Punitive Measures and Abandonment Faced by Conscientious Objectors in Egypt

I am posting this because I was asked several times recently about the consequences of failing to or refusing to do a military service in Egypt.

Mohamed Fathy helped me make this report.

The Egyptian national service law states that the males of the age of 18 till the age of 30, must be compulsorily recruited in the Egyptian armed forces, unless they are the only male son for their parents or if they were medically unfit. Sometimes the oldest male brother is temporarily exempt if his father reached the age of retirement. The military does not always give the medically unfit their right in exemption and recruits them, which leads to some ending dead or terribly injured and independent legal investigation is banned.

The military service is temporarily postponed for males after finishing high school if they studied in a university or an institute, but after finishing, they have to be recruited.

If for any reason, someone didn’t enlist in the army, he won’t have the military certificate which is always required to work, to make post-graduate studies, to make a passport, to travel abroad and from holding official positions. Practically ending one’s future, in other words: social death!

By not doing the military service, you would be legally considered a felon and this felon would be kept in your government records till the age of 42.

The one would be subjected to arrest and imprisonment, when the military or police checkpoints inspect his information by the name on the national identification card. By the law, the army can arrest and imprison the person from his home. Prison sentence can extend to 3 years in addition to a fine that can extend to 5000 Egyptian pounds. After that, the person would still be forced to do the military service and if he refused again, he may be imprisoned again and again.

When a recruit or an objector faces violations, the media is legally banned from raising the issue before taking permission from the Intelligence Agency, as these are considered military secrets. So, normally, the issue won’t be raised and the case won’t be known.

In the army camps, Islamic clerics are brought to make Islamic preachings and militarists themselves do the same. Contrary to the claims by the media and analysts who always claim that the military establishment is a secular entity and that its leaders are secular. This establishment highly discriminates based on religious and sect affiliations.

Conscientious objectors have no legal aid, as all the human rights organizations along with law personnel ignore us and won’t give us advices. All of the information we reach is by our extended efforts to do research.

There was a failed lawsuit in the State Council against the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice, by their positions. The lawsuit was against illegally banning university students from traveling in the last academic year.

For me, the only way I may be able to regain part of my basic rights is after reaching the age of 30, after agreeing to be militarily tried, which I refuse. Then the military judge has the will to fine me and imprison me for three years, or choose one of the two penalties. But still, I would be banned for the rest of my life from holding official positions.

In another case, if you were nominated to be recruited as a soldier for one year, you would have to wait till the age of 36, and also when you refuse to be militarily tried. After finishing the recruitment phase, they become in the reserve forces and the army can call them up till the age of 35.

If you were a male and wanted to be hired in Egypt, you must have a military certificate, stating that you were exempt, finished the military service or have a 3-year postponement and in the last case you won’t be able to work after that period. Longer reserve periods apply which would make the nominated military officer be in the reserve till the age of 45.

Finally, if you were dishonorably discharged of the military and had a military certificate stating that you were bad, you won’t be able to have a job with it.

See also:
* My conscientious objection declaration
* Mohamed Fathy’s conscientious objection declaration
* Conscientious Objection announcement of Amir Eid (2016-10-15)

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Update on Objecting Military Service تحديث بخصوص الاعتراض على الخدمة العسكرية

Today, 2013/7/25, I sent letters to the current officials of Egypt: the Minister of Defense Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, the acting President of the republic Adly Mansour, the acting Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and the interim Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi.

That makes it the second time since I sent letters to the officials in 2012/4/12, asking for my right to conscientious objection.

اليوم, 2013/7/25, أرسلت جوابات إلى المسئولين الحاليين فى مصر: وزير الدفاع عبد الفتاح السيسى, رئيس الجمهورية للفترة الانتقالية عدلى منصور, نائب الرئيس محمد البرادعى و رئيس الوزراء المؤقت حازم الببلاوى.

و بذلك تصبح المرة الثانية التى أرسل فيها جوابات إلى المسئولين منذ 2012/4/12, مطالبا بحقى بالاعتراض الضميرى.

Minister of Defense - el Sisi 2013-7-25 - 1

Minister of Defense - el Sisi 2013-7-25 - 2

President - Adly Mansour 2013-7-25 - 1

President - Adly Mansour 2013-7-25 - 2

Vice President - el Baradei 2013-7-25 - 1

Vice President - el Baradei 2013-7-25 - 2

Prime Minister - Hazem el Beblawi 2013-7-25 - 1

Prime Minister - Hazem el Beblawi 2013-7-25 - 2

The Egyptian Army Seizes Villagers’ Lands and Terrorizes them

El Korasaya / el Korsaya (القرصاية), a village in el Giza governorate, had witnessed a terrorizing attack by the army of Egypt, killing and injuring villagers, destroying their property which they make living out of.

It was said that the Egyptian army wants to evacuate the area as there are investors who want to take over the land for their project to make a touristic resort.

Later on, one of the soldiers said that they were given strict military commands and they were told that this was a military land. Witnesses said that after the soldiers shot residents, they crossed while chanting, “Allah akbar”! Another witness said, “the soldiers had one militarist leader, a colonel or a brigadier-general who said: on my dead body if I let those people in that place”.

