During his two hour-long interview on Friday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi tackled several issues ranging from problems among the youth to mega economic projects. However, some issues were not touched upon by the president despite being widely discussed in the public sphere.
Violations allegedly committed by security forces
Since the beginning of the year, there has been a rise in the number of police officers both being referred to court and receiving sentences on charges of torturing inmates, beating citizens to death, and shooting civilians due to disputes. The matter has gained the attention of the media and human rights organisations, both quasi-governmental and non-governmental, receiving promises by the Ministry of Interior to persecute alleged perpetrators and investigate the violations. The different cases range from the shooting of socialist activist Shaimaa Al-Sabagh to death in January 2015, to the allegations of torturing 65-years-old workshop owner Hussien Farghaly in May.
Other controversial acts by security forces include the alleged violations against political prisoners in detention centres and prison facilities. Since the beginning of 2016, the quasigovernmental National Canter for Human Rights (NCHR) has received complaints from families of detainees who were allegedly tortured.
Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have highlighted a peak in the number of violations by Egypt’s police, amid refusal by the Egyptian state to address the criticism or the cases.
The latest report from El Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence was published on Thursday documenting violations carried out by the Interior Ministry against detainees in May 2016. The report documented 212 cases of death related to actions by the state or security forces. The report included 11 reported cases of death in prisons, 43 cases of prevention of medical services inside prisons, 93 cases of enforced disappearance, and 83 cases of individuals who reappeared after their disappearance. It also documented 27 cases of police brutality and 103 cases of torture and maltreatment in detention places
Tension with professional syndicates
Al-Sisi also did not address the tensions that have been rising between the professional syndicates and the police apparatus. The press, doctors, engineers, and lawyers syndicates have shown concern against violations by the security apparatus. The syndicates have repeatedly condemned attacks on their members by police personnel, including forming protests, partial strikes, and filing lawsuits to the prosecution.
The Giulio Regeni case
Al-Sisi discussed attempts by “forces of evil” to sabotage bilateral relations between Egypt and other countries. However, he did not address any updates on the relations with Italy concerning the case of Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Regeni, who was a Cambridge researcher and a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo (AUC), disappeared on 25 January, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution. His body was found on 3 February alongside the Cairo-Alexandra Desert Highway.
Civil Service Law
The law which is being discussed by parliament has been heavily criticised by labour circles.
The law, which overhauls the system of salaries, bonuses, and promotions across state institutions and authorities, was the only one out of more than 300 laws to be rejected by parliament. This prompted immediate criticism from the president as his government strongly advocated for the law as an integral part of the government’s reformation plan.
The parliamentary Manpower Committee began discussing articles of the re-submitted of the law last week.