Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Crackdown on Brotherhood, Opposition Grows as Egypt Joins Ranks of Most Dangerous for Journalists

Democracy Now!

"Egypt is facing a major escalation of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other critical voices. The military government has designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organization" after a suicide bombing last week that killed 14 people. The announcement came even though the Brotherhood condemned the attack and an unrelated jihadist group claimed responsibility. Using the "terrorism" label, the Egyptian regime has arrested hundreds of Brotherhood members and seized their assets. It is the latest in a crackdown that began with the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July following mass protests against his rule. The crackdown has also spread to opposition activists and journalists. Two leading figures behind the 2011 uprising, Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Ahmed Maher, remain behind bars following their arrests for opposing a new anti-protest law. El-Fattah is awaiting trial while Maher and two others have been sentenced to three years in prison. Meanwhile, four journalists with the news network Al Jazeera — correspondent Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy — were been arrested in Cairo on accusations of "spreading false news" and holding meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood. Only Fawzy has been released so far. Egypt’s military government has repeatedly targeted Al Jazeera, raiding offices, ordering an affiliate’s closure and deporting several staffers. The arrests come as a new report details the dangerous conditions for journalists in Egypt and other troubled areas around the world. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, conditions in Egypt "deteriorated dramatically" in 2013, with six reporters killed, more than in any previous year. Egypt trailed only Iraq, where 10 journalists were killed, and Syria, where at least 29 journalists were killed. Overall, the Middle East accounted for two-thirds of at least 70 reporters’ deaths worldwide. We are joined by two guests: Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists; and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! correspondent, and a fellow at The Nation Institute......."

No comments: