I will not talk about the referendum in which the ruling clique managed to teach the world about the most innovative rigging techniques. Neither will I talk about the large numbers of Egyptians who voted “yes” without even knowing about it. We are now up against a constitution that heralds a new dictatorship and that shows, like prominent Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal and the British newspaper the Guardian notes, that the Muslim Brotherhood has kept its promises to authority and not to the people.
According to the Guardian, while the policies of the Muslim Brotherhood stir the indignation of Egyptian citizens, they are quite welcome by the West that is keen on seeing the region unchanged and the same applies to Israel. The United States in particular does not care whether it is Mubarak or Mursi who rule Egypt as long as its interests are protected.
The constitution that was passed illegitimately gives the president powers that are unprecedented in previous Egyptian constitutions and even in the constitutions of Fascist and Communist countries. The constitution, for example, gives the president the right to grant pardon without going back to any state institution. The president had actually started experimenting with this right earlier when he pardoned a considerable number of prisoners who belong to Islamist and Jihadist groups regardless of the fact that several of them were found guilty of terrorist activities and were the reason behind an era of terror that claimed dozens of lives. Those pardons were also not confined to prisoners who completed their sentences or those detained without trial.
It did not stop at that, for those ex-convicts were allowed to take part in politics and to eventually become leaders and lawmakers. The tables were reversed and it is very likely that after adding the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in this year’s history textbooks, next year will witness another change in which militants will be labeled revolutionaries and will be given credit for toppling Mubarak’s regime. When this happens, we better forget about the blood those people split!
I do believe people should be given second chances if they change their ideologies, but on certain conditions, one of which is that they cannot rule us and be in charge of drafting our legislations.
I would like to stop at a complaint filed by the daughter of one of the militants’ victims and I think it serves to refresh the memory of those who try to forget. I ask those who can sense the danger we are about to face to support this complaint and all similar ones. Roaa Sherine Ali Moustafa is the daughter of the General Sherine Ali Moustafa, head of security forces in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assuit. She filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court at the State Council calling for the annulment of a presidential decree that pardoned Abdel Hamid Othman Mursi Omran. The convict, Roaa stated in her complaint, conspired with members of his terrorist cell to kill her father and his assistant in 1994. He was also accused of illegal possession of weapons and explosives and belonging to a terrorist group. In addition, he attacked tourists in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena and took part in killing a police officer and two of his guards in Assuit in 1993. Omran, the complaint states, carried out eight terrorist operations in Assuit.
Omran was sentenced to 25 years in one case and in another case his sentence was reduced from the death penalty to an additional 25 years.
Omran and several others were released based on a presidential pardon that has now become officially constitutional. Regardless of the vote rigging, this constitution has become a fact. Until and if this changes, it is important for the general’s daughter and family members of all victims of terrorist groups to forget about their loved ones because the country and its constitution now belong to one group and its allies. As for us, all we can do is pray and try to retrieve what was stolen from us.
(Abdel Latif el-Menawy is the former head of Egyptian Television’s news center.)