Archive for category Corruption

Ahok: Victim of a new conservative Indonesia?

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, which is his real name, was convicted for insulting the Quran, by citing a verse at a rally for the citizens of Thousand Islands. September 27, 2016. Especially the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front, a conservative organisation, accused him of blasphemy.

@jokowi Dear mr President. How it is possible, a man like Ahok, can be convicted, in one of the largest democracies in the world?

Who is Ahok, and why several Islamic groups want him in prison? For that we need to go back to 2005. In this year, Basuki entered politics in his home region Belitung. He was elected with over 37% to become the new regent. In that time, one month after he entered office he manifested himself as a reformer. Move forward, leave the past of violence behind and develop a region of prosperity, without corruption, less bureaucracy, less traffic congestion and more job opportunities. He became quite successful, and he became popular by many.

In 2007 he resigned, and run for governor for Bangka- Belitung. The former president Abdurrahman Wahid convinced him to run for public office, and admired him for the healthcare reforms. Basuki was defeated by Eko Maulana Ali, supported by the FPI, as they never accept a Governor, from a minority population.

In 2009, Ahok became a member of the House of Representatives, for the Golkar party. In 2011, he made himself impopular to criticize the tin mining industry, for causing great environmental damage.  Youth NGO’s, supported by the FPI reported him the House of Ethics.

In that same year, he became the running mate of the current president of Indonesia, Jomo Widodo. In the second election round, they defeated governor Fauzi Bowo. Foke, as he is called by many, received a reprimand from his own Democratic Party, for joining a FPI event in 2010. He, and the Metro Jaya Police Chief Inspector General Pradopo East Pol, ate rice together with senior leaders of Habib Rizieq’s organization, at the FPI headquarters.

In 2014 when Joko Widodo took a temporary leave from his post as Jakarta governor to run for President, Basuki became the acting Governor of Jakarta from 1 June 2014. In November, that same year, Widodo became the 7th president of Indonesia, and Basuki was sworn in as the new governor of Jakarta. Since then, Basuki is a regular target by ultra- conservatives and rival candidates for being a non-muslim. Especially his minority background, made him a victim of the FPI. Several rallies were organised in the weeks of the inauguration of Basuki.

In 2016, Habib Rizieq, leader of the FPI says:  “If Jesus is the son of God, who is the midwife?” Which is, in fact blasphemy, but no one cared.

In 2017, 15 February, Basuki reached to the second round run-off between two candidates,Anies Baswedan and Agus Yudhoyono. As you might have guessed: Anies Baswedan, speeched in front of a rally, organised by the FPI. As well Agus Yudhoyon, was supported by his father, the former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon who is,according to the media, behind the rally against Basuki, which started the accusations of blasphemy.

Strangely, on the day Basuki speeches, no one protested. A week later a video appeared, and protests begun. According to the national and international press, the video was manipulated.

It 2017, it seems the FPI finally succeeded to defeat Basuki….

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Egypt continues to target Al Jazeera journalists

