When Egypt targets journalists, denial remains the name of the game (Daily News Egypt)

When Egypt targets journalistsOn 29 December, 2013, three journalists working for the Al Jazeera English TV channel in Egypt – the Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian, Peter Greste, a renowned Australian journalist, and the Egyptian Producer Baher Mohamed – were arrested in their rooms of the Marriott Hotel in Cairo, their equipment was confiscated, and they were taken to the high security prison Tora, were high-profile leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared by the Egyptian government to be “terrorists”, are currently held.

For weeks no charges were laid against these journalists and Egypt refused to give any legal explanation. The Cairo Bureau Chief Fahmy was reportedly treated the worst of the three detained. While all had to suffer under solitary confinement, Fahmy got a “special” serving by continuously not being allowed medical treatment for a broken shoulder and having to sleep on the cold concrete floor in a cockroach-infested cell with no daylight.

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If you want to know details how the Canadian government of Prime Minister Harper is failing the Canadian-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, read my blogpost detailing the incredible telephone conversation with the spokesperson to Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird:

How the Harper government fails Canadian journalist in Egyptian jail

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Eritrea’s botched kick-off – Football players defect (Daily News Egypt)

Eritrea's botched kick-offOnce more it is not going well for the oppressive regime of Eritrean’s President Isaias Afewerki. Desperately trying to find some honour abroad, at least in the field of sports, something keeps going awfully wrong.

Sunday evening nine members of the Eritrean national football team, currently in Kenya for the 2013 CECAFA Cup, disappeared from their hotel and defected. With them is the team coach, which leaves the rest of the players stranded.

Already a week ago two players of the team had gone in hiding, so that now eleven Eritrean football players have turned their back on the regime that send them to the tournament. It is expected that they will file an asylum request with the UNHCR in Kenya.

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Boston and the Arab World: Where the Bombs Begin (Daily News Egypt)

Boston Where The Bombs BeginWhen I saw the second plane fly into the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 – there was shock on my face and horror. Not, because this happened to the US, but because I knew that this happened to humans. The single mother battling hard with her two children after her husband had left her, the young man aspiring to become a scientist finding a cure to diseases, the old woman who had lost her husband and son in a car accident early and been alone and brave for 30 years, the businessman from abroad on a strenuous conference trip, working hard to ensure a living for his family and education for his daughter and son, the over 600 Muslims working in companies in the towers, being unaware of getting killed this very minute by so called ‘Muslim’ brothers – who were in fact no brothers nor Muslims but cold, pathetic terrorists and murderers.

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If you like to hear the Op-ed, listen to it on SoundCloud:

Human trafficking in the Sinai (Daily News Egypt)

Human Trafficking in SinaiThe Sinai is a beautiful peninsula piece of desert situated between the mainland of Egypt on one side and the Red Sea and Israel on the other side. It is known for its tourist attractions in the south like the St. Catherine’s monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai and the numerous exceptional diving sites at Nuweiba, Dahab or Sharm El-Sheikh.

Many tourists visit the South Sinai for holidays and marvel at the beauty. But little do they know that only a few hundred kilometres further north human tragedies of an unbelievable volume are happening daily – which can cost an 8 year old girl her family and her sanity.

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NGO trial: Another Day in the cage (Atlantic Council)

NGO Trial - Another Day in the CageTomorrow Egypt will see another court session in what has become widely known as the NGO trial. In December 2011, eight months after Hosni Mubarak was toppled and just days after the first free parliamentary election phase began, Egyptian police raided the Cairo offices of 10 non-governmental organizations (NGO) that were working in Egypt, monitoring elections and educating parties and voters in the country. Initially, no reason was given for the raids in which a total of 43 NGO staffers, including 19 Americans, were held at gunpoint while watching their offices get ransacked. Computers, files, private laptops and even cash was taken without a warrant shown or an explanation given. It took almost two months until the prosecution released both the accusations and the names of those officially being charged.

Robert Becker, at the time a political party trainer and election observer for the American NGO the National Democratic Institute (NDI), still recalls how he learned that a court case was going to shape his future.

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