Egypt. In January, a referendum was held on a new constitutional proposal drawn up under the rule of the military regime. According to Countryaah.com, Egypt population in 2020 is estimated at 102,334,415. The followers of the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the vote, which became a manifestation either for or against the sitting regime. At least ten people were killed in connection with the vote, with 98% voting for the new constitution.
As expected, the May presidential election turned out to be a victory for former Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, who led the overthrow of the country’s former President Muhammad Mursi in July 2013, and who, according to most analysts, was the person they in fact ruled the country ever since. al-Sisi received as much as 97% of the vote, but due to a very low turnout of 47%, many questioned the legitimacy of the election.
During the spring, several trials were held against Mursi, who was accused, among other things, of instigating the murder of protesters and of conspiring with militant organizations to commit terrorist offenses against Egypt. In November, trials were also held against 17 civilians in a military court in the city of Suez. The defendants were sentenced to prison sentences of between five and ten years for violent acts in connection with the overthrow of Mursi the year before.
In December, ex-President Hosni Mubarak was acquitted of charges of murdering hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolution.
During the year, several journalists were arrested at various locations in the country. In March, three journalists from the international TV channel al-Jazira were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences accused of spreading fake news and of cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood. The ruling attracted considerable attention abroad and several countries urged the Egyptian regime to release journalists. According to the organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), freedom of the press in Egypt has deteriorated dramatically in recent years with increasing attacks and trials against journalists. CPJ ranked the country as the third deadliest in the world in 2014.
During the year, several mass trials were held in which several hundred members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death. The judges led to violent protests and condemnations, and several human rights organizations said that political violence against the population had increased sharply since Mursi was deposed. The organizations also sharply criticized the human rights situation in the country overall, which they believed had deteriorated sharply since the 2011 revolution. In November, Egypt received criticism from the UN Human Rights Council, which urged the country to release political prisoners and investigate suspected abuses committed of the security forces.
During the year, several people were also convicted under the anti-protest laws instituted the year before. Another legislation that attracted much attention was the new restrictive law for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which was reintroduced in the fall. The law, which came into being during Mubarak’s time in power, was described as a severe blow to the organizations, which, among other things, had to undergo mandatory registration in order to operate in the country at all. The protests against the new law did not wait and gathered ordinary citizens, democracy activists and politicians and others. The critics felt that the new law was a serious interference with democracy because it gave the authorities the right to inspect the organizations’ activities and ban individual projects.
Alexandria remembers its past greatness
Alexander the Great was on his way to Siwa’s oasis to meet the famous oracle when he discovered the perfect natural harbor. Growing up around it, Alexandria developed into a center of civilization and trade in ancient times. The library of half a million works in Alexandria was world famous. Ships in cargo were directed to the port by the lighthouse of Faro, one of the seven wonders of the world. It is now home to the five-hundred-year-old Qaitbey Fortress.
Cleopatra also lived and ruled in Alexandria. Christianity was the first to be brought to the city in Africa and to Wadi Natrun, between Cairo and Alexandria, the first Coptic Monastic Monasteries were founded in the 30th century, four of which still function. The world’s oldest operating monastery, St. Catherine’s Monastery, is also located in Egypt, on the Sinai Peninsula. Cairo took its lead from Alexandria a thousand years ago, and the city’s recovery did not begin until the late 19th century, when British tourists discovered it. Still still going to Alexandria on holiday, but the newcomers are just Egyptians. People walk along the Corniche promenade and sit in cafes and restaurants. The reputation of the Hellenistic city of culture is maintained by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, designed in 2002 by Norwegian architects.
Leaders of the Brotherhood arrested
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmud Izzat arrested. He already has two death sentences against him for terrorist crimes, and a life sentence. As a member of the banned organization since the 1960s, he was also imprisoned under Presidents Nasser and Mubarak.
Election to the upper house of Parliament
Polling stations will be opened for a two-day election, when 200 of the 300 seats in the Senate will be filled. Most of those who stand, and are elected, are people who support President Sisi, who has spent his years in power to silence all opposition, both in parliament and outside. The President appoints the remaining third of the House. The election takes place before the upper house of parliament is re-established. When the election results are announced on 19 August, it appears that the turnout was just over 14 percent, which is explained by the summer heat and the risk of corona infection. The authorities announce a week later that more than 50 million voters risk fines for not voting, but no one believes that so many will be able to be handled by the judiciary and the news leads to authorities being hacked on social media. If a decisive round is needed for any mandate,
Egypt and Greece agree on sea zone
Egypt and Greece conclude agreements to form a common economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean. The cooperation will include oil and gas that can be extracted in the area, according to the Egyptian Foreign Minister. The agreement must be seen in the light of an ongoing race for marine resources. Last year, Turkey signed an agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli, also on natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. That deal, and Turkish exploration at sea, also worries Cyprus.