News Release

Mubarak Case Dismissed; Two Killed in Cairo Protests

B3oQRUkCAAAmcw4SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS, [in Cairo], sharif at democracynow.org, @sharifkouddous
Kouddous is a “Democracy Now!” correspondent in Cairo and a Nation Institute fellow. He said today: “There were protests the day of the decision [Saturday] just outside of Tahrir Square — Tahrir itself was closed by army tanks, APC’s [armored personnel carriers] and police armored trucks and barbed wire. But a few thousand people did gather on the outskirts protesting the verdict. There was palpable anger and two people were killed when the police attacked the protest with tear gas, and live ammunition. One of them was reportedly shot six times. The following day, yesterday, the universities across the country held protests. Students have been, really, one of the epicenters of dissent following the ouster of Muhammed Morsi last year and they continued those protests yesterday. …

“Many people weren’t that surprised by the ruling, given the nature of the judiciary we have seen over the past year, given the nature of the political situation in Egypt right now. Many were surprised at their capacity to still feel anger and indignation and to be disappointed and upset by this verdict — to see not only Mubarak but Habib el-Adly, his interior minister, and the top police chiefs all be acquitted and basically no one being held responsible after scores of police officers have been acquitted by trials as well. Hardly anyone being held responsible for the killing of nearly 1,000 people in this uprising, and we are supposed to chalk it up to something like mass suicide. So it’s a very difficult moment and again I think a dark one in Egypt’s history.

“The main refrain we have been hearing is ‘so who’s the killer?’ because everyone has gotten off scot free. … Mubarak is fair game for most people – it’s safe for a lot of these anchors to speak out against him – but still it was a change of tone from the sycophantic coverage that we’ve seen. Obviously there was that kind of coverage as well and Mubarak himself, really shockingly, was called in to one of these television stations right after the verdict was announced and he said that he had done nothing wrong during his term. He said he had laughed in 2012 when the life sentence against him was handed down, which of course has been overturned. …

“There is very little space for any kind of dissent, any kind of opposition right now in Egypt. You risk years in prison, you risk your life by going down on the streets. … This really portrays an alarmingly selective justice system in Egypt. The day after this ruling, 25 Muslim Brotherhood leaders got three years in prison for chanting in a trial and a week before 78 minors got two to five years in prison for protesting.”

USA Today is reporting today: “Militant group says it killed U.S. oil worker in Egypt.”

Note: the BBC reported on June 22, 2014 in “U.S. unlocks military aid to Egypt, backing President Sisi” that: “The U.S. has revealed it has released $575m (£338m) in military aid to Egypt that had been frozen since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi last year.

“The news came as Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo just two weeks after former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as president.

“After talks with the new leader, Mr Kerry stressed the importance of upholding the rights of all Egyptians.

“Mr Sisi won May elections, vowing to tackle ‘terrorism’ and bring security.

“The retired field marshal overthrew Mr Morsi last July amid mass protests against his rule.

“He has since been pursuing a crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which urged a boycott of the 26-28 May elections. Liberal and secular activists also shunned the poll in protest at the curtailing of civil rights.”