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24 June 2014

There is no parallel in modern history to the recent events in Egypt. In a nonsensical and absurd trial, over 1000 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death because they were on the side of democracy. Now the sentencing of journalists allegedly for their support of the Muslim Brotherhood  on the flimsiest evidence imaginable.

The Media Review Network (MRN) backs  the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) in their call for the suspension of the military government of Al Sisi from the African Union (AU).

Immediately after the July 3rd  2013 overthrow of the democratically elected Government of Mohammed Morsi, the AU suspended the membership of Egypt. The suspension was supported by our Government.

However, in early March 2014, a South African Government delegation, led by the then Security Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, met with the Al Sisi government for bilateral talks. The MRN wrote to the Presidency and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation(DIRCO) expressing our concern at this meeting.

Early this month and after the fraudulent election of Al Sisi as President of Egypt, our Government sent a congratulatory message to the illegal Egyptian government. Again we wrote to DIRCO expressing our deep concerns at these clandestine relationships between our two countries. We are awaiting responses to both our letters.

On 17th June 2014,  the AU met and lifted the suspension of Egypt.

The MRN calls on the South African Government, the African Union and the International Community to initiate a process which will secure the immediate release of:

1.      Members of the legitimate civilian government of Mohamed Morsi
2.      All political prisoners
3.      All journalists and bloggers including the Al Jazeera Staff

We are aware that the AU will be convening  soon. We urge all member nations to heed the call of the international Human Rights bodies and South African National Editors Forum for the farcical Egyptian “government” to respect freedom of expression as well as freedom of the press.

Issued By:

Ibrahim Vawda

Senior Researcher, Media Review Network