Greater Middle East
Egyptian authorities on July 4 shut down four Islamist-run television stations viewed as sympathetic to ousted President Mohamed Morsi. This crackdown occurred only a day after the Egyptian military removed Morsi from office and installed an interim government headed by High Constitutional Court judge Adly Mansour. The military also raided the offices of Al Jazeera's Egyptian news channel and detained at least five of its staff members, four of whom were later released. Another station run by the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from the air as it was showing pro-Morsi protesters chanting "down with military rule" following the announcement that Morsi had been removed from power.
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) court on July 2 gave sentences of up to 15 years in prison to 69 out of 94 people on trial for planning an Islamist coup. The group of defendants includes unnamed doctors, academics, lawyers and other professionals arrested over the past year for allegedly forming a secret network with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The court found that the defendants planned to raise money to stage a coup against the Emirati ruling families. Most of the defendants are members of the conservative Reform and Social Guidance Association (al-Islah), a nonviolent Islamist political association advocating greater adherence to Islamic precepts. According to media sources eight suspects received prison terms of 15 years after being tried in absentia. The court gave 10-year sentences to 56 of the suspects, seven-year terms to five others and acquitted 25. The trial began in March. The UAE tolerates no political opposition within its borders.
Joshua Stephens of Waging Nonviolence ran an interview July 2 with Mohammed Hassan Aazab, a member of the Egyptian anarchist bloc that has been participating in the anti-Morsi protests—but with its own dissident perspective. In the following excerpt, Azab speaks on why the anarchists have not joined the anti-Morsi coalition dubbed Tamarod (Rebel), the role of the feloul (Mubarak-nostalgist) forces, and risks of both civil war and a new dictatorship...
The Egyptian military on July 3 deposed President Mohamed Morsi, suspended the nation's constitution, and installed an interim government headed by High Constitutional Court judge Adly Mansour. Protests and demonstrations erupted throughout Egypt on Sunday calling for Morsi's resignation for his alleged failure to address economic and security issues during his one year tenure as president. The military announced its plans to overthrow Morsi early in the day, and by the late afternoon soldiers and tanks surrounded the presidential palace where thousands of Morsi's supporters had gathered. Thereafter, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially declared Morsi's removal from office. Morsi condemned the military's actions as an unjustified and illegitimate coup that he rejects. An aide in the Office of Assistant to the President of Egypt on Foreign Relations responded to the military's actions as they occurred:
A Bahraini high criminal court on July 1 acquitted two police officers on trial for the torture of six Shi'iite doctors during the uprising against the Sunni regime in 2011. The Grand Criminal Court's Third Chamber acquitted the two officers of all charges due to the lack of adequate evidence that the officers engaged in the torture of two female and four male doctors in March 2011. Both officers, one being Bahraini princess Noura Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa who serves in Bahrain's Drugs Control Unit, denied the charges. Prosecutor Nawaf Hamza will appeal the decision if they find error in the court's reasoning.
The Egyptian Court of Cassation on July 2 ordered President Mohammed Morsi to reinstate Abdel Meguid Mahmoud to his post as prosecutor-general (PG). Morsi appointed Talaat Abdallah as PG in November, pursuant to a controversial constitutional declaration which dismissed and replaced the Mubarak-era PG Mahmoud and immunized Morsi's own decisions from judicial appeal. The Cairo Court of Appeals overturned Mahmoud's dismissal in March based on a constitutional provision which established that the PG post comes with a four-year term and is not subject to presidential dismissal. Abdallah has not left office despite requests from Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council that he resign and return to his former position as a judge. Abdallah has been criticized by the liberal opposition for targeting critics of Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and independent media, including the popular television satirist Bassem Youssef who was recently arrested for allegedly insulting Islam and Morsi. Mahmoud pledged to protect the rights of the people after the ruling.
Turkish security forces killed one and wounded nine as villagers armed with improvised petrol bombs attacked a construction site of the gendarmerie at Kayacik in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir June 29. The attack came amid a protest against the new police station. Officers used tear-gas and live fire against the attackers. (Euronews, Focus Information Agency, June 29) The incident came two weeks after a conference in Diyarbakir openly broached the independence of Turkey's Kurdish areas, a topic long taboo in the country. The Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Congress of Democratic Society (KCD) have held many conferences on Kurdish issues in the past, but this was the first where leaders discussed possible secession from Turkey and an independent Kurdish state. Organizers referred to the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan as "the president of the Kurdish nation." (Rudaw, June 26)
Street clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi shook Egypt's port of Alexandria June 28, in a day of rival protests nationwide that left two dead—including a US citizen who was photographing. Several Muslim Brotherhood offices were ransacked and some torched across the country, including the offices in Alexandria and the Nile Delta governorates of Beheira, Gharbiya, Daqahilyah and Kafr Al-Sheikh. The Brotherhood released a statement holding members of the anti-Morsi Tamarod ("Rebel") campaign responsible for the violence, slamming them as "thugs." Cairo's Tahrir S