German ambassador criticises Sisi before Berlin visit

German ambassador criticises Sisi before Berlin visit
3 min read
19 May, 2015
Hansjorg Haber, the German ambassador in Cairo, said the Egyptian government has victimised the Muslim Brotherhood, and criticised its justice record.
Haber argued the Muslim Brotherhood is not behind all the attacks in Egypt [AFP]

The German ambassador in Cairo has criticised Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government as the Egyptian president's prepares to visit Berlin.

Hansjorg Haber criticised the recent death sentences handed out to members of the opposition, as well as the regime's policies, laws and media outlets. The attack came two weeks before Sisi's scheduled visit to Germany.

"The Muslim Brotherhood is not behind all the terrorist attacks. How can it be blamed for the attacks in the Sinai when it does not even have a presence there?" the ambassador asked.

Haber said it was irrational to blame the group for everything negative that happened to Egypt, especially when there was no evidence.

"The Egyptian government should tell us of what is really happening in the Sinai," he added.

The ambassador also criticised the Egyptian judiciary's position towards the Muslim Brotherhood before and after the 30 June 2013 protests that called for then-president Mohammad Morsi to quit.

After being allowed to run for parliament and the presidency, members of the Brotherhood were blamed for all the terrorist attacks in the country, despite the lack of evidence, he said. 

Haber said the court rulings issued against members of the group violated the basic legal principle of "benefit of the doubt".

     This will be the first time Sisi visits a country that has criticised him so heavily.

When the editor-in-chief of a pro-Sisi private newspaper objected to Haber's comments saying: "All terrorist attacks have MB roots," Haber replied: "Terror acts are committed outside Egypt by different groups. Terrorists have different political approaches. Some may even be opposed to the MB."

The ambassador also called on the Egyptian regime to conduct a "thorough analysis" of the lack of stability and civil peace in the region, and identify who the real enemy was.

Haber spoke about "widespread conspiracy theory discourse" in the Egyptian media which has complicated the situation and fuelled discrimination. He called on the media to look at the real reason why the situation is deteriorating in the Sinai and other areas, instead of pointing fingers at individuals.

The ambassador said his country objected to the new protest law. To which another editor-in-chief replied: "The Egyptian protest law was inspired by Western laws."

Haber replied: "The problem is not the law, it is its application." He argued Egypt's image would significantly improve if the current protest law was changed.

The ambassador also criticised the Egyptian judiciary over the "al-Jazeera cell" case. He argued its image was weakened after the Court of Cassation ruled the reasoning behind the initial verdict against the journalists was weak.

On a positive note, Haber said Egypt's investment climate was "on the right track after the Sharm al-Sheikh economic conference".

However, he criticised several things: the decision to issue the new investment law the day before the conference, the weakness of the economic structure, and the uncertain economic position of the armed forces.

He said the armed forces enjoyed "competitive privileges other investors cannot match due to the lack of transparency regarding the details of its contracts and projects".

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.