An appeal for your solidarity from Egypt...
September 5, 2003 | Page 2
FIVE ANTIWAR activists in Egypt are facing years of imprisonment for the "crime" of protesting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Ashraf Ibrahim, Nasser El-Beheiri, Yehia Fekri Amin, Mustafa Mohamed El-Bassuini and Reymon Edward Guindy have been behind bars since mid-April. When they were finally charged last month, they discovered that they were accused of forming an illegal socialist organization--and with "damaging the prestige and status of the state."
The defendants were arrested following big antiwar protests in Cairo as the U.S.-led invasion began in March. Egypt's police are used to squelching all dissent with an iron fist, but they were unprepared for the tens of thousands of people who turned out. The arrests that followed were an attempt to hold back the development of a mass movement.
"I am calling upon the living conscience of all honorable and democratic citizens of my country, upon all national, regional and international human rights organizations and institutions. I am writing from El Mahkoum prison of Tora, where I share a cell with more than 40 prisoners, charged with different criminal charges," Ibrahim wrote in a July 21 statement.
"In that cell, which I am not allowed to leave for more than one hour a day, my share of space is limited to an area of one and a half floor tiles. I am writing to assert that I am ready to die struggling for the principles of freedom of opinion and expression and for my daughter's right to enjoy her simplest rights in a stable family and to finally see her Dad who has been 'traveling' since 100 days."
The Egyptian government is one of Washington's most important allies among the right-wing Arab regimes of the Middle East. It gets more U.S. military aid than any other country, except Israel. The outburst of protest against the war represents a crucial development in the rebuilding of a left-wing movement in Egypt--one that can challenge both U.S. imperialist domination, the violence of Washington's top ally Israel, as well as the right-wing police states in Arab countries. The antiwar activists facing this repression need our support.
Send letters of protest against this attack on human rights to: His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt. E-mail [email protected].