By Shahira Amin / 2 January, 2014

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Original post

In a new sign of a regression in press freedom in Egypt, authorities have ordered three journalists working for the Al Jazeera English (AJE) channel held in custody for fifteen days.
The journalists –AJE Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, award-winning former BBC Correspondent Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed–were arrested in a police raid on Sunday on a makeshift studio at a luxury Cairo hotel. They were charged with “belonging to a terrorist group and broadcasting false news that harms national security .”
Cameras and other broadcasting equipment were seized during the raid on the work room where the AJE TV crew had reportedly conducted interviews with activists and Muslim Brotherhood members on the political crisis in Egypt. A fourth member of the AJE team–Cameraman Mohamed Fawzy–was also arrested but was released hours later without charge.
The latest detentions raise the number of journalists affiliated with Al Jazeera and who are now jailed in Cairo , to five. Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Abdullah Al Shami was arrested on 14 August while covering the brutal security crackdown on supporters of toppled President Mohamed Morsi at Rab’aa–the larger of two encampments where pro-Morsi protesters had been demonstrating against his forced removal and demanding his reinstatement. Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr Cameraman Mohamed Badr was meanwhile, arrested on 15 July while covering clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi protesters in Ramses Square.
Al Jazeera has denounced the arrests of its staff members as an act designed to “stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network’s journalists.” The Egyptian government’s hostility towards journalists affiliated with the Qatari-based network has been prompted by what many Egyptians perceive as “a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias in the network’s coverage of the events unfolding in Egypt”. Since the military takeover of the country in July 2013, at least 22 staff members have resigned from AJ Jazeera Mubasher Misr, the Egyptian arm of the network , over the alleged “bias in favour of the Islamist group”. Al Jazeera has however, denied the allegation.
The latest detentions are perceived by analysts as  part of the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood–the Islamist group from which the deposed President hails. Last week, the group was officially classified as a “terrorist organization” by the Egyptian authorities, in a move criminalizing the group’s activities, financing and membership .
The arrests of the AJE journalists have also raised fears among rights activists and organizations that the government crackdown was “widening to silence all voices of dissent”. Human Rights Lawyer Ragia Omran told the New York Times on Monday  the charges are “part of a pattern of aggressive prosecutions–including conviction of protesters— that were rarely pursued even under Hosni Mubarak.” The New York-based Committee For the Protection of Journalists , CPJ, has also condemned the arrests, calling on the Egyptian government to release the journalists immediately . In a statement released by CPJ, Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa coordinator , said “ the Egyptian government was equating legitimate journalistic work with acts of terrorism in an effort to censor critical news coverage.” In its annual census conducted last month, the CPJ ranked Egypt among the top ten jailers of journalists in the world with at least five journalists languishing in Egyptian prisons. It has also listed Egypt among the three most dangerous countries for journalists in the Middle East after Syria and Iraq . Six journalists have been killed in the country over the course of the past year, three of them while covering the bloody crackdown on Morsi’s supporters at Rab’aa.
Members of Mohamed Fahmy’s family meanwhile used his Twitter account to send a message on Tuesday reminding the government that “journalists are not terrorists.” His supporters meanwhile started a hashtag on Twitter calling for his release. Many of them expressed disappointment at what they described as “the government’s latest act of repression” warning that it would harm the government’s image much more than any amount of critical reporting would.

This article was posted on 2 Jan 2013 at indexoncensorship.org

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Bassem Youssef under investigation for “insulting the military”

Anger at the new series of “Egyptian Jon Stewart’s” TV show reflects the country’s deepening divisions. Shahira Amin reports.

By Shahira Amin

Original article http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2013/10/egypt-satire-bassem-youssef/

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After months away from the small screen, TV satirist Bassem Youssef is back on the air but it is uncertain how long he’ll stay. After a four month absence (Youssef’s disappearance coincided with the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically-elected President by a military coup) he returned to the airwaves last Friday with a new episode of his weekly TV show Al Bernameg (The Programme). The episode sparked a new wave of controversy, reflecting the deepening divisions in Egyptian society.Just 48 hours after the show was broadcast, the Public Prosecutor ordered an investigation into a legal complaint against Youssef, one of several filed by citizens angered by his mockery of the military chief. Others were upset by jibes he made at the former ruling Islamists. Youssef has been accused of “inciting chaos, insulting the military and being a threat to national security.”Youssef is no stranger to controversy. He caused a stir when he mocked the now deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on his show, broadcast on the independent channel CBC. At the time, several lawsuits were filed against him by conservative Islamist lawyers who accused him of “insulting Islam and the President” and Youssef consequently faced a probe by the Public Prosecutor. The charges against him were dropped several months later however. President Morsi was careful to distance himself from the legal complaints filed against Youssef, insisting that he “recognised the right to freedom of speech.” While the lawsuits did little to harm Youssef (in fact, they actually contributed to boosting his popularity and improving the ratings of the show), they did damage the image of the ousted President, who was harshly criticised for “intimidating and muzzling the press.” A couple of months before his removal from office, Morsi was accused by critics of “following in the footsteps of authoritarian Hosni Mubarak and of using repressive tactics to silence dissent.”Now, under the new military-backed interim government, Youssef finds himself in hot water again. This time the TV comedian, known as Egypt’s Jon Stewart, is in trouble for poking fun at leaked comments by the Defence Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, suggesting that the General would “find partners in the local media willing to collaborate to polish the image of the military.” In recent months, Youssef has maintained an objective and neutral position vis a vis the events unfolding in Egypt. In his articles published in the privately-owned Al Shorouk daily, he has expressed concern over the brutal security crackdown to disperse two pro-Morsi sit ins in Cairo on August 14, in which hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters died. But he has also been careful to criticise the attacks on churches (often blamed on Islamists) following the coup.Friday’s episode, which marked the start of a new season for the show, focused in part on the blind idolisation of al-Sisi by many Egyptians since the coup. The word coup was never once mentioned on the programme. In one scene, Youssef is seen putting his hand over the mouth of one of his assistants in an attempt to silence him as he utters the now-taboo word. In recent weeks, calls have grown louder for the General to run in the country’s next presidential election and a group of adoring fans has even begun collecting signatures for his candidacy.The fact that Youssef is being prosecuted again after what many Egyptians consider was a “second revolution” signals that the June 30 revolt that ousted the Islamist President has failed to usher in a new era of greater press freedom .The lawsuits serve as a chilling reminder of the dangerous polarisation in the country, which some analysts warn may push it into civil war and chaos. While Youssef did take part in the June 30 protests that toppled Morsi, he has clearly decided not to take sides in this hostile environment. In an article published days before the show, he noted that many Egyptians advocate for free speech and democracy “as long as it is in their favor” but turn against you the minute your opinions differ from theirs. Aware that his episode had ruffled feathers, he sought to ease tensions with a message on Twitter that reminded his viewers, fans and critics alike, that at the end of the day, this is just “another episode in a TV show.”

