Egypt 'worse off than ever' three years after coup

Egypt 'worse off than ever' three years after coup

On the third anniversary of the military coup against Egypt's first freely elected president, the dreams of the 2011 uprising have been brutally crushed.
3 min read
03 July, 2016
There are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt [Getty]

Three years after huge crowds of Egyptians rallied in downtown Cairo to oust Islamist president Mohammad Morsi, democratic hopes have given way to a spiralling crackdown on freedoms in the name of stability.

Now that former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has become president, the state no longer tolerates protests, and little criticism.

Following the 2013 military coup hundreds of Islamists, including Morsi, have been sentenced to death in mass trials, so hastily convened, that even dead people and a toddler were mistakenly included among the defendants.

"The current regime's brutal approach towards young people and the opposition is going to lead to a future period of violence," security expert Mahmoud Qatari told The New Arab.

"There have been examples in many countries, where groups have turned to armed resistance in response to oppression from authorities.

"Thousands of Egyptian young people have been imprisoned, mostly for political non-violent offences against the state, and they are prime targets for radicalisation.

"Police brutality only does more damage than good for the regime's position in the long run," Qatari added.

      The regime has celebrated the anniversary of the coup [Getty]

Prominent rights lawyer Gamal Eid echoed similar concerns: "Today, and without exaggeration, the human rights situation is the worst in Egypt's modern history."

There are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners, mostly Islamists, languishing in Egyptian prisons.

"When I look back on June 30, 2013, I feel that we were deceived and deployed by part of the state," Eid said.

On Thursday, the Egyptian regime celebrated the anniversary of the military coup with warplanes flying over the capital in honour of the newly-established holiday as supporters of Sisi held rallies.

In Pictures: Nine key dates since 2013 Egyptian military coup

The holiday was, however, punctured by violence in the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic State group [IS] militants killed a Christian priest and two members of the military in separate attacks.

Millions took to the streets of Cairo and other cities on June 30, 2013, to call for the removal of Morsi.

Sisi gave Morsi a 48-hour ultimatum to respond to "the people's demands" before ordering the military to overthrow and detain him.

His decision to order the removal of Morsi unleashed protests by the president's supporters, and in turn, a crackdown in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed.

Sisi was elected president a year later with minimal opposition.

But many of his backers at the time now say the authorities' crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood has expanded to include any kind of dissent or opposition.

Since Morsi's overthrow, thousands of protesters have been killed in clashes, including more than 600 killed in a single day on August 14 when police dispersed a Cairo protest camp demanding Morsi's reinstatement.