A 21-year-old U.S. student was an observer in her ancestral homeland Armenia’s disputed February 18, 2013 Presidential election. When Narine Esmaeili, who interns for Transparency International, tried to prevent massive ballot stuffing in Artashat’s polling precinct 17-5, she was physically assaulted by the local mayor’s son and instructed to be a “good girl” – keep her mouth shut – by the police who responded to her phone call. The young woman did the opposite, videotaping a testimony and posting it on YouTube.
It’s a return to the bad old days of repression for Egypt.
Last week, the military regime took a significant step back – severely threatening free speech, free association and assembly, and the right to strike – by expanding the government’s “emergency powers.”
These “State of Emergency” powers are the same ones the Mubarak regime used in its assault on human rights. The military authorities have essentially taken Egypt’s laws back to the bad old days of repression.
And with the coming parliamentary election, the timing couldn’t be worst. The Egyptian people have waited so long for free elections, but even the most devoted of Egyptian democracy activists knew that a lot of difficult work had to be done in little time to build the foundations of free press, independent judiciary and other pillars needed for free elections.