On April 23, Egypt’s National Election Authority announced that a package of amendments to the country’s 2014 constitution had been approved in a national referendum.
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Egypt has never been a welcoming place for civil society groups, but the past several years have seen an unrelenting crackdown on non-governmental organizations. It began with the infamous December 2011 raids on foreign democracy-building organizations and has endured through successive regimes. And yesterday, Egypt once again upped the ante.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared on Markaz.
This post originally appeared on Markaz.
Despite continued reports of torture, harrowing tales of abuse in detention, and haunting anecdotes of forced disappearances, Egyptian authorities seem wholly unwilling to contend with the human rights violations that have long plagued the country’s security sector. Rather, authorities seem insistent to instead embark upon yet another wave of crackdown against civil society, taking measures to constrain the activities of the players who document, report, advocate, and litigate within the country’s anti-torture scene and even more broadly, the entire human rights movement.
When Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji was acquitted of “harming public morality” in January 2016, civil society and the artistic community rejoiced at the judiciary’s decision reinforcing the country’s constitutional commitment to freedom of artistic and literary creativity. The celebrations were premature.
Russia now says that it believes that ISIS was behind the crash of a commercial Russian aircraft, Metrojet 9268, over the Sinai desert on October 31 which killed the 224 people on board. Like the Paris attacks, the Metrojet bombing targeted civilian lives. And in the Russian case, those lives included 25 children. Russia has vowed to find and punish the terrorists responsible.
The other day, military prosecutors in Egypt opened an investigation into Hossam Bahgat, founder and previous director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and a (quite effective) investigative journalist.