FILE – George Ishak – Flickr/Lilyan Wagdy FILE – George Ishak – Flickr/Lilyan Wagdy

George Ishak: Mekameleen deceived me, twisted my statement

Thu, Jul. 19, 2018
CAIRO – 19 July 2018: George Ishak, member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) justified his controversial statements to Mekameleen, saying that he did not know he was speaking to the channel hostile to Egypt.

In a telephone interview in June with Mekameleen, a Pro-Muslim Brotherhood “terrorist” organization TV channel, Ishak said the police forces killed a number of secretly abducted people in Arish city, without presenting any detailed evidence of the incident.

Ishak said that the channel has twisted his statement, adding that Arish’s case that he had described as enforced disappearance was later revealed to be of a terrorist who was eliminated by security forces.


Lawyer Tarek Mahmoud filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Ishak, accusing the latter of disseminating false information, inciting against state institutions, threatening national security and conspiring with foreign organizations against the country.

MP Alaa Abed, head of the Parliament's Human Rights Committee, said Tuesday he would sue Ishak, over the latter’s statements to the Turkey-based Mekameleen channel.

During his interview with the opposition channel, Ishak held the “[human] rights organizations” and “the state” responsible for the confusion between terrorism combat and illegal murder, calling on the Egyptian government to respond to the accusations.

Abed said he will resort to justice to punish Ishak for his statements to Mekameleen; Abed described the entire staff of the channel as “spies of the time” who receive “foreign funds” to target the Egyptian state.

“Tomorrow morning my office will file a direct lawsuit against George Ishak over stirring sedition and inciting against state national institutions,” Abed stated. “This man [probably] has lost his mind, and this man [probably] does not know anything about patriotism,” he added, stressing that the presence of Ishak in the NCHR tarnishes the council.

Abed said that Mohamed Fayek, head of the NCHR, condemned Ishak’s statements, and urged the acceleration of efforts to reshuffle the council’s staff. In May, Abed said that the NCHR is expected to be reshuffled within a month.

In an interview with DMC on Wednesday, Abed said that the new council will help defend the Egyptian state and will respond to the foreign reports issued against the country from incredible sources.

Ishak has been known for opposing the current government and leadership. In a January press conference, Ishak described the March 2018 presidential election as unconstitutional, claiming that the High Elections Committee did not consider the violations that the candidates have reported.

Discussing a book for late author Khalil Kalfat, Christian Ishak said that he had worked with the Muslim Brotherhood since 2004, claiming that the presidential term of Morsi and the MB group was completely positive. However, in an interview with Al-Rai in 2014, Ishak considered the reconciliation with the MB as “high treason.”

The MB has been designated by the Egyptian state as a terrorist group after Morsi was ousted in 2013.

Insulting police: “high treason”

During his visit to the city of Alamein on March 1, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said that he considers any insult against the security forces as “high treason.”

"If someone insults the army or police they're defaming all Egyptians and that's not freedom of speech," he said.



Later in March, Parliament member Solaf Darwish submitted a five-article-draft law to criminalize acts of defamation against the Armed Forces and police.

Article 1 stipulates that those who publicly insult or publish things to defame or abuse the Armed Forces or police, or incite another person to commit an act or say something against the police and Armed Forces shall be punished with at least three years in prison and a LE 10,000 fine.

The penalty could be doubled by suspending the newspaper that continues to publish fake news to insult the Armed Forces and police.

Anyone who distributes and displays photos that lead to the defamation of both the Armed Forces and police by any means shall be punished with at least five years in jail and a LE 5,000 fine.

Law enforcement officers shall seize writings, photos and any other means to defame the Armed Forces and police, and then refer the crime to the Public Prosecution. If the Public Prosecution acknowledges the crimes, it shall file them to the Court of First Instance that shall issue its decree after the hearings. The decree cannot be appealed.

On March 6, six people were arrested for their involvement in a play that insulted security forces.

The playwright, director and officials at the sports club where the play was staged were arrested for investigation by military prosecutors.

Human rights “development”

In March, Egypt refuted statements from the European Union and some European countries on human rights in Egypt, saying that those statements are allegations that lack objectivity.

"They fail to consider the positive development in the human rights file, despite the fierce terrorist attack against Egypt," said Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Alaa Yousef.

youssef
Ambassador Alaa Youssef – Press photo

Yousef further said alleged arbitrary detention is nothing but false charges and that the detention or travel ban of any person is based on the Public Prosecution's decision according to legal guarantees established by the Egyptian legislation.

The Egyptian government is also cooperating with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, the ambassador asserted.
 
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