Sinai Bedouin declare solidarity with convicted tribesmen

The three main Bedouin tribes of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula–Al-Sawarka, Al-Romaylat and Al-Tarabin–declared their solidarity with seven Al-Tarabin tribesmen who were sentenced in absentia two days ago to life in prison.

Tribal leaders also warned tribe members against cooperating with the Interior Ministry.

Tribal chiefs had previously demanded that the government deal with them through the military rather than the Interior Ministry, with which the Sinai Bedouin have traditionally had tense relations.

The harsh verdicts against the seven Bedouin has further alienated the tribes, who had earlier demanded that no verdicts be issued against their members in absentia.

“These verdicts have brought the ongoing talks aimed at calming the situation in Sinai back to square one,” said Mousa al-Delh, one of the men to receive a life sentence.

Salem Lafi, another of the tribesmen charged in absentia, declared that the tribes would not abide by what had been agreed to in the negotiations.

“I don’t know why I was convicted,” said Salama Mosaed, who was sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison. He believes he is being punished for refusing to work as a government informant.

Al-Sawarka tribesman Abu Tarek, for his part, said there was hardly a family in the peninsula of which at least one member was not wanted by the authorities.

“We want the president to overturn, or at least reduce, these verdicts,” said Mossad Abu Fagr of the Al-Romaylat tribe.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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