Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
Statement on Release of Yasser Albaz

 

- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -
Ottawa, July 3rd, 2020

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) welcomes the release of Yasser Albaz and his safe return home after more than a year of arbitrary detention in Egypt.

"We are very happy that Yasser is finally home with his family," said Ahmed Abdelkader, president of ECCD.
We applaud the intervention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his team for having diligently advocated for Yasser's liberation and asked for his immediate return to Canada. PM Trudeau's intervention came at a critical time as Yasser's health was deteriorating and his family was fearing for his life.

"Prime Minister Trudeau clearly understood the urgency of the situation with Yasser showing worrisome health symptoms and no hope for proper care in Egypt's prisons. We are grateful to our government for finally putting pressure on the Egyptian regime to release him," added Abdelkader.

Human Rights advocates have repeatedly warned that the condition in which political prisoners are held in Egypt is tantamount to torture. Some have described the lack of medical care as being a slow form of execution. "The plight of political prisoners in Egypt remains dire." Abdelkader continued.

As we rejoice for the liberation of Yasser, our hearts go to the families of the estimated 60,000 other political detainees in Egypt.

We exhort our government to speak up clearly and act decisively for the freedom and civil and due process for all political prisoners

About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
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Mohamed Kamel: (514) 863-9202This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
Press Release: 
PM Trudeau Could Still do More to Save Yasser Albaz's Life

 

- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -
Ottawa, June 17th, 2020

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) calls upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to practice all the diplomatic tools available to the Canadin government to save the life of Canadian citizen Yasser Albaz who has shown COVID19 symptoms while in custody in Egypt's notorious Tora prison.

The family of Yasser Albaz will be rallying at the Prime Minister's residence today at 24 Sussex Drive at 2 PM to call upon Justin Trudeau to intervene to save the life of Yasser Albaz. At 4 PM, members of the Egyptian Canadian community will be rallying today at the Prime Minister's Office at 80 Wellington Street.

Jails in Egypt suffer from medical negligence, malnourishment, and lack of hygiene, and death among prisoners due to absence of medical care has become a norm. According to the Geneva-based Committee for Justice, at least 958 prisoners died in Egyptian prisons between June 2013 and November 2019 as a result of torture, ill-treatment and denial of medical care. Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, died himself in jail due to medical negligence, according to Human Rights Watch.

The silence of western governments, including Canada, is giving a green light to all these violations by the military regime in Egypt. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's disappointing response during yesterday's daily press conference to a question on Yasser Albaz failed to clearly reaffirm his personal commitment to save his life.

Yasser Albaz's detention in Egypt is meaningless especially as he has been detained for more than 480 days with no charges laid against him. This fact, along with the fact that hospitals in Egypt are not well equipped to face COVID19, means that the Canadian government is obliged to bring Yasser, a Canadian citizen, home to treat him in Canada.

Since the July 3rd 2013 military coup, Egyptians are suffering under a dictatorial regime that stripped them from all rights, issued death sentences without due process, illegally detained more than 60 thousand citizens, mistreating them and denying them their rights in medical care.

About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
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Sherif Elkholy: (613) 867-0075This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy
Open Letter to Our Government on the Anniversary of January 25th Revolution

 

Ottawa

January 25th 2011 

The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy requests Ottawa to support the petition to protect inmates from frigid temperatures in Al-Akrab (Scorpion) prison in Egypt.
Canadian engineer Yasser AlBaz among detainees.

Since then General Abdel Fatah El-Sissi took power in July 2013, the Egyptian authorities have issued hundreds of death sentences without due process, illegally detained more than 60 thousand citizens, mistreating them and held them in abject conditions.

Presently, due to climate change, Egypt is swept by frigid temperatures in a country previously known for its mild and sunny winters. The consequences are severe for average households but particularly dire for inmates.

On-line petitions, the only channel left to make any demands or express an opinion contrary to the official scripted narrative of the Government, are calling attention to the cruel conditions in the prisons, where inmates are left exposed to extremely cold temperatures and deliberately left without blankets. This is exemplified by the situation in Al-Arab prison.

Detainees in Egypt's Scorpion prison are denied blankets and forced to sleep on the floor. They aren't allowed to receive warm clothing. In despair and protest, more than 300 inmates started a hunger strike. In response security forces stormed the homes of their families.

Among those imprisoned, is a Canadian citizen, Yasser Elbaz, who has been detained in Egypt for more than 300 days without trial.

The hardship from the cold is compounded by the lack of medical attention that led to tragic consequences.

  • On Monday January 13th, an American Egyptian detainee, Moustafa Kassem, died in custody due to a hunger strike protesting his innocence.
  • On Saturday January 4th, journalist Mahmoud Abdel Majid Mahmoud, 47, died inside the Scorpion prison. As his condition deteriorated prison authorities ignored his cellmates' cries for help.
  • In August, Human Rights Watch said that Khaled Hassan, an Egyptian-American limousine driver imprisoned on terrorism charges, had tried to kill himself in his cell.
  • And let us not forget what the UN investigation in the death of former President Mohamed Morsi in custody, concluded.

A group of independent UN human rights experts said on Friday that there was "credible evidence" that inadequate prison conditions in which former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was held may have led "directly" to his death in June, and thousands of other detainees may be at "severe risk".

