Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mubarak's son makes secret DC visit

The Washington Post reported yesterday that Gamal Mubarak, son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with Vice President Cheney and other top officials, including Stephen Hadley. His visit came "a day after thousands of Egyptian riot police broke up a pro-democracy demonstration back in Cairo, U.S. and Egyptian officials said yesterday," the Post reported.

According to the story, during these meetings, "'There was no tension at all,' Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmi said in an interview. 'They listened to his explanation of what was happening.'"

The piece continued:

"The meetings came a day after stick-wielding riot police officers disrupted a demonstration in Cairo, chasing protesters, beating them and removing them. The demonstrators were supporting two judges from Egypt's highest court who alleged fraud during elections last year and were threatened with disciplinary action."

"Activists saw the incident as part of a broader crackdown on dissent, despite what they dismiss as cosmetic moves toward democracy intended to placate the Bush administration. Hosni Mubarak allowed himself to be challenged in last year's presidential election, only to later imprison his main opponent. The Bush administration suspended trade talks in response."

"Fahmi called the clash an unfortunate upshot of a more democratic Egypt in which people previously silent now are expressing their views. 'I just see this as a normal consequence of the opening-up process,' he said. 'Would it have been better if no one had gotten arrested during protests? Sure. . . . Hopefully, in time, people will demonstrate without violating the law, and demonstrations will occur without people getting arrested.'"

For the full story, click here.


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