Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. As per sources, the original sentence amounted to 40 years which was reduced to 25 years. The Court of Cassation, which is Egypt’s highest court of appeal, upheld the life sentence of Morsi who was involved in the Qatar espionage case. The court also mentioned that the ruling is “final and unappealable”.
Morsi was found guilty by an Egyptian court for leaking confidential documents to Qatar and selling them to Al-Jazeera channel. The information included military secrets and state’s policy affairs. He has also been charged with possessing weapons, inciting violence as well as the killing of 22 Coptic Christians working in Libya in 2015.
Morsi became the first democratic Egyptian president in the year 2012, was ousted from power within a year. He was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who is currently serving as the president of the country. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party has been blacklisted by the current government as a terrorist group.
Egypt is also one of the four nations of the Saudi led block which cut off all trade relations with Qatar since 5th June.
The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have sent a series of demands to Qatar which it must meet in order to lift the current sanctions placed.
The list, submitted by an undisclosed official, has come through one of the countries that severed ties with Qatar. The list comprises 13 demands, primary ones including that Qatar shut down its Al Jazeera Network, sever alleged ties with Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and ISIS, scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and shut down a Turkish military base in the country.
The provisions related to Qatar’s Shiite neighbour Iran additionally demanded that they remove any member from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, trade and commerce is to only be conducted by complying with the US’s sanctions.
The country has been given 10 days to accept the demands including paying a sum of money, and if it complies, will be audited in the beginning of every month, every quarter from the second year and then annually for the next ten years.
Qatar is facing one of the worst political crisis in years, after UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it alleging that it was funding terrorism. It has however denied all allegations of funding terror.
A security checkpoint at Al-Naqb, in southwestern Egypt’s New Valley Governorate, was attacked on Mobdya, January 16 night by a group of terrorists. The attack killed eight policemen and injured three others.
According to The Times of India, the security checkpoint saw a gun battle between security forces and the terrorists which killed two of the attackers as well. 70 km from Kharga city, the checkpoint is located on a road linking the New Valley to Assiut in Upper Egypt. Post the attack, the road was closed for three hours.
No terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, which is the second in the week to target Egyptian security officials. The Interior Ministry stated that the forces have launched a hunt for the remaining attackers, who managed to evade arrest after the onslaught.
Gulf News reported that security forces were focusing on a nearby mountainous area in the search for the assailants.
Egypt has recently been the target for a number of attacks, especially by militants, ever since the January 2011 revolution that caused the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The attacks targeting police and military increased even more after the military dethroned Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, following massive protests against his rule.
Egypt’s new parliament on Sunday, met for the first time in more than three years, and elected a constitutional expert as the speaker. The post is considered essential, as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi looks to work through about 200 laws issued by administrative order while the assembly was suspended.
Ali Abdelaal, boasts a long history as a state insider, and a lawyer who helped draft the constitution and election law, is a member of the “Support Egypt” coalition, an alliance of over 400 MPs in favor of Sisi. As speaker, French-educated Abdelaal is now first in the line of succession in case of the demise or permanent incapability of the president, until new elections are conducted.
“I know the constitution by heart. I wrote this constitution, nobody holds it up to me,” said the newly elected speaker, when a lawmaker insisted that, parliament was constitutionally obliged to elect deputy speakers in its first sitting after Abdelaal moved to adjourn it. 2011-12, Egypt’s last parliament was elected, marking the country’s first free vote after a popular January 2011 uprising that finished autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. A court dissolved the Islamists dominated parliament in 2012 ruling out that election laws at the time were unconstitutional.
The newly elected legislature has the duty to approve hundreds of laws in 15 days, issued by executive decree during the period when it was suspended. Dominated by the President’s loyalists, the parliament has 568 elected members plus another 28 appointed directly by Sisi. Abdelaal has helped draft the election law on which the parliament was elected last October and November.
Egypt’s current situation is nothing less than an outraged cry for stability and democracy. The majority of the protestors believe that authoritarian rule, whether carried out by their elected representatives or their country’s armed forces, violates the essentials of democracy.
Morsi Mohamed, the first civilian Islamist president of Egypt, had threatened the stronghold of the Egyptian army on the overall politics and administration of the country, by bringing in the Islamic Brotherhood. Experts believe that the growing popularity and influence of the Islamic Brotherhood forced the army to support the rebel movement. Many have also accused Morsi for turning into a religious fanatic and a dictator from a democratically elected leader. He had earlier abrogated and nullified Egypt’s first ever hard-earned democracy to suit his own religious beliefs and laws of his Islamic Brotherhood.
The revolution is against authoritarian rule, but has been painted as a protest supporting Morsi’s government by the army to justify their heavy-handed actions. On the other hand, the ruling generals of Egypt have showed little to no interest in driving their country back to the much demanded and needed democracy.
