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Freedom for Patrick and Baker is Their Right. Closing the Case of Detainees is Our Demand

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists

While we hold our breath in joy and await the release of researcher Patrick Zaki and lawyer Mohamed El-Baker following the decision announced by the Presidential Pardon Committee, let us not forget that the committee itself has frozen its activities for several months, with one of its members withdrawing due to the halting of decisions to release detainees.

We must not forget the tens of thousands of other political detainees and forcibly disappeared individuals besides Patrick and Baker. Among them are at least around 4,000 people who were arrested after the Egyptian Family Iftar at the end of April 2022, including activist Sherif El-Rouby, Ahmed Geika, and student leader Moaz El-Sharkawy, alongside the referral of engineer Yahya Hussein and activist Mohamed Adel to trial. Meanwhile, only around 1,200 prisoners have been released since the reactivation of the Pardon Committee.

This crackdown on dissent extends beyond the detention of individuals. Hundreds of blocked news websites have not been unblocked, and their number has increased, with the latest being the Fourth Estate and Egypt 360 websites. Additionally, security agencies continue to interfere in union matters, as seen in the recent labor elections and the last general assembly of the Engineers Syndicate. Attempts to hinder and isolate Ahmed Tantawi’s presidential campaign by media blackout and threats and imprisonment of its members also continue.

We appreciated yesterday the decision of those who announced their withdrawal from the national dialogue in protest against the re-imprisonment of Patrick Zaki. However, we now call on you and all individuals, organizations, parties, and political forces to maintain their stance and withdraw from all national dialogue committees. The dialogue lost its meaning from its early days and became meaningless when President Sisi announced at the Youth Conference last June that the detention of detainees was to save the nation and that no one would hold him accountable for this matter except God.

We call on you not to give the regime another opportunity or means to maneuver again to beautify the scene and its economic and political policies. The Civil Movement previously set conditions for dialogue, all of which still need to be met. Returning to the table with these conditions being met would be acceptable.

Even if the regime’s retreat is calculated and superficial before the presidential elections, it is essential to encourage us to insist on the release of detainees, the abolition of the pretrial detention law, and the lifting of the block on websites before any talk of dialogue.

The current state of the national dialogue, in which the opposition plays the role of spectator and supplicant, will, at best, result in some superficial laws that the regime will have no difficulty violating, as it does daily. Keeping up with the current regime will not lead to fundamental reforms or open any space in the public domain. Change at this moment depends on dialogue, but not with the regime, instead among the political forces themselves, and rebuilding bridges of communication with the street through engagement in union and student elections and exploiting the potential space in the coming months during the presidential elections.