the President of the Republic can hold consultations, otherwise without it there are no consultations at all. According to the President, who is constitutionally responsible for respecting the constitution, representing the state, and safeguarding its unity:
“I will not accept consultation with anyone as long as the legal situation remains the same … The Head of the Government is fully empowered and not the head of the caretaker government .. I have committed and will not deviate a single inch from what I have committed to … what is said and what is rumored and what is being circulated is nonsense and like dreaming .. And he continued, saying: “In the current legal text, there is no reason for any consultation and any meeting on the Head of the Government … the presidency of the state will not consult with anyone, in light of this current legal status, and let this be clear to everyone and to be recorded by history ..”
In the meantime, the Parliament has witnessed the continuous sit in of the members of the Free and Constitutional Liberal Party faction in the sub-building of the Parliament. A list of confidence withdrawal has been circulated against the Speaker of the Parliament. On Monday, 13 July 2020, the representative of the Democratic Bloc Haykal Al-Makki confirmed that the list exceeded the required 73 signatures. Al-Makki added that the Reform Bloc, Tahya Tunisia, the National Bloc and a number of independents signed the list. In response to the decision of the Ennahda movement about its desire to change the government scene and to disconnect from the trap, the Head of the Government announced his decision to conduct a change in the composition of the government, and he announced it effectively on the 15th of July 2020. Al-Fakhfakh clarified that this decision comes in the wake of Al-Nahda’s call to form a new government. While Al-Nahda submitted a petition to withdraw confidence from the Head of the Government on the same day, Elyes Al-Fakhakh also submitted his resignation and handed it over to the President of the Republic. This suggests political maneuvers between Al-Fakhfakh and Ghannouchi, and mediated by President Kais Said. According to the Tunisian constitution, the procedures are now in the hands of the President of the Republic because of the resignation, which emptied every other measure of its content. Resignation raises every obligatory petition to withdraw confidence from the Head of the Government. Withdrawing confidence requires the government to be physically present, but it does not with the resignation. This is what makes the effect of resignation, i.e. return to the President of the Republic according to the Tunisian constitution, more in line with the legal framework.
In the constitution and because of the disintegration of the political and party scene, the President of the Republic is the decisive element in the details of the political crisis
The foregoing covers the real and burning issues of the Tunisian people, as the numbers of protests and social movements increased throughout the month of June, to reach 934 protests, which is the highest level of social congestion for this month over the past three years. The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights added that the provinces of Sidi Bouzid, Tataouine, Gafsa, and Kairouan are at the top of the most congested areas.
While the process of implementing the principles of human rights and individual and general freedoms faces major problems, the Sixth Misdemeanor Court of the Court of First Instance in Tunis sentenced Emna Al-Charki to 6 months in prison for advocating hatred between religions and genders, while mistaking it for 2000 dinars for undermining religious sanctities by a post entitled “Surat Al-Corona”.
Libya is witnessing now a closing end for an ongoing battle and is on the brink of another one. Egypt considers Al-Jafra and the oil crescent region of a strategic importance; therefore, it is threatening with military intervention in this area, which is already packed with foreign forces. This is happening while Tobruk Parliament’s of the eastern region official statements and discourse which was released on Monday 13 June stated that: “the Egyptian armed forces intervene to protect the Libyan and Egyptian national security if they consider that there is an imminent threat to the security of our two countries. “The statement called for “concerted efforts between the two close-related countries to ensure the defeat of invading occupiers preserve our common national security, and achieve security and stability in our country and the region.”
Turkey has clearly responded that it will support the Government of National Accord, in the upcoming Sirte battle. On the same day which Tobruk Parliament released its statement, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt çavuşoğlu announced that Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” had to withdraw from Sirte and the Jafra airbase before concluding any ceasefire agreement between the internationally recognized Libyan government and Field Marshal Haftar.
The aforementioned minister also indicated that the Libyan government forces are preparing to start a military operation to control Sirte and Al-Jafra air base.
There is also circulated news which states that Wagner Company’s forces are moving on the ground leaving there outskirts position to inwards ones. These forces have already used this base in the Libyan military conflict before.
Despite this atmosphere full of tensions between international forces in Libya, “The Independent” –the well-known British newspaper- stated in its released report that the Government of National Accord’s forces are reluctant or hesitant to move forward in light of the existence many obstacles.
In the aforementioned report, it is stated that, in light of the successive news about the Government of National Accord’s mobilizing of forces and organizing them to move East, it is worth to be mentioned that there are natural and logistical factors that will constitute a real obstacle to the efforts of the Government of National Accord –which is supported by Turkey- to achieve progress in breaking the defensive line of the army forces. The first of which is the length of the supply line, From Misurata to Sirte and Al-Jafra, which is 250 kilometers from the first, and 500 Kilometers from the latter”. It also added that a long supply line, like this, in an open desert area, needs dense air force cover.
In this context, the Government of National Accord’s forces are totally dependent on the Turkish pilot Bayraktar planes, and they are unable to provide this air cover or vital support for technical reasons.
The expected geographic battle changes shall lead to significant changes in types of armaments for both sides, which means that there will be a need for the dispute parties to violate the arms embargo and gain more arms support, and a need for changes in tactics in moving East for the Government of National Accord. There were reports of a Turkish option to move forward by sea instead, after a naval maneuver was conducted by Turkey near the Libyan coast. The Libyan political scene is getting more complicated as international forces move and the Libyan-Libyan option recedes.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday July 15, the Government of National Accord said that its forces had recovered, within 40 days, 226 bodies and a number of remains and body parts from mass graves in Tripoli, Tarhuna and its environs.
Operation Volcano Fury official Facebook page published photos showing unidentified bodies being recovered from a mass grave in Tarhuna.
With regard to Refugees and Migrants’ rights in Libya, two German relief organizations have been highly critical of the European Union’s program to repatriate African migrants from Libya to their countries of origin. A study conducted by the two organizations concluded that under this program “the European Union accepts human rights violations”.
Brot für die Wel and Medco International criticized the European Union’s migration policy new approach as they criticized the European Union’s program to repatriate African migrants from Libya to their homelands again.
The two organizations indicated that the program, which was launched in 2016 with funds from the European Union’s Emergency Assistance Trust Fund, is based on the initiative of the Union and the International Organization for Migration. Medco International explained that the goal of this “voluntary return” is, in particular, to decrease the number of immigrants who come from Africa to Europe. The organization stated to SWR that : “The closure of migration routes and forcing people to return back to their homelands will not reduce the crisis effect, based on the aforementioned, this has nothing to do with development cooperation”. They noted that instead new problems and issues would arise for people and societies.
Arbitrary unjustified arrest against Libyans continue to take place, as Security forces arrested Colonel Mahmoud al-Daghari and Lieutenant Colonel Abd al-Salam al-Naji at the Internal Security headquarters in Benghazi, after a video was published that included their deteriorating financial and economic status that was clearly reflected in forcing them to work in real estate with an Egyptian contractor. As their basic rights was violated by this arrest, they were released later, but the whole situation can be described by a well-known Libyan proverb that says: “Neither in the spring is pride nor hunger is a shame”