Creating new perspectives since 2009

Egyptians in America call for end of death sentences and to prevent amendment to Constitution

April 10, 2019 at 3:13 am

Several American-Egyptian opponents to the Sisi-regime visited the of Congress on Monday to meet a group of Congress members and hand over letters and reports condemning human rights violations committed by the Egyptian regime.

The letters, of which Arabi21 obtained a copy, demanded that the US aid to Egypt be conditional upon the halt of death sentences and flagrant human rights violations in Egypt.

The meeting was attended by a member of the Centre for Egyptian-American Relations, Amin Mahmoud, member of the movement of Egyptians Abroad for Democracy, Mohamed Ismail, political activist Yasser Shalabi, the official of Ghurba Movement in Cairo, Karim Al-Abed, member of the Homeland for All Initiative, Mona Omran, and member of Code Pink organisation, Paki Wieland.

The speech, entitled “Dear Colleague,” stressed “the need to reject constitutional amendments and to hold the United States and the international community responsible for what is happening in Egypt, while linking the US interests to the danger of El-Sisi’s remaining in power in Egypt.”

The speech said: “We are deeply shocked at the silence with which the international community has faced the recent constitutional amendments in Egypt, though these violate all the basic principles of any constitution, because El-Sisi shapes the Constitution only according to his interests. He has, thus, blatantly ignored the Egyptian people’s legitimate aspirations for democracy and human rights.”

The statement added: “The continued support for El-Sisi’s remaining in power will only lead to more instability, with an increasing possibility of the exacerbation of issues mainly related to the flow of refugees out of Egypt, terrorism and the threat on peace in the Middle East in general.”

READ: Egypt’s prisons a breeding ground for extremism, warns report

The statement demanded the US administration “to make all its support for El-Sisi’s regime conditional upon showing genuine respect for the Egyptian Constitution, including but not limited to the constitutional ban on any president remaining in power for more than eight years.”

It also called for “pressuring El-Sisi to stop his propaganda mechanism from spreading hatred and arbitrary intolerance against the United States in the minds of the Egyptian people day and night, while he meets Americans with a wide friendly smile and sincere behaviour,” adding: “We are keen to prevent developments from accelerating out of control.”

The letter was signed by former presidential candidate, Ayman Nour, former member of the Coalition  Youth of the Revolution, Mohammed Abbas, member of the Political Bureau of the April 6 Youth Movement, Khaled Ismail, journalist Nancy Kamal, member of the Political Bureau of the  April 6 Youth Movement, Mohamed Nabil, political activist Ghada Naguib and artist Hisham Abdullah.

Political activist Ali Abu Al-Khair, coordinator of the April 6 Youth Movement in Britain, Hani Ishaq, member of the Centre for Egyptian-American Relations (CAIR) Amin Mahmoud, political activist Samia Harris, political activist Safwan Mohamed, political activist Yasser Shalabi and American journalist Melissa Turner have also signed the letter

This is in addition to President of the Gandhi Global Centre for Peace, Missy Crutchfield, a former member of the Medical Syndicate, Amr Al-Shura, political analyst Mokhtar Kamel, coordinator of the movement of Egyptians Abroad for Democracy, Maysa Abdel-Latif, and others who signed it.

For his part, the member of the Egyptians Abroad for Democracy movement, Mohamed Ismail, said that they were working on “preparing this letter to congressmen for more than a year. It was officially handed over to seven members of Congress who agreed in principle to sign the letter when it is formally adopted by a member of Congress. In addition, we will meet with five other American MPs on Tuesday.”

In a statement to Arabi 21, Ismail insisted that “if it were not for his confidence in Trump’s support, he would not have dared to amend the Constitution,” expressing his fear that it will threaten US interests in Egypt in one way or another in the event of amending the Constitution.” He added that American taxes do not go to the Egyptian people, but to those who kill Egyptians.”

He pointed out that the reaction to this visit was more positive than any others, and the response was clearly positive, stressing that the pressure of members of Congress are in a particular direction while President Trump is moving in a completely different one.

Last Sunday, CNN published a press report before El-Sisi’s visit to America about the joint effort of the movement of Egyptians Abroad for Democracy Worldwide with Amnesty International regarding the speech entitled “Dear Colleague,” its importance and the document rejecting the constitutional amendments.

The coup leader, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, arrived in the US capital of Washington from the Guinean capital of Conakry, which he visited on Sunday at the beginning of a foreign tour that also included Ivory Coast and Senegal. El-Sisi’s visit to the United States is expected to last for three days.

Constitutional proposals could allow Sisi to stay in power till 2034 – Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]