Egypt court clears indigenous Nubians of protest charges

In this file photo, Egyptian security forces stand guard outside a court in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 07 April 2019

Egypt court clears indigenous Nubians of protest charges

  • The case involving 32 defendants dates back to September 2017 when dozens of Nubians held peaceful demonstrations in Aswan

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Sunday cleared eight members of the indigenous Nubian minority of charges related to a protest staged nearly two years ago, a judicial official said.
The case involving 32 defendants dates back to September 2017 when dozens of Nubians held peaceful demonstrations in the southern city of Aswan demanding their right to return to ancestral lands.
Nubians are an ethnic group indigenous to northern Sudan and southern Egypt who trace their roots to an old civilization.
They were evicted in the 1960s after their shoreline was flooded with water from Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The eight acquitted on Sunday were cleared of charges including inciting protests, blocking roads and disrupting public order, the judicial official told AFP.
Twenty-four other Nubians received conditional fines of 30,000-50,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,733-$2,890) which would only be enforced if the defendants commit future crimes.
Nubians have been calling for decades for their right to return to their historic villages along the Nile.
The ethnic minority’s incessant calls culminated in recognizing their right of return to their original lands in Egypt’s 2014 constitution for the first time.
Egypt has effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of former Islamist President Muhammad Mursi.
General-turned-president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who led Mursi’s ouster, came to power in 2014.
He secured a second four-year term in March 2018 with over 97 percent of the vote.
Under his rule, Egyptian authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents jailing Mursi’s Islamist supporters as well as liberal, secular activists and popular bloggers.

Egypt army drill ‘sends a message to Erdogan’

Updated 12 min 25 sec ago

Egypt army drill ‘sends a message to Erdogan’

  • Military exercise near Libyan border a ‘warning shot,’ experts say

CAIRO: A major Egyptian army exercise near the border with Libya is being viewed by military and strategic experts as a message of deterrence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his backing for the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and supported by militia groups.

The combat exercise, codenamed “Hasm 2020” (Firmness 2020), was carried out by Egypt’s Western Region units together with armed forces formations and special troops, including paratroops and SEAL teams.

The drills included strategic incursions by land forces and land-sea operations by troops in coastal areas of the Western Region near the border with Libya. Other exercises focused on the threat from mercenary or terror groups.

Air defense and artillery maneuvers were also carried out during the exercises, which lasted several days. 

African affairs and national security expert Gen. Mohammed Abdel-Wahed said the Hasm 2020 exercise “carries many internal and external messages of assurance to our brothers in Libya and deterrence to some regional parties.”

The drill “was a message of deterrence to anyone who thinks he can threaten Egyptian national security” and “a simulation of war,” he added.

According to an army statement, the drill’s main phase was attended by Egyptian Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki, and included live artillery and weapons fire.

Strategic expert Gen. Samir Farag said: “What happened was not an ordinary drill because the forces attacked mercenaries. Our army always fights a regular army. What is different about this drill is training to combat mercenaries. One of the training tasks is to carry out attacks to eliminate mercenaries in cooperation with the air force.”

Farag said the drill “is a message that we will operate on the coasts if they are under threat.”

He said the Egyptian air force succeeded in providing air supplies, “meaning that we have forces capable of going anywhere.”

Farag said that the Western Region had been carefully selected as a location for the exercises.

“We closely monitor any drill carried out by any of our enemies,” he said, adding that Hasm 2020 had been studied and followed up by some countries in the region. 

Egyptian MP and journalist Mustafa Bakry said that “every Egyptian should be proud of their armed forces and their extensive preparation to counter any attack on Egypt or threaten its national security.”

Bakry said that Hasm 2020 sent “a clear message to anyone who attempts to threaten Egypt or its people.”

The Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jufra are a red line, he said, adding that “Egypt will never leave Libya and its brotherly people as an easy prey to the Turkish invader.”