Georgetown University Professor Sentenced to Death in Egypt
Public policy professor Emad Shahin has been sentenced to death in Egypt along with 35 others on charges of espionage. Luckily for him, he's safe in Washington, acting as a visiting professor at Georgetown University.
The death sentences, which Shahin called "unprecedented," were handed down by the Cairo Criminal Court in response to criticism of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who rose to power in July 2013 in a military coup.
Shahin said he first heard of the charges being weighed against him through a stranger's message over Facebook. Shahin was roped into the espionage case because he was cc'ed on a number of emails that the court claims discussed undermining Egyptian power with agents of Hamas and Iranian nationals.
The professor left Egypt in January 2014 and maintains his innocence. Shahin told Vice News, "The judicial context and the political environment in general is not conducive to a fair trial and due process [in Egypt]." Shahin argued that Sisi is "treating Egypt as an extension of the army and not the other way around." He also said the trial are a "sham" and that Sisi's reign resembles that of Hosni Mubarak or Saddam Hussein.
The Cairo Criminal Court proceedings have also been called into question by the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International, among other foreign policy players. Unsurprisingly, the Egyptian government has defended the trials as fair and called international criticism "an unacceptable intrusion into the work of the Egyptian judicial system."
Shahin plans to take on the role of activist at the end of this semester. "I wanted to be viewed as an academic and scholar solely but this is too much," he told Vice, adding, "they are acting on their madness so they have to be stopped, that's what I am trying to do."