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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs