President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s military regime continues its ruthless crackdown on all opposition within Egypt. Since June 2013, thousands of Egyptians have been rounded up and jailed, many held without charge in Egypt’s notorious prisons where they can face torture and mistreatment.
Yet last month the US gave the military regime its seal of approval when Secretary of State John Kerry announced the release of $575 million in US military aid to Egypt.
On 23 June six Al Jazeera journalists, including Australian Peter Greste, were handed seven to ten year jail sentences for “broadcasting false information to defame and destabilize Egypt” and for supporting the now criminalized Muslim Brotherhood. Since the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, six journalists have been killed and over 65 detained, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
While the Australian government expressed its dismay at Greste’s sentence, Tony Abbott revealed in June that he had also personally “congratulated” el-Sisi “on the work that the new Government of Egypt had done to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood”.
He added, “I think that the new President of Egypt will do whatever he reasonably can to ensure that we have peace and security in Egypt”.
An Amnesty International report released in January of this year showed that the Egyptian government had “routinely used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to disperse demonstrations, a practice that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of protesters and bystanders, as well as in some cases journalists and other media workers.”
Egypt’s prisons are increasingly filled with people who have protested against the military regime. One new report puts the number of political prisoners at 40,000—many of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. In total 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been sentenced to death.
As Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist, Wassim Wagdy writes, “The army is pushing counter revolution, though not always directly. It has murdered and jailed members of the Muslim Brotherhood and has gone on to arrest some of the activists of the left who are symbols of the revolution. It has used a shoot to kill policy on university campuses”. But it’s now clear this murderous crackdown has the support and backing of the West.
By Matt Meagher