Egyptian Female Activist Shaima al-Sabbagh Killed By Police In Tahrir Square Protest
24 January 2015
Shocking moment: female socialist activist is gunned down by police during demonstrations on 4th anniversary of Arab Spring against Hosni Mubarak
A woman was killed on Saturday in Cairo after the police fired shotgun pellets at a handful of socialist activists marching to Tahrir Square with flowers to commemorate the hundreds of demonstrators killed there during the revolution that began on Jan 25 2011 witnesses said.
A health ministry spokesman said Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds, which fellow protesters said were fired by police to disperse the march. Al Sabbagh who was said to be … with a five year old son, was shot while she peacefully marched towards the Tahrir Square to lay a commemorative wreath of roses.
Egyptian activists shared graphic images of Ms. Sabbagh’s last moments on social networks Photographs and video recorded before the police moved in seemed to show the protesters, including Ms Sabbagh, standing peacefully outside the Air France KLM office in Talaat Harb Square near Tahrir. As officers charged at the protesters guns drawn shots rang out and Ms. Sabbagh fell to the pavement. Al-Sabbagh was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead.
Human rights activists are upset over Clinton and Trump’s meetings with the Egyptian president
“We urge you to reconsider the false dichotomy between Egyptian citizens’ rights and freedoms and the country’s security threats.”
U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Monday, while he is in New York for the U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants. And human rights activists aren’t pleased.
Reports of the candidates’ independent meetings varied to a large degree. Trump, who has previously and repeatedly called for a ban to all Muslims entering the United States, told Sisi about his “high regard for peace-loving Muslims.” Trump also said the United States would be a “loyal friend” to Egypt that the country could rely on.
Clinton, who doesn’t enjoy a lot of credibility with certain sectors of the Egyptian population for her [supportive] comments about Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak during the early days of the 2011 revolution, did not signal any kind of policy change from the Obama administration’s approach to Egypt. She did, however, broach the terror threat facing Egypt (particularly from groups like ISIS in the Sinai) while simultaneously addressing human rights issues. …
In the past, Clinton said Egypt’s government is “basically an army dictatorship” — something she would be sure to have avoided in her meeting with Sisi. …
Prior to the meetings, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights addressed an open letter to both candidates, asking them “to reconsider the false dichotomy between Egyptian citizens’ rights and freedoms and the country’s security threats.” …
Human rights under Sisi
A year after a military coup in Egypt deposed then-President Mohammad Morsi in 2013, Sisi was elected President of Egypt. Despite his status as the country’s first democratically-elected leader, Morsi was widely disliked by many Egyptians who say he prioritized his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, over Egypt. Many of his largest critics were leftists or human rights advocates, but these same critics are facing even harsher crack downs under Sisi.
“[Sisi’s regime] is not just repressive, it is one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, which is saying something,” Hamid said.
Sisi’s reign has witnessed the arrest, disappearance, and death of multiple critics of his regime. Egypt is one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to arresting journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and has cracked down heavily on critics of the Sisi regime’s human rights record.
Hundreds of Egyptians have disappeared or been tortured, or both, under Sisi’s rule, Amnesty International reported in July. Most recently, an Egyptian court froze the assets of five prominent human rights defenders and three NGOs.
“Egypt’s current government (meaning Sisi but also all the institutions/groups that participated in the coup and now back him) sees itself as being in an existential struggle, and it regards (entirely justified) complaints about horrible human rights records as a defense of those individuals who are trying to bring it down and, to put a finer point on this, kill it,” Eric Trager, the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), told ThinkProgress over email.
“The government is extremely paranoid,” he added, and “it makes it impossible to have a serious conversation with it about human rights.”
Bringing human rights to the table
There is a desire from many analysts to see American politicians dispense with the lauding of Sisi.
To date, Secretary of State John Kerry has fairly regularly praised the Egyptian government. This position has garnered plenty of criticism from analysts.
“Kerry has repeatedly [praised] Sisi over the past several years, maintaining this idea that Egypt and Sisi are on some sort of democratic transition,” Hamid said. “This is problematic because it is not true.”
During the primaries, then-candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) praised Sisi and cited him as an “example of a Muslim [leader] we ought to be standing with.”
“Any politician who hails Sisi as a good Muslim leader doesn’t know what they’re talking about and is beyond absurdity,” Hamid said. …
Since taking power, Sisi’s focus has been on increasing security in Egypt through strict counterterrorism measures. But his efforts have largely failed to bear fruit as there has been an increase in terrorism in Egypt since the coup in 2013, and ISIS has established a solid presence in the Sinai. These failures point to the shortcomings in Sisi’s security-driven approach, and Hamid believes the next American president shouldn’t separate human rights from American strategic interests.
Although he once called the man a sniveling coward and said he’d never support someone who insulted his family, Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump for president on Friday: here.
After author Laura Silverman dissed Trump on Twitter, white supremacist trolls went ballistic on her upcoming book’s Goodreads page. (Read more here.)
Trump Flies With Gold-Plated Bathroom Fixtures, And You’re Paying Millions For It. Secret Service payments to fly on his luxury 757 made up nearly 80 percent of the flight costs this summer: here.