By Contributor on June 27, 2014

By Moustafa Bayoumi

The sentencing on June 23 of three Al Jazeera journalists, each to at least seven years in prison, by an Egyptian court is a travesty of justice. It provides further proof that Egypt is continuing its rush to dictatorship with Washington’s support.

The case against the three journalists for allegedly spreading lies that harmed state security and for joining a terrorist organization was laughable from the outset, and the trial was a bad joke.

The specific evidence presented against the men — Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed — consisted of prosecutors screening images from Mr. Geste’s family vacation, a news conference in Kenya that Mr. Geste had covered, and horses grazing in a pasture in Upper Egypt.

Baher Mohamed was sentenced to three additional years in prison because he had in his possession a spent bullet casing he had found on the ground during a protest. That inert souvenir earned him the charge of possession of a deadly weapon.

Adding to this circus of a trial, Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata wore aviator sunglasses throughout the proceedings. (Egypt’s President Sisi is often photographed wearing the same style of sunglasses.) The whole pantomime played like a parody of a trial under a dictatorship.

It was in keeping with the mass death sentences handed down to members of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, the massacre of more than a thousand mostly unarmed civilians last year, and the jailing of more than 14,000 political prisoners, including key figures from the 2011 Egyptian revolution, such as Ahmed Maher, Mahienour el-Masry, and Alaa Abd El Fattah.

And what has been the American response to these mounting injustices in Egypt? A resumption of aid (which had been temporarily frozen because of the government’s horrible human rights record). While Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the verdict against the journalists as “a chilling and draconian sentence,” his actions hardly match his words.

Meeting with Sisi less than 24 hours before the verdict in this case came down, Kerry stated that Sisi had given him a “very strong sense of his commitment” to “a reevaluation of human rights legislation” and “a reevaluation of the judicial process.” And days earlier, the Obama administration delivered more than $570 million of military and security assistance to Egypt. It plans to send ten Apache attack helicopters soon.

The United States cannot honestly state that it defends human rights and due process around the world while offering this Egyptian government massive amounts of military hardware and standing aside as innocent journalists rot in jail.

Section: 

Topics: 

Comments

Mr. President and Mr. Secretary of State: It's bad enough that former President Bush and his side-kick Cheney would back military thugs like the ones that currently run Egypt, but for so-called Democrats like yourselves to tolerate this crap is unconscionable. Do the right thing and force the Egyptian regime to release these three reporters.
see the link below about the big weakness in America's security system in its government: http://ibso.ir/index.php/113-best/826-answer-of-the-commander

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

Darren Wilson is free to go back to his job policing the citizens of Ferguson, if he wants. Michael Brown is dead...

News agencies reported Saturday morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to...

Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter