Union of Coptic European Organizations for Human Rights UCEOHR
Union d’Organisations Coptes Européennes pour
les Droits de l’Homme Zurich 29th March 2011
Following a field visit to Egypt
A visit to Egypt by few members of the Union of Coptic Associations in Europe and the U.S. A.
took place in order to help the country through the critical and sensitive transition period of its history in view of achieving justice. We encouraged community organizations and international development institutions, to act in Egypt and help to overcome its economic crisis.
We were welcomed by Prime Minister Mr. Essam Sharaf, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Yehia El Gamal, Minister of Foreign Affairs General Essaoui and Mr. Sheriff Doss Coordinator of the General Association of the Copts. We appreciated the spirit of conviviality and cooperation of those officials who declared the end of a period of history since President Sadat in 1971 with its misleading media carrying swords to cut the Egyptian tissue, its national treasure.
We came back full of hope after the brilliant picture we had seen on the ground, especially after the Copts stopped their demonstration at Maspero, following promises by senior officials to obtain their legitimate rights. But now we are again concerned about the rapidly deteriorating human rights in Egypt and particularly by attacks against the Copts, especially after the rise of Salafi currents and the return to their brutal nature and ideology. They use automatic weapons to spread a panic among the masses of ordinary people. Here are some examples, this list is not exhaustive:
- The extremists burned the house of Ayman Anwar Dmitry, 42, cut off his ear and forced him to cede his rights during a reconciliation session, as usual. It took place in the presence of a number of priests and imams in Qena including Sheik Mohammed Khalil, leader of the Ansar al-Sunna al Mohamadeya, the priest Moses and the priest Hedra, with the presence of the Military Governor of Qena.
- Rapes of women in the village of Badraman and Nazlet el Badraman Center Deir Mawassi in Menia. These operations were carried out by Ali Hussein and his gang composed of fifty people armed to the teeth. He proclaimed himself governor of the two villages, imposed charges on the Copts, and considered the confiscation of lands of others as legal. A land of 12 acres, property of Iskander Youssef Kamal was taken from him. He imposed duties on the Copts (* see list of names at the bottom of page). The most surprising is the lack of institutional response to a detailed report presented by the Mayor of the village to the Security Forces and the Armed Forces.
- A Salafi imam, Muhammad Hussein Yacoub, pointed out the expression "invasion of ballot boxes" in the referendum of March 19. He stated that "the country is ours" and that the unmet need only leave and emigrate to the USA and Europe. Worse, he later apologized on the podium, saying he was joking!
- The emergence of Aboud El Zomor, assassin of President Anwar Sadat, as a new star of the Egyptian media. He called for the implementation of the "Islamic Sharia," the lashes, the hand cuttings, and recalled the image of political Islam groups leading towards an “Egypta-nistan”.
- Following his threats, some of his supporters armed with automatic weapons in the city of Al Kousseyah in Assiut intimidated innocent people and charges were imposed on its inhabitants. This man escaped a trial of 25 years in prison for murder.
- 500 Salafis gathered outside the church of El Fady, at Baragil Hedoud in the area of Imbaba, and prevented Christians from praying in the church.
- The Salafis control the streets of Alexandria and are practicing intimidation in broad daylight, with a total absence of security
- There are several other humanitarian and ethical abuses committed by the Salafi current which is spread. But we continue to affirm that Egypt is in a modification process, that the right to freedom of expression is for everyone without forbidding the opposite views. But when this exceeds the expression of opinion by actions of violation of another, by physical and sexual violence, theft, destruction, massacre and frightening innocent people, it becomes a danger. This happens especially in a context of a lack of security and with the support from the military governor to the Bedouin-type reconciliation meetings risking the loss of the state image and the rule of law.
- The Salafis are controlling Alexandria University and spreading intimidation in the city, surrounded by an army and police who do not intervene
Therefore, we declare our dissatisfaction and condemn the deteriorating respect of human rights in Egypt, the lack of security and the lax of security services and armed forces. We call-on the leaders of Egypt, both the Council of Ministers and Marshal Tantawi, to eradicate the off-the-law groups of political Islam and the thugs, and spare the blood of Egyptians. May the spirit of the revolution that brought together all the segments of Egypt, continues. It is a motivation for cooperation in all areas, and an invitation of the international community to work for the good of the people of Egypt.
* List of names imposed by Ali Hussein to “Islamic financial duties "
Ashraf Shaker Abdel Hakim Abdel Hakim Kamal Khalaf, Adel Guirguis Seleiman, the son of Samir Youssef Iskandar, the son of Baskharon Morcos Ecladios; Fawzi Mehanna Maazuz; Zakaria Aziz Mehanna, Atef Nabil Kaysar; Hamdi Khalil Seweiha; Seleiman Yosef, Iskandar and brothers (he had already paid a ransom to free his brother Alaa Youssef); Ezzat Shaker Farag, Farag Saad Taqui who was dragged and beaten in the village for four hours after refusing to pay fees; Farag Farag Shaker; Badr Fawzi Shaker; Gamil Abdel Hakim Khalaf, Samir Hakim Zakhari; Mikhail Georgi; Beshri Ibrahim Ibrahim Iskandar Ibrahim Said; Fidi Naguib Tawfik; Nagui Fawzi Abboud; Milad Salem Guirguis, Malak Youssef Adib Abel, Abel Samouil Sami Malak; Aziz Khalaf Yanni; Zakareya Shakhloul Moutashaleh; Ishac Mossa Saleh Said el Wadii Yarak.
Medhat Kelada – President
Union of European Coptic Organizations for Human Rights UECOHR
Marshal Tantawi, and the Military Council
Mr. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf
Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, Yehya el Gamal
Mr. Minister of Interior, General Essawy
MM Ambassadors of the Arab Republic of Egypt abroad
International agencies information
Embassies and diplomatic corps
The Egyptian side
The French and English versions were translated from the original Arabic text