Voices are rising slowly against the growing injustices and undemocratic tyranny that claims to be wrapped in Democracy. But increasing death sentences handed down by Egypt’s politically driven judicial system and oppressive government are putting Democracy and freedom to shame. Among the condemned is Dr. Emad Shahin, visiting professor of public policy at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) condemns in the strongest possible terms the death sentences meted out today against its respected board member and world renowned scholar Dr. Emad Shahin, along with elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and over one hundred twenty others convicted for their peaceful opposition to the July 2013 coup, for their political views, or for their roles in the 2011 revolution.
This manipulation of the justice system by mass incarceration and arbitrary and careless pronouncement of death sentences to silence political dissent and punish opposition to the current regime is happening at a pace and on a scale rarely, if ever, seen in human history. This miscarriage of justice further invites ridicule on account of its arbitrary nature; according to a statement issued today by our colleague Emad Shahin, “Ironically, two defendants sentenced to death today [are] already … dead and one has been in prison for the past 19 years.”
Dr. Emad Shahin is a renowned and respected scholar, board member at CSID, and professor with positions at esteemed universities around the world, including Georgetown, Harvard, and the American University in Cairo. His long commitment to the struggle for democracy, human rights, and national reconciliation in Egypt is a glowing and honorable record that speaks volumes.
CSID joins other international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, in condemning this shameful affront to justice and human decency and calls on Egyptian authorities to overturn these convictions and set Egypt back on a course towards justice, freedom, and democracy. Under the guise of fighting terrorism, Egypt has elected instead to intimidate political dissenters, members of Egypt’s political elite, and the general citizenry in a cynical quest to maintain power.
By pursuing this policy, Egypta ctually increases its domestic terrorist threat by offering no legal outlet for legal political dissent and change. Peaceful protesters, academics, students, journalists, and members of over 400 recently banned civil society organizations have been subject to this assault by the current regime. Young people are increasingly lamenting the apparent futility of peaceful protest; the risk that some might abandon peaceful dissent and turn to violence is real.
Anyone associated with the 2011 revolution, as well as the tens of millions who voted for opposing political parties in the free and fair elections following the revolution, are now subject to these draconian policies. It is out of deep respect for Egyptians and Egypt’s great civilization and heritage that CSID calls on all Egyptians to seek to right the Egyptian ship of state in a peaceful manner and calls on the international community to endeavor to support democracy, peace, and justice in Egypt.
Emad Shahin is a visiting professor of political science at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. He is professor of public policy, The American University in Cairo (on leave). His areas of interests include Comparative Politics, Islam and Politics, Political Economy of the Middle East, and Democracy and Political Reform in Muslim societies.
Previously, He was the Henry R. Luce Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace building at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (2009-2012). He was visiting associate professor in the department of Government at Harvard University (2006-2009), faculty affiliate with the Kennedy School of Government, and visiting scholar in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School (2006-2007). More recently, Shahin was a distinguished visiting scholar at Columbia University (April 2014-March 2015) and a public policy scholar at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Feb 2014 -Aug 2014). Shahin holds a Ph.D. (1989) from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, M.A. (1983) and BA (1980) from the American University in Cairo.
Shahin was nominated two years in a row for the Harvard University Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, May 2007 and May 2008; and is the recipient of the AUC Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for the Academic Year 2001-2002.
A prolific author, Shahin authored, co-authored and co-edited six books and has more than 50 scholarly publications including journal articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries. His publications include Political Ascent: Contemporary Islamic Movements in North Africa (1998), co-editorship with Nathan Brown of The Struggle over Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (2010); and co-authorship of Islam and Democracy (2005 in Arabic). He is the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics (2014) and co-editor with John L. Esposito of The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics (2013).
Dr Shahin’s op-eds were published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN, Atlantic Monthly , Foreign Policy, Al-Ahram and Al-Shorouk. He has also made appearances with Charlie Rose, Diane Rhem Show, Christiane Amanpour, NPR, CNN, BBC, CBC Canada, Voice of America, Huffington Post, Al-Jazeera Arabic and English.