The British newspapers covered issues of sexual violence in Egypt, the feasibility of British support for Bahrain, as well as the demonstrations that are spreading in many countries of the world.
In the Financial Times, Heba Saleh writes an article titled “Sexual Violence in the Arab World: The Egyptian Case Shows the Struggle for Women’s Rights.”
The writer says that with the disclosure of the Vermont case in Egypt, named after a luxury hotel in Cairo, a rape was said to have taken place, there was a feeling that a new era in which the state began pursuing sexual harassers with unprecedented force regardless of their social status.
However, that short wave of optimism has faded. The arrest of the witnesses highlighted the difficulties that activists in Egypt and the region face in pushing for more rights for women in conservative countries.
“The Vermont case in Egypt reveals the obstacles in the way of change,” the writer adds.
According to the report, the disclosure of the information prompted the state-appointed National Council for Women to encourage the victim to file an official complaint and present witnesses. Days after the post was posted on Instagram, the Attorney General asked INTERPOL to arrest seven suspected perpetrators, most of them young men from wealthy and powerful families. Three were arrested in Lebanon and deported, while no date for the trial has yet been announced.
Feminist activist and lawyer Azza Soliman believes the arrests will weaken the case by undermining the credibility of witnesses, who are reportedly facing charges of moral turpitude and drug abuse. It also fears that others will be prevented from coming to testify in cases of sexual violence if they believe their private lives will face scrutiny.
“This is frustrating for the victims … it will make convincing young women to resort to the courts difficult,” she says.
Lubna Darwish, a gender official at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, says that the arrest of witnesses indicates that the moves against the alleged perpetrators were more linked to a determination to punish “moral degradation,” rather than a commitment to protect the safety of women.
According to the author, for Egyptian feminists, the developments indicate the limits of online activity in a country where politics and the media remain tightly controlled, and the threat of severe punishment looms for attempts to advocate for change.
The author considers that “the country’s short democratic experience ended in 2013, when the army ousted a divisive Islamist president in a movement supported by millions of Egyptians. During the era of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the current and former military president, the authorities have since severely suppressed opposition and curbed the space, in front of most forms. Independent initiatives that seek change. “
We move to an opinion piece in the Independent Online by Bill Trew, entitled “After a decade of uprising in Bahrain, Britain needs to reconsider its relationship with this Gulf kingdom.”
A decade ago, with the outbreak of pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East, tens of thousands of protesters in Bahrain began their own marches..Like many revolutions in the region, the protests were met with bloody repression, according to those who attended (a claim she denies) The government of Bahrain), and after 10 years, many of the main voices of the revolution in Bahrain were behind bars, in exile or banned from travel.
“One difference is that over the past decade, Britain has poured millions of pounds of taxpayer money into Bahrain in an effort to improve its human rights record. Britain has repeatedly said that this technical assistance of 6.5 million pounds has had a positive impact on rights.” Human”.
But prominent human rights groups, Bahraini activists and British parliamentarians say this policy has failed spectacularly, according to the article.
According to a new report issued by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), a decade after the uprising, “Bahrain has regressed in nearly every area of human rights.”
A letter due to be sent to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday by 11 British lawmakers urges the government to suspend this aid until the death sentences of torture victims are revoked.
Activist and former government employee Najah Yousef said that she “spent more than two years behind bars after being convicted under Bahraini anti-terrorism laws, and was subjected to sexual assault and torture in the Muharraq security complex.”
The Bahraini authorities have repeatedly denied the use of torture, as well as rejected reports of violations, describing them as “false and unfounded.”
With Youssef’s release under a royal pardon in 2019, a UN working group declared that she was “arbitrarily detained”, calling for a trial for those who had abused her.
She noted that her 16-year-old son faces more than 20 years in prison, on charges that human rights groups say are fabricated.
“The Bahrain that we dreamed of in 2011 has never materialized, and Britain is responsible for that,” she added.
According to Reprieve, despite British technical assistance estimated at one million pounds to the justice and security sectors in Bahrain, the use of the death penalty in Bahrain has increased by more than 600 percent.
We conclude with a report reviewing the Guardian newspaper’s vision of demonstrations around the world.
“There is something extraordinarily familiar about the brave protests against the military coup in Myanmar … they evoke other scenes that took place more than a thousand miles away. Helmets worn by those standing on the front line, walls decorated with written slogans,” the report said. On colorful sticky notes, the surprise demonstrations, are all taken from the “rules of the game” book for Hong Kong activists literally 2019. The tactics guide, translated into Burmese, has been shared thousands of times on social media. “
“In Thailand too – where pro-democracy protesters demanded reforms in the monarchy and the removal of the prime minister, who originally assumed power through a coup – the influence of Hong Kong was evident … it is not just an Asian phenomenon. Protesters in Belarus have raised parachutes, while security forces launched Tear gas: In Lebanon, they also used tennis rackets to hit tear gas canisters.
The crackdown silenced Hong Kong’s streets, with the imposition of a strict national security law last year followed by widespread arrests. However, the movement that swept through the city nearly two years ago has found another strange life, while activists around the world rely not only on specific tactics, but above all on the “be as water” spirit of changing, fast and informal methods of protest. .
The newspaper concludes that “the stark difference between this wave of protest and the one we witnessed a decade ago is that activists often do not seek more freedom, but are trying to defend the space available to them against the increasing encroachment, with the tide of authoritarianism escalating throughout the world”.