News / Middle East

    Germany Presses Egypt Over 'Selective Justice'

    Egypt's interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (3rd L) speaks as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (2nd R) looks on during their meeting in Cairo, August 1, 2013.
    Egypt's interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (3rd L) speaks as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (2nd R) looks on during their meeting in Cairo, August 1, 2013.
    Reuters
    Germany urged Egypt to avoid “the appearance of selective justice” on Thursday amid a crackdown on deposed President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which remained defiantly dug in at a protest camp the police have orders to remove.

    There was no word on when the authorities would move against the vigil maintained by the Brotherhood since the army ousted Morsi on July 3 following mass protests. A Cabinet statement on Wednesday appeared to signal imminent action.

    In the month since Morsi's fall, police have rounded up many Brotherhood leaders, mostly on charges of inciting violence.

    Morsi, who has been in army detention since his overthrow, also faces a judicial inquiry into accusations that include murder and conspiring with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

    The arrests, along with street violence that has killed more than 100 Morsi supporters, have fuelled global concern that the army-backed government plans to crush the Brotherhood even if it says it wants to involve the Islamists in a new transition plan.

    “All appearance of selective justice must be avoided,” said Westerwelle, speaking alongside his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy.

    Fahmy said: “There is no justice of vengeance and no selective justice. There is law and it applies to everyone.”

    The authorities brought formal charges on Wednesday against the Brotherhood's three top leaders, two of whom are in custody.

    The government has been buoyed by huge pro-army rallies on Friday in response to a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for Egyptians to give him a “mandate” to crack down on “violence and terrorism” - a reference to the Brotherhood.

    "Ready to die”

    With the Brotherhood camped out in the streets, Egypt is more polarized than at any time since veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, starting off a political transition fraught with unrest that has hammered the economy.

    The government's new transition plan envisions parliamentary elections in about six months, to be followed by a presidential vote. The Brotherhood says the army has mounted a coup against a legitimate elected leader and want nothing to do with the plan.

    With no sign of a negotiated end to weeks of confrontation, the interim cabinet said on Wednesday that two Cairo vigils by Morsi supporters posed a threat to national security, citing “terrorism” and traffic disruption.

    It ordered the Interior Ministry to take steps to “address these dangers and put an end to them,” but gave no time-frame.

    “We are ready. We are ready to die for legitimacy. An attack can happen at any moment,” said Mohamed Saqr, a Brotherhood activist guarding one of the entrances to the sprawling encampment centered around a mosque in northeast Cairo.

    Wednesday's announcement appeared to undermine efforts by the European Union to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton spent two days in Cairo this week, becoming the first outsider to see Morsi when she was flown after dark by military helicopter to his secret place of confinement.

    An EU envoy in Cairo to pursue the mediation effort visited the main sit-in in northeast Cairo late on Wednesday.

    Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad posted a photo on Twitter of Bernadino Leon, the envoy, at the sit-in's media center. “This military coup is not accepted by a large segment of society,” he said. “I think he [Leon] got the message.”

    “Recipe for bloodshed”

    Thousands of Brotherhood supporters are camped out behind  sandbag fortifications at the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in. The entrances are guarded by volunteers with sticks, shields and makeshift body armor.

    The interim government says the protesters are using guns.

    The Brotherhood accuses security forces of whipping up  trouble to justify a crackdown and has vowed to resist any attempt by the security forces to disperse the camps.

    Such forcible action could set off more bloodletting after security forces shot dead 80 Brotherhood followers on Saturday and plunged the most populous Arab nation deeper into turmoil. The Brotherhood has called for a “million-man march” on Friday.

    Human rights group Amnesty International called the cabinet decision to clear the camps “a recipe for further bloodshed” and a “seal of approval to further abuse.”

    Almost 300 people have been killed in violence since Morsi's ouster, inspiring fears in the West of a wider conflagration in Egypt, which straddles the Suez Canal and whose 1979 peace treaty with Israel is central to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

    The United States, which supports the Egyptian military with $1.3 billion a year in aid, urged security forces in its longtime ally to respect the right to peaceful assembly. Two senior Republican senators are due to travel to Cairo next week.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the United States would proceed with a major military exercise called Bright Star in Egypt in mid-September. “We're planning on going ahead with it,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon.

    Hagel has been in regular contact with Sisi since the military unseated Morsi. But U.S. ties with Egypt's armed forces have shown signs of strain, notably when President Barack Obama decided last week to halt delivery of four F-16 fighter jets.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora