Five years after an explosion of popular resentment against decades of misrule and repression swept aside the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is caught in a steely grip of repression. A sweeping crackdown on dissent has put at least 34,000 persons – by the government’s own admission – and possibly thousands more, behind bars. They include hundreds of leaders and senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, and numerous other critics and opponents of the government. Since the armed forces ousted President Morsi in July 2013, tens of thousands of people have been detained without trial or sentenced to prison terms or to death after often grossly unfair trials.
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