Despite condemnation of Egypt’s jailing of Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, the USA has just discreetly handed a plain brown envelope worth $572m to Egypt’s military rulers, with plenty more where that came from.
While the crackdown on al-Jazeera English journalists, human rights activists and Muslim Brotherhood supporters escalates, the USA has quietly resumed its Egyptian military aid programme to what is a brutal military regime in all but name.
Former Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, as well as Minister of Defence, now President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has said he will not "interfere" with the judiciary over the sentencing of al-Jazeera journalists. But the judicial system in Egypt is completely under military influence and acts in an arbitrary way to serve the military's draconian grip on the country.
Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire condemned the convictions and the increasingly “totalitarian” nature of the Egyptian government.
“Not content with criminalising all political opposition, the Egyptian authorities are pursuing a policy of gagging news media that try to offer a different take on reality from the government’s,” Deloire said in a statement.
“We point out that such arrests and arbitrary convictions violate the provisions of the new constitution, especially article 71.”
Activists including blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah have received 15 year jail sentences for an act banned under a law implemented last November. Over 40 senior academics including more than a dozen former presidents of the most important professional association for scholars of the Arab and larger Muslim world, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), have signed a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry calling for the immediate release of Alaa and other political detainees in Egypt, for Egyptian officials to suspend the protest law of 2013 and end the repression of free speech rights guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and international law, and end the regime of violence, including torture and extra judicial execution, that still governs Egypt after the electoral victory of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as President.