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Entrenched Repression: Illiberal Practices in Egypt
Abstract by Insiya Raja On Session II-19  (MENA as Carceral States II)

On Thursday, November 2 at 5:30 pm

2023 Annual Meeting

Egypt's current regime uses political imprisonment systematically as a mechanism of control to gain information, control bodies and voices, and crack down on dissent. This research aims to provide an understanding of the underlying institutional architecture fundamental to the current regime's functioning, legitimacy, and stability. Furthermore, perfecting Bentham's Panopticon, the new prison complex in Egypt, which is part of the new regime's modernizing narrative, Badr serves as a window into the strategies of the current government in perfecting the system of political imprisonment as a mechanism of social control. Since a single approach cannot sufficiently explain the various iterations in the phenomenon of illiberal practices carried out by the current government, this research unifies various theoretical frameworks and analytical tools in both sociology and political science to gain insights into how violations of personal integrity, such as torture, police violence, sexual violence, intimidation, and incarceration, are used as methods of containing political dissent. To assess practices, this research will adhere to a narrow and restrictive definition similar to one adopted by the Convention Against Torture (CAT), which includes the frequency, similarity of circumstances, the purpose behind abuse, and similarity in methods employed, i.e., practices are systemic which are habitual, widespread, and deliberate. The number of victims, duration, and existence of government policy are also indicators of systemic violation. By explicating the context and other factors that add to their gravity, this research will show how all the violations discussed and highlighted by the various NGOs in Egypt's context should be considered serious and serve as a framework for guiding both academics and researchers into the entrenchment of repression under the current Egyptian government.
Political Science
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