Below is the text from Dr Maha Azzam’s Open letter to the Guardian.
Mr Blair’s recent comments in support of the military coup in Egypt are both misinformed and harmful. They will be interpreted by the military backed regime as an endorsement of its repressive policies. He seems to airbrush the fact that since the ousting of the first ever democratically-elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi last July, Egypt’s military backed government has pursued a policy of extreme brutal repression of all opposition, as highlighted by Amnesty International’s report “Road Map to Repression”.
We wish to remind Mr. Blair that since the coup, over 4,000 unarmed civilians have been murdered by the security forces and thousands, including several hundred children, have been arrested with no due process, simply for participating in peaceful demonstrations. Under this regime, dissenters, whether Left or Right, have genuine fears of arrest and torture and Egypt is now acknowledged to be the most dangerous country for journalists to work in. Doctors are arrested merely for honouring their Hippocratic oath and treating injured protesters and many academics are imprisoned or have fled abroad.
The situation is such that an international team of lawyers has publicly stated that there is prima facie evidence to submitt a case to the ICC accusing senior members of the regime of crimes against Humanity.
After six decades of military dictatorship, Egyptians gained the right to vote for thier leaders after January 25th 2011. They did so in a series of five polls and elections, recognised by international observers as free and fair. The coup of July 3rd, which Mr. Blair seems to endorse annuled these votes by force.
As Egyptians, we have striven over six decade to establish a democratic government, to replace a military regime with a civil state and to build a society with an economic system that encorporates social justice. One would have thought that these were values that still matter to a former leader of the Labour Party.
Dr Maha Azzam
Chair, Egyptians for Democracy UK