The silence of western governments, including Canada, is giving a green light to all these violations and the deaths of dozens of detainees every year due to deliberate negligence.

It has been 9 years since the Egyptian people gathered in Tahrir square, in Cairo to demand 'Bread, Liberty, Social Justice'. The transitional period after the Hosni Mubarak stepped down, was chaotic but heralded a fledgling democratic spirit. In spite of the reversal of political gains at that time, we should not let the Egyptian dream for a better life die.

We demand that our Canadian government publicly and strongly demand immediately measures to alleviate the preventable suffering of all detainees in Egypt. Moreover, Ottawa has a special responsibility toward Yasser Elbaz.

Our government should also demand Egyptian authorities to respect the rule of law, basic civil rights and freedom of expression.

The time to denounce the cruelty of the Egyptian authorities is now! If we don't act we will be sharing the responsibility for the crime. The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy is counting on your support in this urgent situation.

Thank you for giving immediate due consideration to this message.

Sources:

About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
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Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

ECCD September 2019 Protests Briefing

 

 

What has happened?
Country wide protests have taken place in Egypt calling for the removal of President Sisi. The largest protests were in Alexandria and Suez, but there have been sizable protests in most Egyptian cities with thousands of protesters overall.

Initially, security forces did not hinder the protests, which have uniformly been peaceful. This was not for too long, as a few hours later police started to crack down on several cities using fire ballets in several occasions. Since Saturday, almost two thousands have been arrested and security forces moved to block access to the larger public squares in Cairo and other cities.

What triggered the protests?

A recent series of videos released on social media by Mr. Mohamed Ali, who identified himself as a former contractor for the Egyptian armed forces. The Egyptian military has a stranglehold on the country's economy and nearly all infrastructure projects are controlled by the army directly or indirectly.
In the videos, Mr. Ali provides detailed information about the massive corruption in the administration of multi-million dollar projects. Mr. Sisi and his family are directly tied to some of the worst excesses, with several projects specifically carried out for their personal benefit despite very harsh economic conditions prevailing in Egypt.

What is the significance of these particular protests?

Protests of any kind have become all but nonexistent in Egypt after the military coup that brought in Mr. Sisi. The military has implemented the most repressive measures in the modern history of Egypt, violently crushing protests in Rab'a square following the overthrow of democratically-elected President Morsi in 2013 and killing hundreds of peaceful protesters. Over the last six years, extra-judicial killings, harsh sentences in mass trials widely seen as farcical, arbitrary detention, and torture have become commonplace. Human rights groups estimate that there are 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt. Draconian laws have been passed by a docile parliament outlawing practically all avenues for meaningful peaceful opposition.

These protests, which have not been instigated by any organized political parties, with a diverse body of protesters, spread out through the country, and with thousands of protesters coming into the streets day after day are a significant departure from the controlled atmosphere that the regime has consistently tried to maintain.

What is the relevance to Canada?

Egyptian Canadians organized a number of rallies across Canada to symbolically show solidarity with the protesters in Egypt. Egyptian Canadians have come out in support of the protesters' main demand of the removal of Mr. Sisi and holding him accountable for the crimes of his regime.

Canada's official policy has long been one of silence towards the atrocities committed by the Egyptian regime, unlike the vocal stances it has adopted towards other human rights offenders such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Beyond the principle of defending human rights, the Canadian position is problematic, and may become more so in light of these protests, for a number of reasons:

• Canadian companies have bid for and won bids for some multi-million infrastructure projects in Egypt, which is troubling given the pervasive corruption in projects controlled by the Egyptian military.
• Egypt has detained Canadian citizens for lengthy intervals without due process and without formal charges. Among those currently detained is Oakville engineer Yasser Elbaz, who has been held without being formally charged for over six months.
• Canada has provided arms and training to Egyptian security forces. This has grave implications if the same security forces violently quell the current protests.

Analysis and Summary

Since the military coup in 2013, the Egyptian regime has marketed a vision of "stability" to Western governments. The two pillars of that vision have been quiet streets and a rising economy. These protests have exposed the regime on both counts. Economic figures appearing to demonstrate growth hide a grim reality of massive debt and pervasive corruption, both of which are destructive to the middle and working class. The increasing poverty coupled with the enormous gap between the military and the rest of the country contribute to rising anger among much of the populace. With such anger, the streets are unlikely to remain quiet. Regardless of the eventual resolution of this wave of protests, it demonstrates that the repressive measures adopted by the regime cannot produce stability and that whatever silence they engender is not sustainable.

About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
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Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

ECCD Welcomes UNHRC Decision to Postpone Conference on Torture

 

 

Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to postpone the conference on torture that was planned to take place in Cairo.

The original proposal of having this conference in Cairo under the current regime of Egypt was a shame and doesn't make any sense.

Egypt has a record in violating human rights, practicing torture daily in all Egyptian jails and does not have an independent juridical system.

All Human Right organization around the world have reported and documented the torture and the abuse of power that is taking place in Egypt.

We hope that one day Egypt will be free and democracy will prevail, only then a conference about torture can take place in Cairo where all can attend and enjoy a torture free land.

About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has chapters in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.

For more information:
www.eccd.ca
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