This statement signed by members of Australia’s provincial parliaments and Senate, as well as senior academics and leading trade unionists, was handed to the Egyptian consulate in Sydney in protest at the jailing and detention of hundreds of Egyptian activists in the recent crackdown.
Add your name to the companion international statement here.
Statement of protest over jailing of 105 Egyptian activists
he Egyptian government has responded to a new wave of popular protest with widespread arrests, dawn raids on activists’ homes, and lengthy jail sentences for attending protests.
On 14 May 152 people were handed prison sentences after protests against the government’s transfer of Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. In one case 54 activists were sentenced to five years’ jail as well as fines of $15,000, with another 47 receiving only the fine. A further 51 people have received two years’ jail. Altogether over 1000 have been arrested, including well-known labour lawyer Haitham Mohamedain.
This is the latest act in a wave of authoritarianism from the government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. There have been over 33,000 arbitrary arrests in 2014 and 2015, according to Amnesty International, many for membership of the Muslim Brotherhood. Journalists including Australian Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera colleagues, who were imprisoned for over a year before their release last year, have also come under attack.
The regime is now targeting all forms of political dissent. Staff from Egyptian NGOs are under investigation for the crime of accepting foreign funding, which carries a jail sentence of 25 years. The country’s independent trade unions are also being investigated. Despite this the struggle by ordinary Egyptians to assert their democratic rights continues. The decision to hand over control of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia has mobilised a wide coalition of groups to protest under the slogan “Egypt is not for sale”. Troops and tanks were deployed to crush protests on 25 April.
We condemn these efforts to crush political dissent and call on the Egyptian government to release all political prisoners and guarantee the fundamental democratic right to protest.
Jamie Parker MP, Member for Balmain, NSW Parliament
Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown, NSW Parliament
Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, NSW Parliament
Senator Lee Rhiannon
Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union
Michael Thomson, National Vice-President (General Staff), National Tertiary Education Union
Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees AM, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Dr Monther Alhamdoosh, Research Scientist, CSL Limited
Associate Professor Thalia Anthony, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Tom Barnes, Research Fellow, Institute for Religion, Politics & Society, Australian Catholic University (personal capacity)
Dr Noah Bassil, Senior Lecturer and Director, Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, Macquarie University
Dr David Brophy, Lecturer, Department of History, University of Sydney
Vince Caughley, President, University of Technology Sydney Branch, National Tertiary Education Union
Paul Duffill, Executive Committee Member and Visiting Scholar, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Bill Dunn, Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney
Padraic Gibson, Senior Researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Sarah Gregson, Senior Lecturer, School of Management and President, University of NSW Branch, National Tertiary Education Union
Dylan Griffiths, Education Officer, Students’ Representative Council, University of Sydney
Dr Phil Griffiths, Lecturer, Political Economy, University of Southern Queensland (personal capacity)
Dr Elizabeth Humphrys, Scholarly Teaching Fellow, University of Technology Sydney
Zainab Abdul-Nabi Jasim, casual tutor in Arabic and media departments, University of Sydney
Dr Karen Jones, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy, University of Melbourne
Dr Timothy Jones, Senior Lecturer in History, La Trobe University
Melanie Lazarow, Life Member, NTEU
Dr Ashley Lavelle, Lecturer, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University
Associate Professor Jake Lynch, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Malaysian Progressives in Australia (MPOZ)
Hannah McCann, Lecturer in Gender Studies, Australian National University
Dr Nick Riemer, Senior Lecturer, English and Linguistics departments, University of Sydney
Dr Melissa Slee, President, RMIT University, National Tertiary Education Union
Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and Honorary Research Fellow, Victoria University
Dr Lucia Sorbera, Senior Lecturer. Honours and Postgraduate Coordinator, Department of Arabic Language and Cultures, University of Sydney
Dr Jacquie Widin, Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator, University of Technology Sydney
Dr Graham Willett, Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne