CNN’S Amanpour Full Circle in Egypt?; Egyptian Scholar Targeted in Crackdown

CNN’S Amanpour Full Circle in Egypt?; Egyptian Scholar Targeted in Crackdown

AMANPOUR: Turning now to the political divisions that are obviously in sharp focus, Emad Shaheen is an internationally respected political science professor at the American University in Cairo. But he was charged two weeks ago with espionage and conspiracy to undermine national security. 

He’s obviously caught up in this ongoing crackdown on dissent. And he’s been an outspoken critic of the military crackdown. But he was also a critic of Morsy’s leadership and he was a critic of President Mubarak before that.

Dr. Shahin left Egypt after learning of the charges against him, and he joins me now from Washington.

Welcome to the program. Thank you for being here.

EMAD SHAHIN, EGYPTIAN ACADEMIC: Thank you, Christiane, for having me.

AMANPOUR: First of all, I want to know, because obviously it’s important what America does in regard to what’s going on here in Egypt.

What is your mission on Capitol Hill?

SHAHIN: Well, it’s not actually a mission. That’s of course — and I’m personally concerned about the position of the United States regarding this particular crisis in Egypt and also regarding the military junta that has been to a large extent oppressing freedoms and expression, the right of expression in the country.

So I think this has to be raised. And this has — this issue has to be explained through the American policymakers as well as the American public opinion. We don’t want to be on the wrong side of history. 

Once again, I think we had precedence before. We had the Iranian revolution and the support of repressive and autocratic regimes and also the consequences that this brings to U.S.

AMANPOUR: OK. You have been, as I said, a critic of all the excesses of all the regimes that we’ve seen in Egypt over the last 30-plus years, including the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.

Some people are now saying it’s come full circle; but actually they’re saying it’s even worse, the crackdown now, than it was under President Mubarak.

And you yourself are a victim of this.

What is going on?

SHAHIN: Yes, this is what is going on. There is a road map that the regime has — the military, that government has put forward. And of course in order to implement its phases, they are suppressing any voice of dissent —


AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you —

SHAHIN: — mine included.

AMANPOUR: I’m sorry; I interrupted you. Yours included.

What is going to happen to you?

SHAHIN: Honestly, I don’t know what’s going to happen to you — to me because simply, simply this situation, allegations and fabricated charges could be brought against someone. And we do not have a proper recourse or a due process, a legal process, even to defend ourselves.

I was outside the country attending an academic conference when I learned about these accusations. I went back to hopefully defend myself. I consulted with lawyer and he said you have to leave the country as soon as possible because even us lawyers do not feel secure in a situation like this.

Believe it or not, the case is going to be reviewed February 16th, and I don’t know the exact charges. I’ve not seen the exact charges. Nobody has interrogated me. Nobody has subpoenaed me. And all I have is that I have been listed as a fugitive.

There was a huge difference between the process and between the true constitution. The process was totally different. I don’t want to go into this because this would take a long time. 

But I think — I think the process in the first one, the 2012, was of course still lacking. But it was more representative and more open and more public.

AMANPOUR: Will you go back to Egypt?

And do you believe Sisi will be president?

SHAHIN: I will go back to Egypt if I am guaranteed a due process and fair trial.

Whether Sisi will be president, if he decides to run, yes, of course. Definitely he will be a president in the manner that other autocrats have taken over power, feasting on the divisions within society, instilling fear inside and trying to portray themselves as the only rescue, the general who’s going to lift up the country from the ashes of civil war, of division and of violence. 

But if you look on the record, actually, his record has been provoking more violence, leading the country into a high level of polarization and escalation.

AMANPOUR: Emad Shahin, thank you very much for joining me from Capitol Hill there in Washington.


This piece is adapted from CNN

For a video version please see



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