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Occupied Arab World

Legal defence a crime in pharaoh Mubarak's Egypt

Adil Husain

Where in the world would lawyers be hauled before a military court to face charges for defending alleged opponents of the regime? In Egypt of course, ruled by the pharaoh Husni Mubarak, Washington’s favourite clown in the Middle East.

Egyptian State security prosecutors remanded 150 suspected Islamic activists, including four lawyers, to appear before a military court on charges of planning violent attacks, the Reuters news agency quoted Egyptian security sources as saying on June 9. The defendants included 40 alleged members of the Gama’a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group) and 110 members of another group, Islamic Jihad.

It was not clear how long the Gama’a members have been held in jail. Islamic Jihad members have been in detention since 1993 and are only being brought before the court. Torture is widespread in Egypt’s detention centres. Even such western organisations as Amnesty International as well as the US State department admit that the Egyptian regime indulges in torture of political detainees.

In the June 9 court appearances, even a doctor was referred to the military court on charges of making explosives and selling them to Muslim activists, the sources said. The doctor’s real ‘crime’ was that he had treated a person who had been wounded in shootout with the police. The person was merely a suspect, never charged nor convicted even by Egypt’s kangaroo military court of involvement in any wrongful activity. Yet the doctor was presumed guilty because he had the temerity to treat a wounded person.

The Gama’a and Islamic Jihad members who were hauled before the miiltary court, should consider themselves fortunate. The same day as they appeared in court, the security forces shot and killed Mustafa Abu Rawash in Mataria, a Cairo suburb. A day later, four other persons, all suspected of being members or sympathisers of the Gama’a, were shot and killed by the police in Minya.

The suspected Gama’a members, who are led by four lawyers, are charged with trying to revive the group’s activities and planning ‘criminal operations’, including attacks on important figures and senior security officials. The terminology used by Egyptian officials needs elaboration. In Egypt, anyone planning to replace the president even by legitimate means is accused of planning ‘criminal operations.’

Lawyers Radhwan el-Toni and Moustafa Sayyed were charged with attacking tourist targets but acquitted by court in 1993 because there was absolutely no evidence against them. The ‘crime’ of the other two lawyers, el-Shazli el-Saghir and Khalaf Abdul Raouf, is that they are part of a defence team of lawyers who represent individuals accused of terrorism!

Numerous political parties are banned. Not only the Gama’a and Islamic Jihad but also such docile groups as the Muslim Brotherhood are banned from participating in the political process. The People’s Assembly, stacked by Mubarak’s henchmen, always nominates him for the post of presidency. No opponent is allowed to stand against him.

Mubarak demands a hundred percent favourable vote. In the unlikely event that it turns out to be 99.99 percent, the ubiquitous securities forces are sent to look for the errant 0.01 percent. In such an atmosphere, to talk about normal life is academic. One wonders what choice do the people have if they want to have a different person as president to the one who has been imposed on them since 1981?

Mubarak’s antics, however, are no embarrassment to Uncle Sam. After all, Washington is part of this diabolical game. His regime continues to receive US$1.7 billion in annual aid for leading the surrender brigade of Arab potentates to the Zionist State of Israel.

The US is helping Mubarak in other ways as well. It has incarcerated Shaikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind ailing alim, in solitary confined on the whimsical allegation that he planned to blow up major landmarks in the US. Shaikh Omar is the spiritual head of the Gama’a al-Islamiyya and has made no secret of overthrowing the tyrannical Mubarak regime. He considers Mubarak a usurper and has urged his followers to wage jihad against the oppressive order, according to the Islamic command.

In a move to save its unpopular client in Egypt, the US engineered a plot against Shaikh Omar and a group of Islamic activists attending his lectures in a small mosque in New York. They were accused of plotting to blow up a number of important buildings in and around New York. Shaikh Omar is blind and cannot step outside even his room without assistance from someone. The charge against him is ludicrous, to the say the least, but the US legal system is not about justice, it is about witch-hunt.

In May, the US justice department released a detailed report in which it confessed that FBI crime labs have been notorious for ‘cooking up’ scientific evidence to fit the prosecution’s case against defendants (see Crescent International, May 16-31, 1997). This clearly validates the claim by Shaikh Omar’s lawyers that their client had been framed. He is, however, not likely to be released anytime soon. The appeal procedure takes its time.

In the meantime, Hollywood, dominated by Zionist Jews, has made a movie about the alleged misdeeds of Shaikh Omar. The movie will reinforce stereotyping of Muslims of Arab descent as ‘terrorists’, much to the applause of the Zionist lobby in the US. The was preceded by a scandalous documentary titled ‘Jihad in America’ produced by the Israeli agent, Steve Emerson, which was aired on PBS television on November 21, 1994. A number of allegations made by Emerson have since proved totally wrong.

Muslimedia - June 16-30, 1997

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 8

Safar 10, 14181997-06-16

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