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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Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

Remembering the Victims of Raba'a and Al Nahda Squares

 

 

This was not a joke. While addressing a community gathering of Canadian Egyptians in Toronto, last July, Egyptian Minister of Immigration, Nabila Makram said "This country is always inside us, inside our hearts. We cannot accept any word about it. Anyone who says a [negative] word about our country – what will happen to him? Will be sliced up," as she made a slashing motion across her throat.

She later claimed that it was a joke!

"We know well that Ms Nabila Makram is a minister in a government that has already imprisoned tens of thousands of dissidents in addition to the systematic torture and enforced disappearance of critics of her government," Amr Magdi of Human Rights Watch wrote on Twitter.


In fact, this is consistent with the policy of Abdel Fatah El-Sisi since he overthrew the first democratically elected (late) President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup, July 3rd 2013.

Today, August 14 we commemorate those who were the first victims.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most popular political group at the time, called for peaceful protests at Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares.


They were joined by all those who opposed the military coup d'état and protests developed into large-scale sit-ins. Protesters slept, ate, prayed, and lived at the squares for 45 days under the burning sun of Cairo.
Many hoped the sit-ins would succeed in pressuring the military to restore Dr. Morsi to the presidency.
To defeat their opposition, the military-backed government, officially ordered the dispersal of Rabaa and al-Nahda on August 14, 2013 with armoured vehicles, bulldozers and hundreds of security forces moving in the early hours.

The brutal dismantlement of the sit-ins on August 14, 2013, saw soldiers and police shoot dead more than 800 protesters at Raba'a square in a matter of hours. Hundreds more were killed in Al-Nahda square. The exact number of the victims will never be known as countless bodies were not identified.

After a year-long investigation, New York-based HRW documented the events that led to the mass killings, interviewing witnesses and reviewing video footage.
Based on the findings of its 2014 report, HRW concluded the killings "likely amounted to crimes against humanity" and "were part of a policy".

Despite a wealth of evidence implicating the Egyptian army and police in killing the protesters, no one has ever been brought to trial and the Egyptian government has yet to transparently investigate the massacre.
Last year, HRW called for an international, independent inquiry into the tragic event of Raba'a to no avail.

"Five years on from the Rabaa massacre, the only response from authorities has been to try to insulate those responsible for these crimes from justice," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's director for the Middle East and North Africa. "Without justice, Rabaa remains an open wound. Those responsible for the mass killings of protesters shouldn't count on being able to shield themselves from accountability forever."

We will always remember the victims of August 14 2013 and continue to press for accountability.

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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Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy

Press Release on 6th Anniversary of the July 3rd Military Coup

 

- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -

(Ottawa, July 3rd, 2019)
Today, July 3 2019 is sadly lived by members of the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy and all those aspiring for Freedom, civil liberties and Democracy.
Six years ago, Egypt witnessed the overthrow of the late Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the first and only democratically elected president, in a military coup orchestrated by then army chief, General Abdel Fatah El-Sisi.

Dr. Morsi came to office in June 2012 after winning 51.7 per cent of the vote in a national election, in the aftermath of Egypt's 2011 revolution. He embodied the hopes of Egyptians for Bread, Freedom and Social Justice, the dominant chant during these days of uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Since his forceful removal from office in June 30th 2013, Dr. Morsi had been imprisoned, and accused of trumpeted up charges punishable by death.

He has collapsed during a court hearing session in Cairo, June 17 2019 at the age of 67. He has been held in abject conditions, denied family visits and medical adequate medical assistance. In 2018 the British Independent Detention Review Panel chaired by MP Crispin Blunt warned about this situation and the grave consequences that continued negligence would entail.
Human Rights Watch Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said Morsi's death was "terrible but entirely predictable".

Dr. Morsi was denied state funerals and burial in his home village according to his last will. Only a few were allowed to pay their respects as he was lowered to rest.

For his first days at the helm of the presidency, Dr. Morsi was faced with daunting obstacles by those who lost power and privileges. The counter revolution, led by those who lost power and privileges after Egypt's strongman Hosni Mubarak abdication, was churching lies, fomenting unrest and encouraging mass protests.

General El-Sisi justified his military coup by announcing on state television that he was responding to the will of the people, as demonstrated by the mass protests against Dr. Morsi. He promptly took hold of power, suspended the constitution, and mercilessly crushed any opposition. Since the 3rd of July 2013 he has been ruling Egypt with an iron fist.

Although at first, he claimed that he wasn't aspiring to become president, General Al-Sisi immediately became, de facto, the highest authority. He was declared the choice of the people after dubious elections in 2014. In March 2018, it was announced that General El-Sisi won the presidential election for a second term with 92 per cent of the valid votes. There was no real candidate and dire consequences for any dissent.

Shortly after Dr. Morsi's removal, the military-backed interim government embarked on a crackdown against his supporters, culminating in the massacres at Raba'a square (Cairo) and Al-Nahda (Guizeh), August 14 2013.
While the arrests have started with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian government has also been systematically targeting journalists, leading activists, NGOs and any critics of General El-Sisi as thoroughly documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

In fact, since July 3rd 2013 Egyptians have been living under a dictatorship worse than what they have endured any time in modern history. And with the demise of Dr. Morsi, all the aspirations for a better future were suddenly dealt a death blow. Adieu Dr. Morsi, Adieu Democracy for Egypt.

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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.