Peasant Solidarity Committee - Egypt
2010 / 1 / 9
At the beginning of the fourth week of September 2009 the farmers of al -Ma mura district of Alexandria governorate in Egypt woke up to find the body of the household head of the Shendi family lying in the fields. On the cloth of his restricted body a written threat-message to his colleague, Salama Karim, stated "your turn is next to be shot peasant leaders ." Despite the quite appalling-all scene, those who saw the assassinated body quickly realized the significance of what happened, and some of his friends, family members and neighbors quickly designated the dimensions of the crime. This was done not on the basis of the well-known rule "find beneficiary in any offence committed concludes," but by resorting to the natural wisdom of the humble people that recalls the near and long history of the victim to reach the actual killer as opposed to the one who carried the gun. Therefore, relatives and people have decided to abstain from receiving any condolences for their victim*.
The deceased Hassan Shendi was one of the farmers who were called by the police and the Police Officers Association of Kafr al-Sheikh to renounce their land, which they bought from the Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) but who refused. The farmers did not only refuse to renounce their lands but they also filed court cases against the Ministry that the purchasing process was illegal in itself.
The land, the subject of the dispute, produces the best speaches of guava and wheat grown in Egypt. It has been cultivated by the same farmers who rented it from the General Authority for Land Reform since 1960. In addition, the ancestors of those same farmers used to cultivate this same land since the time of Khedive Ismail in 1880 until the army national revolt in 1952. This land has been targeted by many of the governmental officials, big businessmen and organized land-robbery gangs for its peculiar location. It is very close to the Mediterranean Sea shores and the famous beach of al-Ma mura, and therefore its price is much higher than any other agricultural land in Egypt. Although the land does not belong to the Ministry of Awqaf but to The General Authority for Land Reform, and the role of the Ministry of Awqaf is limited
just to its administration (renting it to the cultivators) and the Ministry has no power whatsoever to dispose of or sell the land, most interested officials- led by the Alexandria governorate collaborated to sell it piece by piece to a number of police
associations and other societies and the land was evacuated under threats and intimidation. This happened in the first chunk (9 acres space), which went to the Association of the State Security Officers of Alexandria that was able to evacuate the land from the farmers by exercising severe pressure on them. The same scenario was reiterated in the second piece (10 acres space) that went to The Police Officers Society of Kafr al-Sheikh. However, the farmers in the second piece learnt the lesson and refused to concede their land and managed to get unequivocal documents to devastate the basis of the forged selling process and submitted them to the court. These documents confirm that the ownership of the land belongs to the General Authority for Land Reform and not to the Ministry of Awqaf.
In the face of the strong determination of the farmers who refused to leave their lands, the spread of the news about the corruption of the selling process between the Ministry of Awqaf and police associations and others, a restoration in the farmers hope in retaining or purchasing their land from the Land Reform Authority emerged. In addition, there was an expected predicament waiting for those who broke the law and who colluded in the fraudulent selling process in which the land was sold with 10% of its real price. Therefore, there had to be a quick end to this situation, which was gradually turning for the benefit of the farmers, and this was the shocking assassination of the head of Shendi family, one of the prominent farmers who refused to compromise on the land.
*Do the investigations being conducted by the public prosecutor reveal the killers and those who stand behind them?
*Does the civil court bring justice to the farmers and compensate them for the death of the head of their family member and rule against the corruption of the selling processes and return back the stolen land?
*or would the farmers get exhausted after seeing the corpse of their prominent head lying in the fields, with an explicit threat that this is the end to those who disobey the "masters orders", and an identification of the name of who is next if they persist in the same way?
Therefore, the Solidarity Peasant Committee appeals to all farmers and honest people in Egypt, the World, and the Arab region as well as to all peasants organizations around the glob to support the resistance of the farmers of al-Ma mura region of Alexandria against all attempts to rape their lands and against their displacement. We also call on everybody to demand the speedy announcement of the investigations results for the identification of the murderers of Hassan Shendi and those who stood behind them by sending messages to the Egyptian officials and the international farmers and human rights organizations
Monday, 28 September 2009
*According to local customs, people can not receive condolences for a murdered person until his actual killer gets punished by the justice court system or by the traditional retribution law as it is in Upper Egypt.
Ladies and gentle men:
Please send your protests to:
National council of human rights. fax no. 0020225745776
Parliament. fax. No. 0020227942721& 0020227356449&
Interior ministry fax. no. 0020225792031 & 0020227945529
Justice ministry. fax. no. 0020227958103
Foreign affairs Ministry. fax. no. 0020225748822
Irrigation ministry fax no. 00202 94493544
Agriculture ministry. fax. no. 0020237498128
Prime minister fax. no. 0020227356449 & 002027958016
President of the republic Hosny Mubarak. Fax. no. 0020223901998
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