A civil war also seems to be on its way to ensue soon enough in Egypt as the political disregard and insensitivity of General Abdul-Fattah ek-Sisi, the de facto leader of the country in need, shows no concern towards the plausible results of such an uncontrolled rage and anger of an already volatile situation.
What has further complicated the matter is the insistence of Egypt’s neighbours for external intervention. The Saudi Arabian and UAE governments believe that external forces, especially Russia should intervene and help peace prevail in Egypt. However, USA, which had decided to not take any sides, is against Russia gaining control over the strategically located Egypt. However, all the international governments have their respective agendas which were reiterated during the Libyan uprising, and will only interfere if the action provides benefits to their governmental policies.
As is apparent from the army’s actions, their primary aim has been to quash any opposition to their interim regime. Any dialogues with either Morsi or the Islamic Brotherhood were refused, and the haste in crushing all the protestors without following proper protocol highlights the army’s ulterior motives. History has shown that authoritarian rule involves direct control under the garb of nationalism or religion. While the rule in Iran reflects the rule of the religious leaders with support from Ayatollah Khomeini, North Korea uses nationalism to impose the Kim dynasty’s regime.
It is clear that there is a direct struggle between the two opposing forces in Egypt, and the citizens are suffering as a result of that. The current revolution depicts their struggle to reinstate democracy. Only time will tell whether the revolution will lead to added chaos and complete degradation of the government machinery, for example, in Libya, or it shall lead to a positive influence in the Egyptian political scenario.
Protests spark revolutions, revolutions mark change but that change is sometimes an undesired product. Egypt has shown that the paradox of a protest is sometimes its only inevitable outcome. Inspired by Mohammed Bouazizi’s self immolation in front of the Tunisian parliament, Egypt rose to the global media fore demanding a change, and most West Asian ‘totalitarian’ countries followed suit in a process that came to be casually known as the ‘Arab Spring’.
When Mohammed Morsi was declared the 5th President of Egypt, the country danced to tunes of democracy after being under Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship for over 30 years. Morsi’s Freedom for Justice Party, founded during the Arab Spring, was a direct product of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its anti-capitalist, orthodox Islamic standpoint saw it win the majority’s approval and this change brought with it hopes of peace and stabilization of the nation. However, Morsi’s usurpation of unlimited power to ‘protect the nation’ did not go down too well with the public in general. To add to that, his support of passing a referendum on an Islamist supported draft constitution and the disastrous economic state of the country, opposition began gathering in numbers across Cairo and Alexandria chanting choruses of democracy and secularism.
On the 3rd of July the army staged a coup and General Abdul Fata al-Sisi removed Morsi before suspending the constitution. However, there was support for the ousted President as thousands took to the streets demanding for his reinstatement. And, as was expected, clashes broke out leaving over 60 dead amidst demands for a peaceful protest by the Muslim Brotherhood. The newly elected cabinet by the interim President Adly Mansour comprises only Liberal figures and how the pro-Islamists react to it will be a major concern. Failures leading to the blame-game have been projected around with the US receiving much of the unwanted attention. Both pro-Morsi and pro-Liberals have blamed the US for its role post the 2011 protests. Whatever be it, if one understands the pattern, the future is likely to be marred by deaths, sexual offences, huge waves of anti- establishment crimes and unwarranted counteractions.
Alaa Reqaby, a supporter of Morsi, feels that the army’s political interference is purely selfish rather than a testament to the people’s sentiments. “Mr. Morsi will be back, he will be back. Yes, we can. I want to say to Obama; Yes, we can,” said Alaa Reqaby. However, the complexity of the situation in Egypt is rather interesting because it seems as if two forms of governance are happening alternately. The current liberal form is somewhat similar to Mubarak’s anti-Islamist, pro-development (economic and social especially) style of governance. Morsi’s conservative approach served as the much needed change for many pro-Islamists who were especially against Mubarak’s stance on Israel. Obviously it was corruption that got Mubarak removed but going back to the same political pattern will spell uncertainty as is evident with the increasing support for Mohammed Morsi. Hence, when protestors like Reqaby see the rising sun everyday as a symbol of hope and peace, the more logical tangent would be a doubt which asks: ‘Where exactly is Egypt heading?’
President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi has been evicted from his post.
The army has removed him and placed him under house arrest for now and top judge of Egypt’s Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, is to be sworn in as interim leader. People were expecting something to happen but this turn of events has surprised most analysts. The army had set a 48 hour deadline for Morsi to resign from his post but the defiant leader refused to do so and the army then placed him under house arrest after the deadline passed.
In a television broadcast General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi made the announcement. This move has left many questions raised. One thing to keep in mind is that neither the opposition or the protesters were keen on army intervening. When the army was giving hints about intervening earlier the opposition claimed that the army had no business in interfering. It now remains to be seen what happens next but one thing left exposed is that the army is turning out to be the most powerful influence in Egypt and is actively engaging itself in politics as can be seen in the statement of Gen Sisi who said that Mr Morsi, had “failed to meet the demands of the people”.