Egyptian columnist delivers stinging attack against el-Sissi

Cairo: A prominent columnist today delivered the harshest attack to date against Egypt’s president in the local media, saying that, in terms of freedoms, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s rule is not different from the Islamist regime he removed in 2013.

 In a front-page column in the al-Maqal daily, Ibrahim Eissa expressed outrage over a two-year prison sentence passed Saturday against author Ahmed Naji for publishing a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said violated “public modesty.”

The sentence against Naji, passed by a Cairo appeals court, can be appealed.”Say what you will, Mr President and speak at your conferences … as you wish, but the reality of your state is different,” he wrote.

“Your state violates the constitution, harasses thinkers and creators and jails writers and authors. “Your state is a theocracy, Mr President, while you are talking all the time of a modern, civilian state,” he wrote.

“Your state and its agencies, just like those of your predecessor (Islamist Mohammed Morsi), hate intellectuals, thought and creativity and only like hypocrites, flatterers and composers of poems of support and flattery.”

Eissa, also a popular TV talk show host, strongly supported the July 3, 2013 ouster by the military of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president. His removal, led by then Defense Minister el-Sissi, followed days of  massive  street protests against the divisive one-year rule of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group now  labeled a terrorist organisation.

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