Egypt’s Mendacious President Dangles Freedom Before Imprisoned Al-Jazeera JournalistsFour Al-Jazeera journalists have been sitting in an Egyptian prison for more than a year because they dared to report on the coup orchestrated by Egypt's current president, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Four Al-Jazeera journalists have been sitting in an Egyptian prison for more than a year because they dared to report on the coup orchestrated by Egypt’s current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
Sisi tells Bloomberg News in an interview last week from ritzy Davos, Switzerland, “We are very keen on sorting this out.” That’s great news. If only Sisi didn’t follow that statement with an outrageous lie.
“I wouldn’t have wished for any personnel from the media or journalism to be standing in a court in Egypt, but I was not in office at that time,” he told Bloomberg.
While it’s true that Sisi was not president at the time, he was the de facto leader of Egypt, commanding the military that overthrew Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi.
Let’s go to the timeline. Three of the journalists have been detained since December of 2013. Another has been held since August of that year. Sisi led the coup that toppled Morsi in June. He led the interim leadership thereafter, until he resigned in March. So he not only was in charge of the government that detained these journalists, he has had ample time to release them. In fact, even as he tells Bloomberg that he wasn’t in charge and would not have detained the Al-Jazeera staff, Sisi has the power to pardon his captives, yet refuses to do so.
There are others. According to Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer and activist, Egypt currently holds 60 journalists in prison, the most in 35 years. And that’s to say nothing of the thousands of supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi, or the activists who helped launch the Arab Spring and now sit in chains.
Whether Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is the legitimate president of Egypt is a fact to be debated by historians and political scientists. He is, without question, a liar and a tyrant.
Before we conclude this shaming of Egypt, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that the United States supports Sisi’s regime to the tune of $1 billion a year, in direct contradiction of U.S. law (we’re not supposed to give aid to leaders who ascend to power through a coup). And while we wag the finger at Sisi, let us also remember that last week the U.S. locked away journalist Barrett Brown for the crime of reporting news embarrassing to his government.Wait, before you go…
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