First Published: 2005-09-07

 
Egypt vote monitors 'beaten, barred access'
 

Coalition of monitoring groups highlights number of problems faced by monitors trying to access polling stations.

 

Middle East Online

Why the harrassment?

CAIRO - Independent groups trying to monitor Egypt's landmark presidential vote on Wednesday charged that their representatives had been barred access to polling stations and even beaten up.

The electoral commission announced two hours after polling opened that independent monitors would be allowed to work inside polling stations, after opposition groups voiced fears of widespread fraud, rescinding a previous ban.

"Monitors, in most cases, are still not being allowed access inside the polling stations despite this morning's announcement by Mahmud Marai, chairman of the presidential electoral committee to the contrary," a coalition of monitoring groups said.

Monitors have been "beaten, apprehended and interrogated," especially in southern Egypt, the Independent Committee for Election Monitoring said in a preliminary report.

It also highlighted a number of problems with the vote, pointing out that the vast majority of voting stations were "not properly identified as polling centres" and that an estimated 20 percent of them were late opening.

"As of now, approximately 90 percent of the polling stations have campaign material supporting one of the candidates displayed outside," the committee said.

"The vast majority of this material is supporting the incumbent (Hosni) Mubarak, with a small minority representing Al-Ghad and Al-Wafd," the parties of Ayman Nur and Numan Gumaa respectively, it added.

AFP correspondents across Egypt also witnessed scores of supporters of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party ostensibly campaigning in front of the polling stations as voters trickled in.

Egyptians for the first time have a choice of 10 candidates including Mubarak in a landmark presidential election which the government has hailed as a major step towards democracy.

Observers and opposition leaders have voiced their fears of widespread fraud by the NDP, and the country's judges -- tasked with supervising the polling process -- have already said they would not endorse the results.

The IECM claims to have 2,200 trained monitors deployed across the country.

 

Trump accuses Assad of committing 'horrible' crimes

Rival Libyan leaders agree to ceasefire, elections

Egypt creates 'national council' to fight 'terror'

Battle on Lebanon-Syria border proves difficult for Hezbollah fighters

UN says majority of Yemen children in need of immediate aid

Subdued atmosphere in Jerusalem's Old City

Britain lifts Tunisia travel warning

Police in Cairo kill 4 suspected in mid-July attack

Bahrain charges 60 in mass trial

Erdogan says Israeli removal of holy site metal detectors not enough

Tripoli asks Italy to send ships in fight against traffickers

Egyptian state seizes land from ‘squatters’

Jerusalem standoff continues over 'advanced' cameras

Syrian civilians turn to smugglers to flee Raqa fighting

Clashes erupt in Eastern Ghouta despite Syria truce deal

Isolated Qatar criticises new Saudi bloc blacklist

Top EU court keeps Hamas on terror list

Iran’s deputy FM: US sanctions vote 'hostile'

Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers killed in C. Africa attack

Palestinians demand removal of Jerusalem 'security' measures

Key challenges in Libya's chaos

Where Afghanistan is heading and what it means for the Arab Gulf

Saudi raises $4.53 bln in oversubscribed bond issue

Jordanian mourners chant 'death to Israel'

14 Saudis face ‘imminent’ unfair execution says Amnesty

Rival Libyan leaders hold talks in France

Amnesty International urges EU to 'reset' Turkey relations

Erdogan urges Muslims to ‘protect’ Jerusalem

US sanctions protecting Iranian tech sector

Air strike kills civilians in Syria despite truce

278 Europe-bound migrants rescued off Libya

Beirut, the upcoming start-up hub in MENA region

Trump says Syrian rebel aid program was 'dangerous and wasteful'

Israel dismantles metal detectors from holy site

Saudi, allies unveil Qatar 'terrorist' blacklist

Cardinal hails 'rebirth' of Iraqi Christian town

Top UN delegation visits crisis-hit Yemen

Trump aide due in Israel to ease holy site tensions

Libya’s coastguard rescues 150 Europe-bound migrants

EU warns Turkey economy at risk in Germany row

Saudi crown prince takes temporary charge

Israel strikes Gaza after missile across border

Hezbollah says fight on Syria border ‘nearing end’

Staff of Turkey opposition paper stand trial

Tehran’s judiciary chief accuses US of jailing innocent Iranians