Mysterious Deaths and Forced Disappearances. This Is Egypt’s U.S.-Backed War on Terror.

by Jacob Greene, Allison McManus from the Intercept

Mohamed Abdelsatar, a 44-year-old schoolteacher, arrived to work in Egypt’s Beheira province on April 9, 2017. He signed in to the official roll at 8 a.m., having prepared a lesson on Christianity in Egypt — a timely topic given that sectarian attacks by the Islamic State have killed and injured hundreds throughout Egypt since last December.

But by 10:30 that morning, Abdelsatar had been apprehended, escorted off school grounds by men in plainclothes, and ordered into an unmarked vehicle. Next to a blank space where his sign-out should have been, the official roll read simply: “Arrested from the institute while working.”

For weeks after his abduction, Abdelsatar’s wife and colleagues from the school attempted to discern his location, sending letters to any relevant government officials. The family could only assume that he had been picked up by Egypt’s secret police, the Egyptian Homeland Security, who are infamous for apprehending individuals in this manner.

“We neither know the party that arrested him nor the location of his arrest to date,” the letters read: “Kindly release the public prosecution record under your supervision and investigate the incident … as we are yet to be informed of what exactly happened to him.” No one ever responded.

It was nearly a month later when Egypt’s Ministry of Interior announced that Abdelsatar had died in a counterterror operation targeting Hassm, a domestic group that has carried out regular attacks on government targets. In a Facebook post on May 6, the ministry stated that Abdelsatar and another man, Abdallah Ragab Ali Abdel Halim, had opened fire on security forces during a raid in the city of Tanta — more than 100 kilometers away from the school where Adbelsatar worked — and that police had responded, killing them.

There was no mention of Abdelsatar’s initial apprehension from the school, nor explanation of how the schoolteacher may have come to join a terrorist group. No documentation or notification was presented to the school or to his family, and their letters remained unanswered.

Adbelsatar’s disappearance is not the first of its kind. In the past year, hundreds of Egyptian citizens have reportedly been forcibly disappeared, victims of Egypt’s U.S.-backed war on terror. Like Abdelsatar, some of them have then been pronounced dead in a later counterterrorism operation, with the official statements on the deaths following a similar formula: During a security raid, assailants opened fire, and the security personnel responded in kind, killing them all.

This spate of disappearances and apparent extrajudicial killings raises grave concerns for the rule of law and human rights in Egypt, and threatens to undermine efforts to mitigate the extremist violence that persists in the country. Despite this, U.S. officials seem committed to providing support for Egypt’s efforts, both materially — through the continuation of over $1 billion in annual security assistance — and politically, with recently proposed measures to designate groups that are fighting against the Egyptian state as international terrorists…

[read more here]

3 Responses

  1. Thank you, I had been under the clearly mistaken impression that elSisi was an improvement over the Brotherhood, guess not.

    • Sisi killed over a thousand protesters after the coup and jailed another 5,000 or so Brotherhood members. The Brotherhood didn’t kill anyone to take power. They held an election after our previous dictator Mubarak was dethroned by massive protests. I would say there isn’t even a question about who is worse. And of course, the Brotherhood and the ELECTED government were in the process of writing a new anti-neoliberal constitution when John Kerry got al Sisi to stage the coup… so… yeah… not even close.

    • plus, the Brotherhood everyone is big to condemn (especially the Mark Dice/Di$info Jone$ side of the equation) refused to take on the new IMF loan if you recall, though many phonies out there try to argue they didn’t. The new constitution would have made MANY of the structural reforms DEMANDED by the IMF on these loans ILLEGAL. Of course, when al Sisi took over, with Kerry’s help, the first thing he did was tear up the new constitution and sign a new loan with the IMF. and now we have stuff like this.

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