Egypt: Solidarity needed as military judges summon journalists critical of martial law

Dozens of activists gather at the military prosecutor's headquarters in Cairo on May 31, 2011, after Hossam el Hamalawy and Reem Maged are summoned after criticising the army on live TV. Filmed and edited by Simon Hanna.

STOP PRESS: May 31, 2001 -- "Hamalawy and Maged not questioned but asked to provide evidence of military police violations".

May 31, 2011 -- menasolidaritynetwork -- Journalists Hossam el-Hamalawy, Reem Maged and Nabil Sharaf al-Din have been summoned to appear before military judges on May 31. Mostafa Sheshtawy has a useful post here, which provides a translation of Hossam’s comments which have upset the military so much (he called for an end to the practice of military trials for civilians and said he held the head of the military police, Hamdy Badeen, responsible for the torture and mistreatment of detainees).

According to Al-Ahram, Nabil Sharaf al-Din was summoned the same day in relation to his criticisms of the Supreme Military Council’s handling of the transition period.

Egyptian activists have called protests in Cairo and Alexandria, details here.

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Add your name to this statement: email

Please note this is an updated version which adds Nabil Sharaf al-Din’s name (30/05/2011, 9 p.m.)

Please circulate widely

We condemn the decision to refer journalists Hossam el-Hamalawy and Reem Maged for questioning by military judges on Tuesday 31 May in relation to their discussion of violations of human rights by the Egyptian military police and the ruling Supreme Military Council on Reem’s political talkshow which aired on ONTV on 26 May 2011. We likewise condemn the decision to refer journalist Nabil Sharaf al-Din for questioning by military judges in relation to comments he also made on ONTV.

We will not stand by and see courageous journalists silenced, and we stand in solidarity with all Egyptians who are fighting to defend their rights to protest, strike and express themselves freely. These are precious gains of the revolution of 25 January, during which nearly 1000 Egyptians sacrificed their lives.

We call on the Supreme Military Council to cease its harassment of journalists, activists and citizens who exercise their basic human rights to question their rulers.

We affirm our support for the statement below on the right to strike and protest in Egypt which was first issued in March following the Egyptian cabinet’s decision to criminalise protests and strikes, but which is now more urgent than ever.

“The Egyptian people showed immense courage in overthrowing the dictator Mubarak. They braved armoured cars and bullets in order to win freedom and social justice. We call on Egypt’s current military and civilian rulers to respect the Egyptian people’s democratic rights, including the right to protest and strike. We call on the Egyptian cabinet to reverse its decision of 23 March 2011 to criminalise protests and strike action and to threaten those ‘inciting’ such action with imprisonment or huge fines. We demand that the British government cease to provide assistance, arms or equipment to the Egyptian army and security forces which could be used to repress strikes and protests.

We send our greetings to our brothers and sisters in Egypt’s independent trade unions, and pledge that we will not stand by while their rights are under threat. We will mobilise whatever solidarity we can to support their struggle for political freedom and social justice.”

To add your signature please email

Signatures to date (03.31 a.m., May 31, 2011)

