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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

El-Sisi and the Future of Egypt

April 15th, 2014
07:50 PM ET

Violence, civil unrest and alleged human rights abuses threaten to overshadow May elections in one-time Middle Eastern powerhouse Egypt. But military maestro and presidential favorite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is hoping to put his country back on the map for the right reasons.

As Egypt seeks to consign the failure of the Arab Spring to the past, CNN's Becky Anderson discusses the prospect of el-Sisi in power and the regional repercussions. She is joined by the Brookings Institution's H.A. Hellyer and The National's Chief Columnist Faisal al-Yafai.


Filed under:  Analysis • Becky's Interviews • Egypt • General • Middle East

Egyptian court sentences 528 people to death after mass trials

March 26th, 2014
03:53 PM ET

On Monday, an Egyptian court sentenced at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots last August, including the murder of a police officer.

Egyptian news site Ahram Online said it was the largest set of death sentences handed to defendants in the modern history of Egypt.

Another 683 people are also facing charges, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Mohammed Badie.

To find out what these mass trials mean for the future of Egypt, Max spoke to Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Abdullah El-Haddad, and political analyst and journalist Ashraf Khalil.

In El-Haddad's opinion the judiciary were not acting independently. He said that the trial was "just a kangaroo court,” and that the speed with which the verdict was delivered – after two sessions of twenty minutes each – indicated this. He also pointed out that, in comparison, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial had 48 sessions and took more than two years.

Khalil said that it is still unclear whether this result was influenced by the state's leadership, or whether it was an example of the Egyptian judiciary "pursuing its own agenda.”

In relation to what this means for the future of the country, El-Haddad said that nothing can be fixed until the current leadership is removed and held accountable for "crimes against humanity.”

Watch the full discussion above.

Text: 528 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death in Egypt


Filed under:  Arab Spring • Egypt • Middle East

Journalist: Egypt cracking down on foreign media

February 7th, 2014
04:07 PM ET

Egyptian authorities have served the Al Jazeera network with a charge sheet identifying 20 people – all believed to be journalists – who they want to see stand trial for allegedly conspiring with a “terrorist group”.  Eight staff members are known to be on the list, three of those – Australian Peter Greste and Eygptians Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy – have been held in detention in Cairo since December 29.

Dutch journalist Rena Netjes is also on that list, despite never having worked for Al Jazeera.  She's the Egypt and Libya correspondent for BNR Nieuwsradio. She managed to flee Egypt with help from the Dutch Embassy and spoke to Becky about her ordeal.

She told Becky she met with the Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Famy once "not even for an interview, not even for a report, but just for my general knowledge... Now it seems that they believe that I work with Al Jazeera, that I provided them with money, with aid, with tools, with footage... and that I gave false information to defame the Egyptian state."

In a letter released from prison, Australian Peter Greste stated his arrest was an attack on media freedoms, and that "journalists are never supposed to become the story".

Becky asked Netjes about the Egyptian government's reasoning for such harsh action. "If I see it from the Egyptian point of view, they are in a state of war with extremists. The Egyptian army interfered because they did not want to let extremists take more power like in Sinai or in the rest of Egypt. But this war means they completely want to wipe out anybody who gives any chance for the opponents, like Muslim Brotherhood supporters, to speak out. So that's why Al Jazeera English is targeted also in such a harsh way."

Text: Detained Al Jazeera journalists and others face criminal trial


Filed under:  Becky's Interviews • Egypt • Middle East

Moussa: Constitution doesn't exclude

January 15th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Egypt's military-backed government is being put to the test, as voting on their new constitution continues. So far proceedings have been marred with unrest. At least nine people have died in clashes between supporters of ousted president Morsy and government security forces.

Veteran diplomat and former Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa headed the commission that drafted the constitution. Yesterday Becky asked him how he answers critics who say that the only thing this constitution does is legitimizes the very powerful and unquestioned position of the army in Egypt today.

"The clause about the defense minister will be deleted, because it is only for eight years and two presidential periods. If the progress that you are talking about and we are hoping for and working to achieve produces results it is certain that this clause will cease to exist. It is because of the circumstances prevailing in Egypt."

In an opinion piece in the New York Times Moussa claimed that his committee of 50 gave everyone a seat at the table, and that an invitation was extended to all Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

In response to her question about the impossibility of the Muslim Brotherhood being involved in the process when their organisation has been banned, Moussa replied; "Let me tell you that the constitution does not exclude any group, any individual, any citizen. The constitution caters to all Egyptians from all walks of life. Muslim Brotherhood members can run for a seat in the parliament, or field candidates in parliamentary elections or presidential elections. The constitution differs sharply from the previous one, which was called the 'Muslim Brotherhood constitution' that it excluded, it banned members of the previous regime from participating, from running for parliament, from running for elections."

Moussa also confirmed that if General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ran for Egyptian president he would support him. "I really believe that he is going to run but I cannot tell you that he has told me so. But all indications lead to that and let us see within the next few days or a week or so what kind of decision he is going to take. First of all he has to resign his post as Commander-in-Chief."

Observers are watching to see if participation is above 33%, that's the percentage of voters who turned out for the former Islamist backed constitution.

Voting is scheduled to finish at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT), although it remains unclear when results will be announced.

Text: Egypt votes on new constitution, tests legitimacy of military-backed government

HRW: Arrests taken to new level in Egypt

November 29th, 2013
01:59 PM ET

Lengthy sentences handed down to 21 women and girls who were arrested at a pro-Morsy demonstration have highlighted growing unease over the Egyptian authorities' treatment of dissent.

The protesters, including seven minors, were sentenced Wednesday in Alexandria after being arrested at a demonstration in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsy earlier this month.

The seven minors were sent to juvenile detention, and each of the adult women got 11 years in prison.

Their sentencing came amid demonstrations over a new protest law announced by the military-backed Egyptian government Sunday.

The new law requires organizers to seek permission from authorities before gathering and gives police the right to cancel demonstrations and to disperse them with force.

Becky Anderson speaks to the Human Rights Watch's Heba Morayef about what Egypt is like post-Morsy and what arrests like these mean.

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