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This incident has taken huge proportions and has gone international, deliberately by the MB International Organization, which had orchestrated it from A to Z.
The story began during the rule of Morsi, when his terrorist organization proposed a law regulating demonstrations and setting very strict conditions, some of them even ridiculous, like demonstrating so far away from the area you are objecting to, as to make the demonstration lose its essence and meaning. The penalties also were extremely harsh, and the police was given a free hand in dealing with the demonstrators. So this law had a very bad name since that time.
After Morsi was removed, the law was re-visited, re-drafted, revised by the interim government and finally approved by the interim President. But the fever against this law remains high by those who did not bother to look at the new version. First of all to demonstrate, as in anywhere in the world, you have to notify the police of the date, time, duration, venue and number expected, so they can ensure the safety of the demonstrators, provide the adequate number of police for protection and control, and ensure that it does not clash with another demonstration. The next point of difference to the MB proposed law is that the penalties are all monetary and no incarceration. There are certain basics found in all countries that have laws regulating demonstrations. These are adhered to strictly in the law that was passed. Once the law was signed by the President, it came into effect.
As is the usual case with the MB, they set up a plan to challenge this law so that if it is applied , then police brutality would be claimed, also a repressive state that oppresses freedom of speech would be cited. If the law was not applied, then they would claim a failed state that cannot even apply its own laws. For the Muslim Brotherhood it was a win/win situation.
The plan set up was very clever indeed. The elements used were young women and very young girls, minors. These were told to start demonstrating in Alexandria, early in the morning, to barricade Syria street in the area called Rouchdi, to disrupt traffic and to start throwing stones at shop windows, using cocktail molotov and if faced by the residents and shop keepers of the area to use knives. The girls were very enthusiastic in their execution of this plan, to the extent that quite a few residents and shop keepers were injured, and photos of their bloodied heads were shown. The stone throwing was very vicious and accurate. A great deal of damage to property resulted from that. The police finally intervened, and the girls surrendered after a slight resistance, just enough to add resisting arrest to their account. Twenty one were arrested, out of which six were minors, that is under 18 years old.
As this incident took place after the issuing of the law regulating demonstrations, and because it was a deliberate attempt at challenging this law, everything that was stated by the law as prohibited, was done. The law said not to stop traffic, they did, the law said not to disturb the peace, they did, the law said not to use force, they did., the law said not to deface buildings with graffiti, they did, the law said not to damage property, they did. The law said not to physically hurt people, they did. Another law says not to resist arrest, they did. Yet another law had categorically stated that the organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is disbanded and that it is illegal to belong to such an organization, and the girls claimed their membership to that organization very openly in dress, posters and slogans.
The trick played by the planners of this incident was to try to embarrass the government and the courts into either letting them go, or into prosecuting them according to the PENAL LAW. As they had not notified that this was going to be a demonstration, the law regulating demonstrations could not be applied. They had to be accused of what they were caught doing, under the penal law, the punishment of which is much harsher than that of the one regulating demonstrations.
Here the plot thickens. Once the girls were arrested and taken into custody, a hue and cry was raised that it is now the young women and girls of the MB who are being targeted by the “coup’s oppressive government”. Once it was found that six of those taken into custody were minors, they were turned over to juvenile court. But the remaining 14 being adult, were to face an adult court accused of several counts of misdemeanors. Each count could give them a maximum of three years of jail time. This was very clearly explained to them, but the plan of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood had another thing in mind. How could these girls be made to look like martyrs, David facing Goliath ? Their next step was very clever, but very obvious.
On facing the court the lawyer hired to defend them refused to utter a word. According to Egyptian law if your lawyer does not defend you, you have the right to another. The girls refused to change their lawyer. The Judge presiding then, again as per law, asked them if they would like to personally defend themselves, and they refused. They had previously been caught red-handed and when taken into custody and questioned, confessed to all the accusations, stating defiantly that they knew what they were doing and that they did all that deliberately. The Judge had no option but to pass sentence in an open and shut case. So each one of the 14 adult women was given jail time of 11 years and one month.
This was exactly what had been planned by the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and now they had a case they could take to the international media, where poor, defenseless young girls were given an extremely stiff sentence by a brutal regime bent on oppression and the persecution of those opposing it.
Everybody fell into the trap. Many an Egyptian felt that the sentencing was too stiff, not realizing that the Judge is restricted by the letter of the law and had no leeway since they were caught red-handed, had confessed and professed no acknowledgement of wrong-doing or of remorse, that he HAD to pass these sentences. Many people were not informed that because they had not resorted to the law regulating demonstrations, they had automatically been tried under the regular Egyptian penal law, which has much harsher penalties for such misdemeanors. Many people are still not aware that these sentences are now going to be part of their permanent record, that they are now considered in the eyes of the law and of society, as convicted felons with a criminal record.
These girls are the victims of a ruthless terrorist organization that has no compunction in using those who believe in it in the most vicious way possible. To the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood these girl are expendable. They have done what is needed in providing them with the tool to try to tarnish the image of the interim government and the judicial system in Egypt. Up till now the general public is split between sympathy for young girls being jailed for so long, and those who see that they were criminals, did criminal acts punishable by law, and got their just deserts. But there is a middle road, though the legal complications look insurmountable.
These are young girls who were brainwashed and led to believe that what they were doing was fighting for a religious cause and that they will be considered as the highest form of fighters, the martyrs. When sentence was pronounced they were so happy, laughing and grinning at the cameras, holding up the sign of Rabaa and feeling very proud and entitled. These are young women whose future has been drastically affected. They now have a criminal record. They will have to serve rather long years incarcerated. When they get out of jail they will still be under probation for another four years. When word got around that a Presidential pardon might be forthcoming, the girls said, if it materializes they will refused it. In essence these girls would have lost all their youth, the best years of their lives, in jail. What for? To serve the political purposes of a ruthless terrorist organization. In my view they are victims, not of the law, but of outlaws who have brainwashed them and used them. They are victims of a society that made them available to such an outlawed organization, and they are victims of a broken down education system that made them vulnerable to such ideas and capable of being brainwashed. If anything, this case epitomizes the tragedy that is Egypt today.