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After fig leaf polls: Field Marshall el-Sisi sworn-in for second term as President of Egypt

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Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been sworn for a second four-year term in office as President of Egypt.

US-client El-Sisi was army chief when he overthrew Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013.

Field Marshall el-Sisi was sworn in following the so-called elections in March last when he received 96.9 percent of the votes.

Not surprisingly, the elections were criticized as a one-man show with no credible opposition. At least six other candidates pulled out, were prosecuted or jailed.

The only other opponent who ran against Sisi was little-known Mousa Mostafa Mousa, who entered the race hours before the deadline and whose party had previously endorsed the president.

According to Abdullah al-Arian, Georgetown University Assistant Professor of History, "one of Morsi's mistakes during his presidency was that he led people to assume that he'd taken the reins of the state when in fact he hadn't. He was simply put in a position to give people the idea that a real revolution had occurred. The state, meanwhile, was very much in the hands of the same people as it was under (the deposed President) Mubarak."

Air Force General Hosni Mubarak, another US-client, ruled Egypt ruthlessly for almost 30 years. He was forced to step down in February 2011 amid massive anri-government demonstrations.

Arrests and disappearances

Human-rights defenders have regularly accused (Field Marshall) el-Sisi of violating public freedoms and suppressing his opponents, who, along with vocal members of civil society, have been arrested in recent months, Al Jazeera reported Saturday, adding:

"Two of those arrested are the blogger and journalist, Wael Abbas, and Shadi Ghazali Harb, a youth leader during the 2011 revolution. Hazim Abdelazim, who has described his decision to head the youth committee of Sisi's successful 2014 presidential bid as his 'biggest mistake', has also been detained.

"The path the Sisi government took has been linear - eliminating the public sphere, or the political space has always run alongside arrests of dissidents, activists and human-rights advocates," Fadi al-Qadi, a commentator on human rights in the Middle East and North Africa, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

"The truth is, no one is immune under Sisi ... these two incidents of arrests are probably meant to dismiss any thought that Sisi may tolerate certain types of dissent in Egypt - on the contrary, he does not," al-Qadi said.

Bloggers Sherif Gaber and Shady Abuzaid, known for their YouTube and Facebook videos, were also arrested this month. Last week, an Egyptian military court sentenced journalist and researcher Ismail Alexandrani to 10 years in prison. Alexandrani, an expert on armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula, was arrested in November 2015 and accused of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian Kangaroo Court jails 65 Morsi supporters up to 10 years

Field Marshall el-Sisi's sworn-in follows confirmation of harsh sentences by Egypt's top kangaroo court last month against 65 loyalists of the currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group over committing acts of violence in 2013 in the capital Cairo.

The jail terms were from seven to 10 years. The rulings of the Court of Cassation are final and un-appealable.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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