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article imageOp-Ed: In Egypt repression not reconciliation

By Ken Hanly     Sep 3, 2013 in Politics
Cairo - Rather than reconcile with the Muslim Brotherhood the Egyptian government seems intent on banning the organization and jailing many of its leaders as well as putting the former president Mohamed Morsi on trial.
A panel of judges has recommended that the Muslim Brotherhood be dissolved. The Brotherhood is Egypt's largest political group and its associated Freedom and Justice Party won elections and the former elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was supported by the group. The panel, in making a recommendation to the Egyptian administrative court, claimed the group operated in violation of the law.
The administrative court holds its next hearing on November 12. While the ruling of the judges is not binding, it appears this recommendation brings the banning of the group much closer to reality. The Brotherhood has been banned and often persecuted through much of its 85 years of operation, although it continued to develop extensive social networks. This March after a series of lawsuits questioning its legality it registered as a civil association.
The military-backed government also announced that former president Mohamed Morsi who was deposed on July 3, would be put on trial for inciting violence. While Morsi has been held since he was deposed, former president Hosni Mubarak was released from prison and is now under house arrest.
Meanwhile an Egyptian military court sentenced 11 Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison for violence targeting the army in the port city of Suez last month. Forty five other members were given five year sentences. Of course no action has been taken against security forces who killed hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters. The Brotherhood was dissolved by Egyptian army rulers in 1954 but after the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011, through the Freedom and Justice party it won elections and supporter Mohamed Morsi won the presidency.
The interim government closed three TV stations operated by Islamist groups some time ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists said: "The Egyptian government is widening its censorship campaign against critical media in Egypt to undermine coverage of Muslim Brotherhood protests,Like their predecessors, authorities apparently fail to grasp that the attempted suppression of dissenting voices only compounds the dissent."
The official Egyptian media chastise Al Jazeera for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood even though it was often critical of Morsi. Al Ahram, a government newspaper, reported last month in an editorial that the US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson was part of a conspiracy together with the Muslim Brotherhood and foreign militants designed to destabilize Egypt. Patterson was so angry that the replied: "I am writing to adamantly deny the outrageous, fictitious, and thoroughly unprofessional headline article that appeared in your paper on August 27. Your article’s claim that I personally am involved in a conspiracy to divide and destabilize Egypt is absolutely absurd and dangerous. I am particularly disturbed to think that Al Ahram, as the flagship state-run paper in Egypt, is regarded as a representative of the government’s viewpoint. We will, therefore, raise this article at the highest levels of the government to protest its publication and the irresponsible behavior that led to it."
The Egyptian government released and deported three foreign reporters who worked for Al Jazeera on Sunday August 31st. On Friday, authorities raided the offices of Al Jazeera Egypt and shut them down. Equipment was confiscated. The government claimed that the closing was for lack of "professional ethics". Translated this means publishing the material not supportive of the government. The Egyptian government seems headed in the direction of further repression both of the Brotherhood but also of any opposition from the press.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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