Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Egypt: Update--Gov't Increasingly Looks Like a Dictatorship, Brotherhood Banned from Election

According to AFP, a court on Tuesday (April 15) banned members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement listed as a "terrorist group," from running in Egypt's upcoming elections, a lawyer and state media said.

Egypt's military-installed authorities are engaged in a deadly crackdown against the Brotherhood, which swept all elections in Egypt since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

A court in Alexandria ordered authorities to bar any candidacies from Brotherhood members or former members in presidential and parliamentary elections.

The ruling came after an anti-Brotherhood group filed a petition calling for the ban.

COMMENT:  "It is illogical to receive such candidacies after the government designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation," Tareq Mahmoud, an attorney for the Brotherhood, told AFP.

In December 2013, Egyptian authorities blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist group" after blaming it for a deadly bombing north of Cairo.

Egypt is to hold a May 26-27 presidential election, widely expected to be won by ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to be followed by parliamentary polls.

al-Sisi is riding a wave of popularity after he ousted Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Morsi belonged to the Brotherhood.

More than 15,000 Islamists, mainly Brotherhood members, have been jailed, while hundreds have been sentenced to death following often speedy trials.

The 85-year-old Brotherhood, Egypt's most organized opposition group, during decades of dictatorship, despite being banned, stepped out of the shadows following the 2011 Revolution.

Tuesday's court ruling against the Brotherhood came hours after a bomb attack in an upmarket central Cairo district wounded two policemen and a passer-by.

For those of our readers planning to travel to Egypt before June 30, I strongly discourage tourists to RECONSIDER such a decision, largely because it is unknown as to what level of potential violent demonstrations, political unrest and attacks on tourists could occur during that time-frame.

It is already expected that the Brotherhood and the military-backed Egyptian government is likely to clash and target each other before, during and immediately following the presidential election.

Consider this: If violence breaks out while you're in Egypt during this tense period of time, what is your plan?