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Tamarod movement to oust Morsi gains ground in Egypt

05 Jun 2013

By Shahira Amin (see original post)

A campaign called ‘Tamarod’ has already gathered millions of signatures calling for the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Shahira Amin reports on the growing discontent with the country’s first post-revolution president

Demotix |Ahmed Ateyya

Woman signs petition to withdraw confidence from President Morsi in Giza

A campaign titled ‘Tamarod’ (the Arabic word for rebellion), calling for the fall of President Mohamed Morsi, is quickly gaining momentum in Egypt. The brainchild of the country’s ‘Kefaya’ (which means enough in Arabic) movement — the petition calling for Morsi’s ouster has had more than 7.5 million signatures to date. The campaign’s organisers say they hope to gather 15 million signatures by 30 June, the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration. They have also called for a mass protest in front of the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace the same day, in efforts to pressure Morsi into stepping down from the presidency and call for early presidential elections.

Scores of youth volunteers have been standing on busy street corners in Cairo’s affluent Zamalek and Mohandesseen neighbourhoods, urging commuters to sign the petition highlighting Morsi’s failure to deliver on his campaign promises of improving the economy, narrowing the country’s economic divide, and restoring security on the streets. Curious drivers and pedestrians stop to read the leaflets, bringing traffic to a standstill as supporters of the campaign chant anti-government slogans, and flash victory signs.

“The response to the campaign has been overwhelming . Egyptians are growing increasingly frustrated with the faltering economy , soaring prices of basic commodities, the fragile security situation and persistent power cuts, ” said Naglaa Bakr, a Mohandesseen resident and housewife, who had just signed the petition. “Morsi has to go”, she added.

The popular movement has now begun to draw support different factions in Egypt’s fractured opposition. As the campaign picks up steam, members of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions, the Dostour (Arabic for constitution) Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Free Egyptians, the 6 April youth movement, and the Journalists’ Syndicate have lent their support.

Morsi, meanwhile, appears to be unthreatened by the initiative, saying that he “welcomes free expression as long as it is within a legal framework.” Prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Al Betaguy dismissed the campaign as an “opinion poll”, and cast doubt on whether or not the organisers could turn the petition into mobilisation. The Salafi Al Nour party has also slammed the initiative, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional.”

In response to Tamarod, Morsi’s Islamist supporters have launched their own campaign called ‘Tagarod’ — the Arabic word for impartiality. Tagarod’s leaders say that theirs is “an initiative to support legitimacy”, accusing Tamarod of aiming to destabilise the country and spread chaos. Tagarod’s founder, Assem Abdel Maged, is confident that his campaign would garner more signatures than those of Tamarod. Abdel Maged, who is also a member of the Jama’a Islamiya group, aims to use his own petition to prove that there are more Egyptians rallying behind the Islamist President than his opponents. The Tagarod campaign has also vowed to organise a million-man march to show solidarity with Morsi.

