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Friday, November 29, 2013

Prominent Blogger Arrested

Prominent activist and blogger Alaa Abdul Fattah was beaten and arrested by Egyptian security forces who came to his home in Cairo late last night. Earlier this week, Abdul Fattah had participated in a protest at the Egyptian parliament condemning the restrictive new protest law which limits people’s right to demonstrate or have public meetings. Abdul Fattah said of the charges brought against him, “it’s an honor to hold responsibility for people’s rallies in defiance to legalising the return of the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the long-time president ousted in Egypt’s 2011 revolution.” Abdul Fattah had a prominent role in the protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

21 Protesters Receive Lengthy Prison Sentences

21 female protesters (seven of whom are under 18 years of age) were sentenced to several years in prison for taking part in protests supporting the deposed president Mohamed Morsi, at the end of October. The defense lawyer said that he was expecting his clients to receive a month in prison but the court in Alexandria handed out sentences ranging from three to eleven years. Also on Thursday, a former editor of the Egyptian newspaper Youm7 was arrested at Cairo’s international airport. Another journalist working for Youm7 said that “being a Muslim Brotherhood member should not be an indictment or a charge.”

New Poll Points to Egyptians’ Diminished Confidence in State

According to a new poll of Egyptians conducted in September by the Zogby Institute , 46 percent of Egyptians feel that the country is worse off now than it was during the former president Mohamed Morsi’s administration last year. 35 percent of people said that it was better off under the new transitional government, and 18 percent said that things were the same. Interestingly, General Sisi, the current defense minister, was voted as most trusted figure in the country by 46 percent of respondents, while the deposed president Mohamed Morsi came in second with 44 percent.

Syrian Refugee Children Crisis

The UN High Commissioner on Refugees released a report today detailing some of the unique struggles that Syrian refugee children are facing. Many are growing up alone in unstable new environments without at least one of their parents, and being forced to work to provide for their families. Though the report was based on interviews in Jordan and Lebanon, the UNHCR estimates that there are at least 1.1 million Syrian refugee children spread out across several neighboring countries in the region. Almost 4,000 refugee children are separated from or unaccompanied by both parents.

Weekend Read

This New York Times piece documents the growing disillusionment among Syria’s activists who are waging a grueling, seemingly unending battle.

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