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'Egyptians' New Concern, Justice System'

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TEHRAN, July 9 (ICANA) – The Egyptians have followed a piece of graffiti on the streets of Egypt that read, “Take to the streets on July 8, the revolution is still on."
Saturday, July 09, 2011 7:30:34 PM
'Egyptians' New Concern, Justice System'

Press TV interviewed Sameh Elatfy, lawyer and member of Change for Egypt, in Manchester, to talk about latest developments in Egypt.

Q: Egyptians in mass revisited the slogans of the revolution in Liberation Square, but they fear that the revolution has boiled down to a change in leaders' names instead of a system overhaul. Is their fear justified?

Elatfy: First of all, we have to accept that the old regime is gone practically. But their concern for the Egypt is the slow system of justice. We have seen the new criminal, former President Hosni Mubarak, has been held in the hospital since the revolution and is not being brought to trial. Some of the military justice officials last week declared Mubarak will be tried next month, in August, for killing 846 Egyptians in the demonstrations on 25th of January.

If we look back there is a lot of injustices, and the Egyptian can feel them. First of all the police officers who were involved in killing people during the demonstrations are still working and they are still getting paid, and none of them is being brought to trial. This is the main concern for all Egyptians.

So, I can see why this demonstration [was staged] today, by up to a million people in Tahrir Square and in other squares in Egypt, [such as] in Suez and in Alexandria, wants the [Military] Supreme Council to force the trial of all the policemen, and at least having them banned from work.

But what we see now is that the main concern in Egypt is the trial of the police officers involved in killing, more than twenty five of them, which [are still working], and that is making the people very angry.

That is why they are on the streets now. But we can see, there is no going back, the revolution is going [forward] and the people will win, but it is a matter of time.

And the supreme military council is very slow in decision making. I believe so personally from the trial of the police officers and the other officials of the old regime, and it is going very slow.

We need strong decisions by the supreme military council to put Mubarak to trial first, and transfer him to a prison [or] hospital prison.

Q: US President Barack Obama said in an address to the Middle East in May of major funding to Egypt to the tune of one billion dollars; this is aside from another fund that was appropriated to Egypt before. Yet many Egyptians are concerned that this is a way for Washington to push its foreign policy agenda? Do you agree?

Elatfy: No, I disagree with this. The military hopes [for] Egypt to receive [aid from the US], which is about USD 2.5 billion a year, and there is nothing to be affected in the foreign policy in Egypt.

What we think, now with the new government, the freely-elected government, the new election is coming in September, which would [bring] new parliament and the new government.

I think the bulk of foreign policy in Egypt is not going to be affected what so ever, the peace agreement with Israel still in command, and the Gaza agreement with Israel still in command as well.

So I don't think America will worry [too much] about a big change of policy in Egypt even after the new election and the new government. So I do not think the Americans would put any pressure on Egypt to change the foreign policy.

But I believe America [could] help lots of organizations in Egypt at the moment, young organizations, and new political parties. The American ambassador… she declared two weeks ago, that America has paid USD 240 million for building a new democracy in Egypt.

Q: What does that mean when the US says “America will build a new democracy in Egypt?”

It has been said that the US is pouring millions of dollars into Egypt monthly; this has been cited in many publications, in order to buy off certain political parties and pro-democracy NGOs. So what does that mean?

Elatfy: It is not buying… Don't forget the relationship between Egypt and America, and don't forget Egypt is the main key [partner] in the Middle East. So, Egypt is the largest country in the Middle East, which still gets aid and help from America.

America is trying to get its foot in the new government in Egypt, and in the new system in Egypt. And I think it is normal for America to see a new democracy in Egypt [since] they have been supporting the old regime for the last thirty years.

Q: How is the population of Egypt benefited from the military council, from the aid that receives, which they run a lot of major institutions in Egypt? Are we seeing that in terms of any activity for the Egyptians… they backed out of the raising the minimum wage they promised… didn't they? Why did they do that?

Elatfy: I think, recently a lot of Egyptian are benefitting from the revolution in general. And raising the minimum wage has been approved by the high court and will be enforced in the next few months.

So the main point is, for Americans and Egyptians at the moment, the interest of America is the stability of Egypt. So America needs the stability of Egypt. Stability of Egypt has to come first for America, after the new election, and the democratic system in Egypt, and the trial of the old regime [members].

We have to simplify this issue, the military aid from America is not going to be affected by any means, because it is a military aid, and it is a part of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

So the main interest for America is stability and relationship between Egypt and Israel. And there is nothing that can change this view; as I said before, the main concern for America is the relation between Israel and Egypt.

And if under the new government, the peace agreement is still in command, the Gaza agreement is still in command; there is no problem at all.

So the aids that America is going to give to Egypt are not going to be the same as the [aid] for the old Mubarak regime, because Mubarak was playing part in the Middle East as an agent of America, the new government is not going to do that. So, America will be very careful when they give help to the new government in Egypt.

And I believe a part of the revolution is to separate the relationship between America and Egypt, it will be a new relationship, not like the old one that Mubarak use to do, and I do not think the supreme military council is worried about that.

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