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War of words follows Egypt execution

Activists condemned the execution of Ramadan [al-Araby]

Date of publication: 8 March, 2015

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Blog: Supporters and opponents of the Egyptian coup trade barbs over the execution of Mahmoud Ramadan, an anti-coup protester sentenced to death for throwing people off a building.

"By killing me the truth won’t die, but your endeavours will fail. My death for the sake of goodness will immortalise me but annihilate you".

These words have caused an outpouring of comments and posts on social media, remembering Mahmoud Ramadan after it was announced that he had been executed.

Ramadan is the first anti-coup protester to be executed. He was accused by the authorities of killing one person by throwing them from the roof of a building in Alexandria.

After his execution, Ramadan's name became part of the top trending hashtags on social media, including Arabic hashtags that translate to "Execution of an innocent" and "Mahmoud Ramadan is innocent".

A new Denshawai?

Activists expressed full solidarity with Ramadan, saying the execution was a new "Denshawai Incident" - a referenceto clashes which occurred in 1906 between British military officers and locals in Egypt.

Many called for a new revolution against the regime that they said exonerates killers and executes activists without due process or lawful trials.

On Egyptian television, presenter Mohammed Nasser described Ramadan as a martyr who died as a victim of a "failed interior ministry, failed army, and an already failed justice system".

Mohammed al-Quddusi, a writer told Al-Jazeera that Ramadan's lawyer Hosni Dowidar was jailed until the trial was over. When the family hired another lawyer, he added, this lawyer was threatened with jail, and in the end he left the case. Quddusi said this fully discredits the trial.

'A prelude to more executions'

On the other side of the divide, Wael Ibrashi said Ramadan's execution was a prelude to the execution of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Pro-regime commentator Ahmed Moussa was outraged that some had called Ramadan a martyr, and echoed Ibrashi in saying Morsi and his associated would be executed next.

Supporters of the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, backed the execution. Fatima Naout, a writer, said: "Even though I reject killing in all its forms... I caught myself feeling relieved from the execution of the child murderer Mahmoud Ramadan."

Hanan Shouman, a journalist, commenting on the solidarity expressed by activists with Ramadan, wrote: "You are all Mahmoud Ramadan, fine. Let's not backtrack from those words when crunch time comes."

'A fascist system'

Anti-Sisi commentators, meanwhile, accused the regime of fascism and the justice system of being politicised and exploited to eliminate dissidents. Ayman Azzam, a journalist, wrote, "It seems Mohammed Ibrahim was the minister of mass slaughter, and the new [interior minister] has inaugurated an era of mass executions now, beginning with martyr #Mahmoud_Ramadan".

Tareq Gawhari, a security expert, said: "The execution of Mahmoud Ramadan... are the policy of the new minister... namely, to move from overt repression to convert repression by intensifying raids and expediting death sentences, as opposed to public killing of protesters".

Ashraf Saber, a journalist, wrote: "Mahmoud Ramadan is dead. The criminal prosecutor general used the video proving his innocence as the proof that he is guilty, and implemented a death sentence issued against him by a criminal judge...but we will not let your rights go in vain."

Human rights activist Haitham Abu Khalil wrote: "Your message was not received. The blood of Mahmoud Ramadan will become a curse that will chase you and your economic conference".

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.

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