We have another abusive case out of Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. President al-Sisi has destroyed guarantees of free speech and the free press in country, which once seemed on the road to becoming an exception in the Muslim world as a nation embracing basic civil liberties. In the latest case, an Egyptian court sentenced blogger Taymour el-Sobki to three years in jail with hard labor for “spreading false news.” The “false news”? He simply opined that 45 percent of married Egyptian women have the readiness for “immorality” and to cheat on their husbands. That now gets you three years in Egypt.
Egypt has seen a dramatic rollback on civil liberties under al-Sisi. In Egypt, a teenager was jailed for cartoons of Muhammad and a leading businessman was attacked for a cartoon of Micky Mouse with a beard. Then there was the three-year sentence given Amr Nohan, a 22-year-old law graduate for posting a Facebook image of el-Sisi with Mickey Mouse-style cartoon ears. A leading cartoonist Islam Gawish, 26, was arrested in Egypt by the hyper sensitive al-Sisi government. We recently discussed how Egypt’s Attorney General Nabil Sadeq ordered an investigation into a TV presenter, Azza Al-Henawy, who simply criticized al-Sisi for not delivering on promise.
In the case of el-Sobki, he is a popular commentator with more than one million followers on Facebook. He has a Facebook page called “Diaries of a Suffering Husband” and opined that “[m]any women are involved in extramarital affairs while their husbands are abroad.” He criticized arranged marriages as only exacerbating the problem of infidelity. His comments led to death threats for challenging Islamic values.
The plight of academics and writers in Egypt is shocking. Brave intellectuals and lawyers continue to fight to protect free speech in the country — at great personal and professional risk. It is a fight for the very soul of the country. Yet, under al-Sisi, Egypt is descending back into the darkness of censorship and authoritarianism. He is being enabled by judges and prosecutors who have instruments of opposition in dismantling both civil liberties and the rule of law.
Source: Washington Post