Torture and protests in Egypt
Added on February 1, 2011 at 22:51 Vienna time
President Hosni Mubarak said
that he will step down at the end of his term in September 2011, but that he
will not leave Egypt.
Added on January 29, 2011 at 20:18 Paris time
former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed
in a speech this evening:
“We are seeking a change of regime. President Mubarak should step down. We
should head towards a democratic state through a new government and free
democratic elections.” He added:
“The whole world should realize that the Egyptians are not going home until
their demands are realized.”
Added on January 29, 2011 at 19:06 Paris time
The newly appointed
[vice-president, corrected at 23:31] Omar Suleiman (*1936) was the director of the Egyptian General
Intelligence Directorate. He is a man of the military who had partly studied
in Moscow. The ex-spy chief is not exactly a fresh face. The new prime
minister Ahmed Shafik (*1941) is a former commander of the Egyptian Air
Force. He later served as Minister of Civil Aviation. He is another old man
of the old regime.
Added on January 29, 2011 at 18:11 Paris time
At 6pm Cairo time, the
former aviation minister, Ahmed Shafik, has been appointed Egypt's new prime
President Hosni Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Aala, have reportedly arrived
in London. The curfew continues to be defied. Looters are reported to have
damaged antiquities in the world's leading Egyptian Museum of Cairo.
Added on January 29, 2011 at 14:04 Paris time
Al Jazeera reports already 95 people killed in the Egyptian riots.
The official number stands at 35 dead. The Egyptian government resigned down today,
Article added on January 28, 2011 and updated on January 29, 2011 at 11:06
Reports of 20 to 26 protesters
killed in Alexandria, 13 killed in Suez, 5 killed in Cairo.
According to media reports ranging from Al Jazeera to the BBC,
some 20 to 26 protesters were killed in the night of January 28 to 29, 2011.
Al Jazeera reported that on the streets of Alexandria alone 20 people had
died. In Suez, 13 people were killed. In Cairo, 5 people died.
Torture in Egypt
WikiLeaks cables from January 15, 2009 by the American
Ambassador Margaret Scobey in Cairo show that she was aware of torture and
police brutality in Egypt. The US administration tried to convince its
Egyptian ally to improve the situation, but with little or no success.
When pushed by the US to open up his country, the Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak (*1928) referred in talks with the US embassy in Cairo to the
situation of the Shah in Iran. The US had encouraged the Shah to accept
reforms. The result was that Iran fell into the hands of revolutionary
religious extremists, Mubarak said.
According to the cable by Margaret Scobey, poor training and understaffing
caused police brutality. Although brutality against Islamist detainees
by security forces had decreased, they still resorted to torturing Muslim
Brotherhood activists who posed a political threat in their eyes.
The Muslim Brotherhood was formed by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the year Hosni
Mubarak was born. The Muslim Brotherhood is both a religious and political
group. Its members believe that Islam is more than a religion. It is a way
of life. Therefore, they ask for the return to the Quran for the rule of
daily life as well as of all political entities. The logical consequence is
to abandon secularism and to return to a religious state ruled by Islam. It
is not clear how extreme the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are.
Could it become a moderate force of regime change or would it enforce a
religious state such as the one in Iran?
In her cable, the US ambassador in Cairo came to the conclusion that there
had been no serious efforts to
“transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service
institution.” But she said that she wanted US-funded police training in
Egypt to continue.
“Torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police
use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions,
but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate
bystanders”, Margaret Scobey wrote to Washington. She added that, according
to NGO contacts, there were
“literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations
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Protests in Egypt, police crackdown and web shutdown in Egypt
The 2011 protests in Tunisia have led to protests in the much more populous
Egypt. In Cairo city live some eight million people, in larger Cairo some 16
million people. So far, we can report protests of over one hundred thousand
people. A regime change could be around the corner. Forces challenging the
regime have managed to storm the state television central.
probability that President Mubarak can remain in power after the next
presidential election, as he intended to do, have dramatically decreased.
The same holds true for his plan to enthrone his son as his future
successor. Both plans have been seriously hampered by the ongoing protests.
The Egyptian president has ordered a curfew and called out the army, but it
seems to be too late for him to save his regime.
Hosni Mubarak is heading a corrupt state. He rigged the past
parliamentary election, excluding whomever he did not want to compete and
hindering oppositional parties wherever he could.
For the moment, Hosni Mubarak seems decided to hold on to his power despite
the protests in Cairo's streets. He seems decided to use force to stop
the protests from spreading and form turning into a revolution.
Today, on January 28, 2011 his regime made sure that no SMS messages could
be sent, that the use of cell phones and Blackberries was interrupted, that
Twitter, Facebook, Google as well as the website of the American embassy in
Cairo could not be reached. The web shutdown and censorship in Egypt today
seems to be massive, almost complete.
The government insists that it is not censoring websites. Has too much
traffic brought done most servers? Unlikely. Western analysts say that the
Egyptian government blocked the country's Domain Name Servers (DNS) and
Border Gateway Protocols (some 3500 BGP routes), shutting the country off
the web. Almost all of Egypt's leading websites cannot be reached.
The Egyptian population is largely passive. Will it come to widespread
protests around the country? Recently, terrorists attacked the religious
minority of the Copts, who account for some 10% of the overall population.
In 2008, bread riots spread in the country on the Nile. The Egyptian situation is more complex than the one in Tunisia. The outcome
of the protests is unpredictable. Many Egyptians sense however that this
might be the best opportunity in a long time to come to force Mubarak out of power.
In another 2009-cable, President Hosni Mubarak judged President George W.
Bush as naive, controlled by subordinates and totally unprepared for dealing
with post-Saddam Iraq. Maybe now it is up to Mubarak to naive and to
misjudge the situation.
Is the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
Mohammed el-Baradei (*1942), the future leader? The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
winner came under a lot of pressure when he wanted to stand up against
Hosni Mubarak in the next presidential election. He backtracked. But on
January 27, 2011 he flew back to Cairo to be among the protesters.