“The campaigns accentuate the secular-Islamist divide in the deeply polarised country. Tensions are building up ahead of protests planned for 30 June”, said Hadia Abdul Fattah, a Tamarod campaign member, who has been gathering signatures in the northeastern city of Damietta.

In recent weeks, several members of the Tamarod campaign have faced detention for distributing the petition on or near university campuses in Cairo, Sohag, and Zagazig. The targeted campaigners were forced to sign documents stating that they would no longer distribute Tamarod petitions, or take part in political activities on campus. In March, the Supreme Council of Universities banned political activities on campuses, under the pretence of ending violence between different political groups.

Some have warned that a crackdown on the movement could spark the kind of civil unrest that Morsi has been trying to avoid. Opposition activists say they will no longer tolerate any kind of repression, and vow to continue to protest until their demands are met.

Even if the campaign fails to reach its 15 million signature goal, activist and human rights lawyer Tarek Moawad told Index that the initiative highlights the crisis of legitimacy facing Morsi, and sends a clear message that Egyptians will not be silent about injustice. Morsi’s usage of Mubarak-era tactics to silence critics — whether it’s targeting journalists or the green light given to Islamist supporters attacking opposition activists — is a sign of the government’s weakness and vulnerability, he added.

Some analysts have also suggested that Egypt’s liberal opposition could use Tamarod to their advantage, by galvanising support for the liberal opposition in the upcoming parliamentary elections in October.

“If the political opposition can close ranks and adopt a unified stance, Tamarod may have the potential to boost gains for the secularist opposition which has so far failed to organise,” said Dr. Mostafa Kamel El Sayed, Professor of Political Science at Cairo University.

 

 

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Egyptian teacher faces jail for allegedly insulting Muhammad

28 May 2013 by Shahira Amin (see original post)

Teacher Dimyana Abdel Nour faces blasphemy charges
Dimyana Abdel Nour, a 24 year-old social studies teacher at Naga El Sheikh Sultan primary school in the small village of Tud near Luxor faces trial for insulting Islam, and risks a harsh prison sentence. Her case is the latest in a growing number of blasphemy cases against Egypt’s Coptic Christian community under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdel Nour was imprisoned for a week before being released on bail of nearly $3,000. She has now gone into hiding.

Three of the teacher’s students in filed a criminal complaint against her with the Public Prosecutor’s Office last month, claiming she had said that the late Pope Shenouda, former Head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church was better than Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. Mostafa Mekki, the school principal, has defended Abdel Nour, saying her other students had said the accusation was false.

“The parents of the three students who filed the complaint are extremists and have on several occasions incited hatred and violence towards Christians,” Mekki told Index On Censorship.

Mekki has been forced to cancel Abdel Nour’s temporary contract with the school in a bid to ease tensions but insists she has done nothing wrong. He has since been removed from his post as principal and was transferred to an administrative job for siding with Abdel Nour in the case. Local Christians say Mekki had received threats because of his stance.

Archbishop Sarabamon El Shayeb, Head of the All Saints Monastery in Tud described Abdel Nour’s prosecution as part of “organised repression of Egypt’s Copts”.

“The Islamists are giving out the accusations of blasphemy generously and openly, mostly against Christians,” he told Christian Science Monitor last week.

While Abdel Nour is in hiding and was absent from the trial, her lawyers and rights activists who attended the trial described the case as “unjust” saying that only the three students who had filed the complaint had been summoned as witnesses and not the other students who had denied the accusations. Abdel Nour’s lawyers also cited concerns that the rise of Islamists to power had “fueled the injustice against Coptic Christians” amid simmering sectarian tensions in the last two years.

Last year, a Coptic teacher in the upper Egyptian city of Sohag was sentenced to six years in prison for insulting Islam and the president. In September 2012, Egyptian blogger Alber Saber was also arrested and detained on allegations of having shared the YouTube trailer for the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” on a Facebook page he administers. Saber, a computer science student from a Christian family was sentenced to three years in a Cairo prison. He appealed the case and was released after paying $167 bail. His mother said that Saber has fled the country to avert being convicted a second time. Saber’s mother was forced to leave the family home and has been in hiding since after suffering harassment at the hands of Muslim extremists in her neighborhood who said her son deserved to be killed for being a self-declared atheist.

