Opinion: Egypt's dictatorship is squandering the country's remaining assets

Professor Fishere weighs in on Egypt's dictatorship's effect on the nation's assets in his new Washington Post Opinion piece.

On Wednesday, after more than two years in detention without trial, Zyad El-Elaimy, Hossam Monis and four other young politicians and activists were rushed to a "State Security Emergency Court" and sentenced to three to five years in prison. They were not tried for their original "crime" — plotting to undermine state security by running for legislative elections in 2020. Instead, they were charged with "spreading false news, threatening national security and spreading fear."

The evidence consisted of an article or social media post by each figure, in which they criticized Egypt's human rights record and economic policies. The trial began just a day after the charges were laid. Defense lawyers were not allowed to consult with their clients or even get a copy of the case. As the lawyers kept protesting this egregious disregard of due process, the young judge seemed at a loss and simply "read" the sentences. Verdicts by this court can neither be appealed nor reviewed.

This type of blatant disregard for the rule of law has become so common in Egypt that it barely constitutes news. However, this case provides a clear glimpse of the numerous ways in which President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi's dictatorship squanders the limited assets the country still has, increasing its reliance on repression and eroding whatever prospect Egypt has to turn into a functioning state.

Read the full article here