26 residents were abducted by the army and were presented to the military prosecution. They were all held in custody in military prison for 15 days pending investigation.

Some civilians were killed and injured.

Do the investors know that the Egyptian authority are forcing the legitimate residents without any fair compensation? If they knew, would they still want that land?

See also:
* Human Rights Watch: Egypt: Forced Eviction by Military Leaves One Dead (2012/11/21; in Arabic)
* Alhurra: Fighter jets breaking the sound barrier in Cairo (2012/12/9; not the first time this year!)
* Alkarama: Military trial for a man and his son after the army took over their land and demolished their house. (video; 2013/1/10)
* 7th Day: The state commissioners recommend to compel the Minister of Defense to pull out troops from Korasaya island (2013/8/22)

طريقة تفكير شمولية

ليه كل ما بيتعمل عمل فنى او مقالة منتقدة للشرق اوسطيين, بنلاقى رد فعل عنيف جدا منهم ضد الدول بتاعة المؤلفين؟

السبب هو ان المشاغبين دول اللى بيتصادف انهم فى الشرق الاوسط, اتعودوا على التفكير بطريقة شمولية. الانظمة اللى تم تأسيسها اللى حكمت لعشرات السنين سيطرت على فكرهم. الشمولية خلتهم يعتقدوا ان الحاكم هو اهم شخص للامة, الحاكم هو الامة, الناس ولا حاجة, لازم يخدموا دولهم لأن عندهم فروض وطنية تجاه دولهم كنوع من ”ضريبة الدم“. الناس تحت الانظمة القمعية بيحسوا انهم فاشلين و متدنيين لأن معندهمش حرية فكر ولا حرية اقتصادية. الطريقة الوحيدة اللى ممكن يقللوا بيها الاحساسيس الغير ممتعة دى هو التعاطف مع الديكتاتوريين بتوعهم لأن هى دى الطريقة الوحيدة اللى ممكن يحسوا عن طريقها بإنجاز عن طريق الانجازات المفترضة بتاعة الديكتاتوريين بتوعهم, على سبيل المثال, فى هزم امم تانية.

على الاساس دة الشرق اوسطيين المشاغبين عندهم ادراك مختلف عن طريقة تفكير الادراك الفردانى لعلاقتهم بالعالم. طريقة التفكير الفردانية غالبا بتعتبر كل شخص مسئول عن و محسوبة عليه افعاله, مش افعال اشخاص تانية. على الاساس دة, لو الناس احتاجت تتضايق من حاجة, هيوجهوا مشاعرهم تجاه الشخص اللى عمل الحاجة دى, مش ضد البلد بتاعته, زى فى حالة الشمولية.

التفكير فى الكلام دة بخلى عملية فهم سبب ان المشاغبين دول بيتمادوا فى شغبهم جدا ضد دول و امم كاملة, فقط لأن واحد, بيصادف ان عنده جنسية او عايش فى دولة محددة, عمل حاجة هما اعتبروها جارحة.

الاسوأ كمان, ان الغضب ممكن يكون بدافع منظور قبلى, اللى هو نوع تانى من طريقة التفكير الشمولية, اللى بيخلى المشاغبين يحسوا ان عندهم تار ضد امم كاملة!

ياريت تلاحظوا ان طريقة التفكير الشمولية مش بتظهر فقط فى الشرق الاوسط. بتظهر فين ما يكون ناس عايشة تحت انظمة قمعية لمدة طويلة.

Totalitarian Way of Thinking

Why whenever a piece of art or an article is critical of some traits of Middle Easterners, we usually witness an extreme backlash from them against the respective countries of the authors?

The reason is, those rioters who happen to be in the Middle East were accustomed to think in a totalitarian way. The established regimes which ruled them for decades controlled their thought. Totalitarianism made them believe that the ruler is the most important person for the nation, the ruler is the nation, the people are nothing, they must serve their states because they have patriotic obligations toward their states as a type of a “blood tax”. People under repressive regimes feel like they are losers and inferior because they have no freedom of thought and without economic freedom. The only way for them to lessen their counter-pleasurable feelings is by identifying with their dictators because it is their only way of feeling achievement through the supposed achievements of their dictators, for example, in defeating other nations.

Accordingly, Middle Eastern rioters have a different perception from the individualistic way of thinking for their relationship with the world. The individualistic way of thinking mostly considers every person is responsible and held-accountable for his own actions, not for the actions of other persons. Accordingly, if people needed to be upset about something, they turn their feelings toward the person who made that thing, not against his country like in the case of totalitarianism.

Thinking of that makes it clearer to understand why those rioters take their riots very strongly against whole states and whole nations, just because someone, who happened to have a citizenship of or living in that specific state, made something which they consider as offensive.

Even worse, the rage may be motivated from a tribal perspective which is another form of a totalitarian way of thinking, making the rioters feel that they have feud against whole nations!

Please note that the totalitarian way of thinking does not only exist in the Middle East. It exists wherever there are people living under repressive regimes for a long time.