More recently, popular TV satirist Bassem Youssef was interrogated by the Public Prosecutor after several lawsuits were filed against him by ultra-conservative Salafi lawyers accusing him of “insulting Islam and the president” on his weekly show Al Bernameg CBC. The case triggered a public outcry and drew fierce criticism from Washington and rights campaigners, prompting the president’s office to release a statement saying that “the presidency is not involved in the investigation” and that it “recognises the importance of freedom of expression.”

Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression award winner Ibrahim Eissa has also been accused by an Islamist lawyer of defaming Islam after he mockingly said on his TV programme that “pickpockets would have their hand cut off according to Sharia, but those who steal billions from banks are allowed to get away with it.”

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Yulia Tymoshenko: the truth about Shcherban’s murder is important to society

Yulia Tymoshenko’s appeal to the media 

by Yulia Tymoshenko (see original post)

pr_b3423.jpgDear friends!

I am forced to ask you to come to the Ukrzaliznytsia hospital in Kharkiv on Sunday, April 7, 2013.

I ask that you be present while the staff of the Kachanivska prison again forges a statement of my alleged “unwillingness” to go to court in Kyiv because only your presence can help stop the avalanche of false information.

 

I hope the prison management will let you in to see me and won’t interfere in your professional duties to record what will take place in the Ukrzaliznytsia hospital room before the questioning of the next witness in the Shcherban case.

If this happens, you will see that the video the regime has released has been edited and doesn’t reflect my position.

I want to again explain the difference in my attitude towards participation in the court proceedings in Kharkiv and Kyiv.

Let me remind you that in the fabricated case being heard by the Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv I am charged with a number of imaginary “crimes” involving VAT refunds related to the activities of UESU at a time when I wasn’t even working in the corporation but was a member of parliament.

These charges from the 1990s were politically motivated – revenge for my opposition activities and participation in the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement.

The Prosecutor General’s Office and courts have repeatedly recognized the absurdity of these charges, and more than 50 judges of both chambers of the Supreme Court closed the case on 11 November 2005.

Given the Supreme Court decision in the UESU case it’s clear that it was reopened illegally, in gross violation of paragraph 7 of Protocol №7 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 61 of the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the permanence of court decisions. It should therefore be closed immediately and not subject to further review.

At the court hearing in the Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv on 22 March 2013, my defenders voiced my motion regarding the review of this case in my absence and the need to close it immediately. I am still a patient in Central Clinical Hospital № 5 and don’t see any reason to do irreparable harm to my health during the transport and participation in the hearing of this absurd case in the Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv.

The severity of my health problems, according to Article 249 of the CPC of Ukraine (1960), don’t allow me to be present at the hearing scheduled for 12 April 2013.

However, given the severity of the charges that Yanukovych’s regime has fabricated in the other politically motivated case – the Shcherban case – I continue to demand that I be personally present in court for the questioning of all witnesses. In spite of the critical state of my health and hospital treatment, I again stress that I am willing to be transported to Kyiv.

The regime is trying to illegally and without evidence give me a life sentence in the bogus Shcherban case. At the insistence of the PGO, using my status as a patient in Kharkiv hospital CCH № 5, violating Article 225 of the CPC of Ukraine (2012), based on acts forged by the Kachaniska prison management regarding my alleged “unwillingness” to go to the Kyiv court, they continue to question witnesses in my absence.

In response to the fabricated act of my “refusal”, the false evidence given by alleged “witnesses” based on the words of third-fourth-fifth parties or the deceased, there should be my word, because I plan to prove the absurdity of the government’s fictitious charges of my complicity in this serious crime despite my health problems.

I hope that you, dear journalists, will be at the Ukrzaliznytsia hospital on Sunday while the prison administration is drawing up the so-called “refusal” act and can present my position.

The truth about my relationship to the Shcherban case is important not only for me, but for all of society.

Yulia Tymoshenko
Ukrzaliznytsia Hospital
Kharkiv
5 April 2013

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Turmoil in Egypt continues, as state of emergency is declared

Authoritarian

JANUARY 30, 2013
BY 

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in three Suez Canal cities on Monday night, defying a night-time curfew and a month-long state of emergency declared by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a day earlier.

“Down with Mohamed Morsi! No to the emergency law,”they chanted.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, the Islamist President announced the imposition of martial law in the restive cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia in a bid “to end the bloodshed and protect citizens.” The move came in response to four days of street violence that left more than 50 people dead and hundreds of others injured.

