Once again, the Egyptian Judicial system, supported by the highly influential military, is delivering verdicts that are shocking the International Community. This time around, an Egyptian judge sentenced both Egyptian and foreign journalists working for Al-Jazeera to seven years in prison, while handing down ten-year sentences for two journalists outside of Egypt, without any reasonable evidence supporting claims that these individuals were supporting terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is deemed to be a terrorist group by the Egyptian government.
The military’s targeting of these journalists is largely seen as part of an overall campaign to suppress dissent. Unfortunately, it seems the Arab Spring revolution that forced President Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011 is still failing as it has simply replaced one military leader for another. Just as newly elected President El-Sisi has pledged to “correct the mistakes of the past,” this sham trial is a very disconcerting. Unless El-Sisi is willing and able to take on his military to break its influence over the Egyptian political system, which means he must also be able to fulfill Egyptian national security interests, the mistakes of the past will not be corrected.
Given the point of the military’s effort is to suppress dissent to prevent civil unrest and militant activities, engaging in this type of suppression in a country where a People is now more than willing to sacrifice their lives for their freedoms and other interests seems very counterproductive. As for supporters of the Egyptian government, which includes the United States, this ongoing crackdown by the Egyptian government is certain to provoke increasing public backlash across the region, thus the world must find ways to help stabilize Egypt while no longer empowering the Egyptian military to suppress the Egyptian People.
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