Author: Nokail

Nancy Okail is the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. She holds a Ph.D., with a focus on power relations of foreign aid, from the University of Sussex in the UK. Prior to joining TIMEP, she was director of Freedom House’s Egypt program. She has more than 13 years’ experience in promoting democracy and development in the Middle East/North Africa region, and is a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Okail has worked with the Egyptian government as a senior evaluation officer of foreign aid and has managed programs for Egyptian pro-democracy organizations that challenged the Mubarak regime. She was also one of the defendants convicted and sentenced to prison in the widely publicized case of 43 nongovernmental organization workers charged with using foreign funds to foment unrest in Egypt.

The Dueling Narratives of the Islamic State and the Egyptian State

When President Donald Trump welcomed Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi at the White House earlier this month, Trump applauded Sisi’s efforts to fight terrorism in Egypt as Sisi boasted about his success.  Since those meetings, however, the Islamic State is actively challenging his narrative through its intensive attacks and media campaign this month. The Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula, Wilayat Sinai or Sinai Province,

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Today’s Crackdown on Egyptian Civil Society: An Eerie Reminder of 2012

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 8 on Lawfare, and is reprinted here with their kind permission. Despite continued reports of torture, harrowing tales of abuse in detention, and haunting anecdotes of forced disappearances, Egyptian authorities seem wholly unwilling to contend with the human rights violations that have long plagued the country’s security sector. Rather, authorities seem insistent to instead embark

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Letter from Cairo

Carnegie Europe’s Capitals Series explores how European Union foreign policy is viewed by ten countries in Europe’s southern neighborhood. Carnegie has asked contributors from each capital to give a candid assessment of the E.U.’s approach toward their country, with a ranking on a scale from “irrelevant” to “helpful.” This week, the spotlight is on Egypt, and TIMEP’s Nancy Okail was invited to write about Egypt-E.U. Relations. The

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Torture to Death in Egypt’s Police Stations

Talaat Shabib and Afify Hassan Afify are two Egyptian men who come from very different backgrounds and locations. Shabib was a papyrus salesman from Luxor in Upper Egypt, and Afify was a middle-class pharmacist from Ismailia along the Suez Canal. Despite their differences, they shared the same destiny: both men died last month in police stations, both allegedly due to torture.  Shabib and Afifi are not unique cases; they are among 13 reported deaths

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Why Bahgat’s Detention Is of Global Concern

In less than 48 hours, the world learned of and expressed its disapproval of the unjust detention of Hossam Bahgat, the acclaimed Egyptian human rights defender and journalist, by Egypt’s military prosecution. Fortunately, the international reaction was heard and Bahgat was released on Tuesday morning. Per its usual practice, however, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected commentary from abroad, denouncing Ban Ki Moon’s criticism

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My own Egyptian trial was nothing compared with what these women will face tomorrow

Tomorrow, seven women will face trial in Cairo after 84 days in prison. Their crime? Attending demonstrations denouncing Egypt’s controversial protest law, which profoundly restricts fundamental rights to assembly and expression. Egyptian prisons are known for their increasingly harsh conditions; reports suggest that they fail to meet even the most basic standards for prisoners’ rights. Prison officials neglect inmates’ health, placing

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Forward: Sexual Harassment Special Issue

Although sexual harassment in Egypt is a well-known phenomenon, video footage taken by one of the thousands of Egyptians celebrating Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s rise to presidency of the gang rape of an Egyptian woman in Tahir Square graphically exposed a disturbing trend. The violent imagery of over 50 men sexually assaulting a lone woman incited a maelstrom of emotion among Egyptians. The mob sexual assault, sadly, was shared on social media at a

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What If Mubarak Did Not Step Down?

Would Egypt be in the same place today? Three years ago, the streets of Egypt were filled with joy at the news of Mubarak’s resignation. People set off fireworks and listened as solidarity statements poured in from people and leaders from around the world. The enthusiastic revolutionaries felt triumphant, calling this monumental event the “new dawn.” Many of those who were not supportive of the revolution during the 18 days leading up to the

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