Jim Barbour, Vice-President, Fire Brigades Union, Alex Gordon, National President, RMT; Steve Hedley, London Regional Organiser, RMT; Vaughan Thomas, President, London Transport Region RMT; John Kelly, Secretary, London Transport Region RMT; Unjum Mirza, Political Officer,London Transport Region RMT; Ross Marshall, Treasurer, London Region RMT; Paul Jackson, Branch Secretary, Engineering Branch; Andy Littlechild, Branch Chair, Engineering Branch; Bill Teale, Secretary, Fleet Branch RMT; Tony Carter-Leay, Chair, Fleet Branch RMT; Mick Crossey, Secretary, Camden No3 Branch RMT; Anthony Gandolfi, Chair, Camden No3 Branch RMT; Dean O’Hanlon, Secretary, Finsbury Park Branch RMT; Glenroy Watson, Chair, Finsbury Park Branch RMT; Gwyn Pugh, Secretary, Piccadilly and District Line West Branch RMT; Michael Livingstone, Chair, Piccadilly and District Line West Branch RMT; Andy Izard, Secretary, East Ham Branch RMT; Mac McKenna Senior Industrial Rep RMT; Kohran Osman RMT Rep Canary Wharf; Jake Wylie RMT; Mohammed Vankard RMT Trains Leytonstone; Paul O’Brien Company Council RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Kebba Jobe Senior RMT Rep Signals/Command & Control; Julie Miller RMT Trains Brixton; Andy Leach RMT Rep Trains Acton Town; Jane Gwyn Branch Chair, Jubilee South & East London Line; Frank Murray RMT Rep, Engineering; Tim Afzal, RMT Mile End; Michael Mungroo RMT Mile End; Will Hiscock RMT Trains Queens Park; Clive Protheroe RMT Trains Queens Park; Pat O’Brien Senior Safety Rep RMT; Anthony Beese RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Frank Ajayi RMT Rep (Alstom); Kieran Crowe RMT Rep (Alstom); Danny Canavan RMT Rep Fleet; Paul Bell RMT Trains Arnos Grove; Peter Trotter RMT London Bridge; Will Reid Senior Trains Rep RMT; Bill O’Dowd Senior Trains rep RMT; Lynda Aitken RMT London Bridge; Alan Crowe RMT Rep Eurostar (Engineering); Antony DeSouza RMT Engineering; Roy Carey RMT MATS Council; Paul Kennedy RMT Camden Town; Jon Abdullah RMT Rep, SRT; Ifzal Ahmed RMT Mile End; Tommy Comerford RMT Mile End; Anthony Humphries RMT Mile End; Ali Canak RMT Trains Edgware Road; John Colville RMT King’s Cross; Jackie Darby RMT Rep Engineering Branch; Neil Hodgson RMT Trains Acton Town; Karen Hoult RMT Trains Stratford; James Aiken RMT Rep Engineering; Jason Cullen RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Jon Fosters RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Lewis Peacock RMT Rep Engineering; Mark Langridge RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Paul Schindler Senior Industrial RMT Rep; Russ Clarke Senior RMT Rep (Tube Lines); Malcolm Taylor Senior Industrial Rep; Gary Vincent RMT Rep Engineering, Ian Allinson, UNITE Executive Council member, Andy Reid, PCS National Executive Committee; Charlie Hore, Secretary, UNISON Community and Voluntary organisations branch (pc); Sasha Simic, USADW Shop Steward, Central Books; Simon Hester, Chair, Haringey Trades Union Council; Mike Pearn (CWU), UK; Bruce Allen, Vice-President Canadian Autoworkers Local 199, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada; Angela McCormick, EISFELA National Executive ( college lecturers trade union in Scotland) and Scottish CND Executive; Ruby Hirsch, National Executive, National Union of Students, UK; Andrzej Żebrowski, Pracownicza Demokracja (Workers’ Democracy – Poland), John Molyneux and Mary Smith, Dublin; Kev Kiernan, NUJ, UK; Waseem Yaqoob, Cambridge, UK; Bob Scholte, Riham  Soliman, Matthew Hale, Manchester Metropolitan student; Dr Brian Kelly, Reader in US History, Queen’s University Belfast; Salim Vally, University of Johannesburg; Pat Carmody, Jamie Allinson, Dr. Shaun N. Joseph, International Socialist Organization, Providence RI, US; Laura Mann, PhD Candidate, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh; FRANK WARD, ST BARRS, DORNOCH, SCOTLAND, Dr Dougal McNeill, Victoria University of Wellington; Aurora E. Hunter; Daniel Perrett, Cambridge, England; Josh Kilby, International Socialist Organization, providence ri; Stephen Brown, Eastoft, North Lincs, UK; Einde O’Callaghan, Spokesperson on Migration Policy, State Executive of DIE LINKE.Saxony,; Angela Ettema. John van Dijk, Almere, the Netherlands; Gary Lapon New York, NY, USA; Peter Edwards, (Socialist Workers Party – UK), Mark Clinton, Professor of Political Science, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.A; Brian Chidester, Warren, RI, USA; Marie Xeno (London, UK), Richard Seymour (London, UK), Thomas Rivers, Alan Hague, RI, USA, Teri Adams, Austin, Texas, USA; Sellouma, NPA, France; Nicholas Chapman; Marion Hersh; Katrina Mayer, Leeds, UK; Maggie Falshaw, London, UK; John Lyons; Clare Fermont; Penny Howard, Solidarity, Sydney, Australia; Can Irmak Özinanır (Turkey); Mohamed Gamal-Eldin; Vanessa O Sullivan; Liz Ross, Australia; Paul Hubbard, USA; Thomas Weyts, SAP (Socialist Workers Party), Belguim; Dr Diane Fieldes, Sydney, Australia; Sherif Sadek, Film Director; Lian Jenvey, Sydney, Australia; Laura Durkay, New York, NY, USA; Liam Ward, National Tertiary Education Union, National Councillor, Melbourne, Australia;  Emma Dook (Melbourne, Australia); Hoda Mitwally, Egyptian American and Palestine solidarity activist, NJ, USA; Michael Letwin, Former President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325; Labor for Palestine; David McNally, Professor of Political Science, York University, Toronto; Michael Billeaux, Madison, WI, USA; Alexander Super, Brooklyn, NY; Snehal Shingavi, University of Texas at Austin; Trish Kahle, socialist writer and activist, North Carolina, USA; Dave Florey; Jamie Smith, Canada; Andrew Kirk