Egyptian police fire tear gas in Alexandria

The latest wave of unrest was sparked by nationwide anti-government protests on the eve of the second anniversaryof the mass uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, that began on 25 Jan 2011. Opposition activists on Friday reiterated the now-familiar revolutionary slogans of “bread, freedom and social justice” and “the people want the downfall of the regime”.

They demanded quicker reforms and called foramendments to the Islamist-tinged constitution passed in a popular referendum in December. The situation deteriorated further after 21 defendants charged with involvement in last February’s violence at Port Said football stadium — the worst football-related violence in the country’s history — were sentenced to death on Sunday. The verdict triggered angry riots and attacks on police stations in Port Said.

The army has been deployed in Port Said and Suez in a bid “to restore stability and protect vital installations,” a military spokesman said on Egyptian TV. “Those who defy the curfew or damage public property will be dealt with harshly,” he warned.

In Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, demonstrators meanwhile staged rallies to protest the return of the much-detested emergency law, which was used for decades by Mubarak to round up opponents, silence voices of dissent and stifle freedom of expression. The protesters accused President Morsi of using the same repressive tactics as his predecessor.

“Morsi is Mubarak,” they shouted, “Down with the rule of the (Muslim Brotherhood) Supreme Guide.”

In recent weeks, a government crackdown on journalists critical of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood has fuelled concerns of restrictions on press freedoms gained after the January 2011 uprising. Several journalists have faced criminal investigations after being accused by Morsi’s Islamist supporters of “insulting the president”.

In December, a lawsuit was filed against Egypt’s answer to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show — satirist Bassem Youssef — for poking fun at the president on his weekly television programme Al Bernameg (The Programme) on Egyptian independent satellite channel CBC. Youssef appeared on the show hugging a pillow with the president’s picture on it — a gesture mocking Morsi’s repeated calls on Egyptians to “unify ranks and love one another”. While the court dismissed the charge, the case served as a reminder to journalists that the country’s controversial new constitution includes provisions forbidding insults.

Meanwhile the online editor-in-chief for state-sponsored newspaper Al Ahram, Hani Shukrallah, was forced into early retirement this month. Highly respected for his objectivity in covering the news, Shukrallah would not reveal the details surrounding his removal from the post, but some have suggested via Twitter that his dismissal was for not being pro-Muslim Brotherhood.

In December, Islamist protesters staged a sit-in outside the Media Production City calling for “the purging of the media” and accusing independent journalists and talk show hosts of vilifying the Islamist President.

In Cairo, security forces continued battling rock-throwing youths around Kasr-el-Nil, not far from Tahrir Square for a fifth consecutive day on Monday, disrupting traffic in the downtown area. The protesters hurled molotov cocktails at the police and set fire to a police armoured personnel carrier, in scenes reminiscent of“The Friday of Rage” on 28 January 2011.

Members of the 6 April youth movement that called for the mass uprising two years ago condemned the government’s slow response to the violence and warned that the state of emergency would further provoke Morsi’s opponents. They called for a political solution to address the root cause of the problem.

Emerging from talks with the president on Monday night, Ayman Nour, Head of the liberal Ghad Al Thawra Party said that the president had rejected the call for a national unity government but had agreed to amendments to the constitution including articles that opposition political parties say undermine women’s rights.

Rights groups denounced Morsi’s declaration of a state of emergency as “a backward step” that would allow police to resort to the heavy-handed tactics practiced under the ousted regime.

Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch in Cairo lamented Morsi’s decision to re-impose martial law describing it as “a classic knee-jerk reaction that would pave the way for more abuse by the Ministry of Interior, causing more anger.”

Analysts have expressed fears meanwhile, that the newly-declared state of emergency will plunge the country — battered by weeks of street violence — into deeper political and economic turmoil, and further polarising the already divided country. The emergence of the mysterious “Black Bloc”, a group that has vowed “to protect the goals of the revolution and rid the country of the fascist regime” has raised alarm. Islamists have so far exercised restraint and have stayed away from the protests, in order to avoid the kind of bloody confrontation witnessed in December outside of the presidential palace. They have warned warned however, that their patience is wearing thin, and that they are preparing for combat should the need arise. Such warnings have led some to even express fears of a collapse in Egyptian society. A scenario that would present Egypt’s powerful military with a fresh opportunity to return to power.

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