Egypt is a disappointment to the rest of the Arab world
Egypt’s human rights’ record came in for sharp criticism from a mainly Arab audience in Amman, just days before the country votes in presidential elections.Dr. Hani al-Mulki and Manar Rachwani debated the motion, ‘Egypt is a disappointment to the rest of the Arab world.’
Egypt’s human rights record came in for sharp criticism from a mainly Arab audience in Amman, just days before the country votes in presidential elections.
Participants at the New Arab Debates heard impassioned arguments that both the justice system and freedom of speech had been badly compromised since the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi last July. Seventy-three percent voted in favour of the motion ‘Egypt is a disappointment to the rest of the Arab world’.
Before the debate only 55 percent had supported it.
Arguing for the motion, Manar Rachwani, OP-ED editor and columnist at the independent Al-Ghad daily, blamed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the divided secular opposition for allowing the state to fall into the hands of the “old guard” who, he claimed, had rolled back popular demands for freedom and justice.
“What we see in Egypt today is no freedom, no dignity and no social justice,” he said. “You cannot put thousands in jail and have massive trials and death sentences handed out and say there are no problems and this is stability.”
Speaking against the motion, Senator Hani Al-Mulki, former foreign minister and ex-ambassador to Egypt, defended the crackdown saying it was needed to “punish those who have committed crimes” against civilians and security forces alike.
He said the “violence has gone down to zero” in recent months, adding that human rights’ groups “don’t know what they are talking about”.
A Jordanian student, who said he was recently in Egypt, questioned the fairness of the upcoming vote when anyone seen opposing the current regime risked being jailed. Another asked how military rule today was different from “Mubarak’s dictatorship”.
Organisers of NAD said they would have liked to hold the debate in Egypt, but the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood had made it impossible to seek the views of its former members in a public forum.
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