Freedom House attacks MPs’ call for shooting protesters

A recent call by a number of MPs for police to shoot at protesters has been attacked by Freedom House, a US-based rights organization. In a statement yesterday, the group urged the Egyptian government to prove its claim that freedom of expression is protected, by allowing citizens to express their views peacefully.

Freedom House’s executive manager Jennifer Windsor argued that threats to use live ammunition at peaceful demonstrations will increase the potential for violence ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in 2011.

Freedom House’s freedom of expression official, Courtney Radsch, said that detaining bloggers on entry or exit from airports has become the regime’s favorite means of persecuting and intimidating journalists and activists.

Although the government claimed in a message to the Washington Post that freedom of expression is the rule in Egypt, its recent campaign against protests and its harassment of bloggers obviously contradict that claim, the organization said, citing the detention of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger, at Cairo International Airport yesterday. Abdel Fattah was later released. Freedom House noted that the detention was part of an expansive arrest campaign against bloggers such as Wael Abbas, Karim Amer, Abdel Rahman Ayyash, Hani Nazer, Musaad Abul Farag, and described the situation as a “systematic oppression” against freedom of expression.

In a related development, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) demanded that People’s Assembly speaker Fathi Sorour remove parliamentary immunity for the three MPs who had called for the shooting of protesters. ANHRI also called for interrogation of the deputy interior minister who conceded that the law allows the use of force against demonstrators, and demanded that both NDP parliamentarians and also the party’s leadership be questioned. ANHRI described the MPs behind the shooting call as unaware of the words they were uttering, and thus unfit for service within a legislative body.

Organizations signing onto ANHRI’s statement expressed full solidarity with the 6 April Youth and all pro-democracy movements, emphasizing Egyptians’ right to demonstrate and to choose their ruling regime.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

Related Articles

Back to top button