In a video that became viral on Tuesday, Ms. Makram appears giving a speech, a microphone in her hand:
We only have one country, which is Egypt. (…) Egypt brings us closer, no matter where we are in the world. This country is always in our heart and we can not stand to speak evil of Egypt abroad.
Do you know what happens to anyone who is abroad and who speaks ill of our country? It will be cutshe adds, miming a decapitation with a wave of her hand, making the room laugh.
Makram made the statement in Toronto Sunday in a meeting with members of the Egyptian diaspora, in the presence of Egyptian Ambassador to Canada Ahmad Abu Zeid and the Egyptian Consul in Montreal, Hossam Moharram.
– محمد نصر | Mohamed Nasr (@MohamedNasrAJA) July 23, 2019
Egyptian-born Canadian journalist Mohamad Nasr first broadcast the video on his Twitter account early Tuesday morning. The clip of less than 30 seconds was viewed more than 68,000 times in less than seven hours.
In a phone interview, Nasr says he received a video of a friend in the Sheraton Hotel's reception room in Toronto, where Ms. Makram made her controversial speech.
The minister spoke in Canada in the same way as she would have done in Egypt to suppress freedoms and silence dissenting voices.
He says that the video he shared became viral because the facts took place in Canada.
The minister may have forgotten that she was in a country that respects human rightsadds the journalist, who is followed by more than 22,000 netizens on Twitter.
For its part, the Canadian Coalition for Democracy (CECD), which has offices in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, also strongly denounced the Egyptian minister.
"It's very dangerous and unacceptable," responded Mohamed Kamel, member of the CECD board of directors, who was contacted by phone. It reminds us of the case (murdered Saudi journalist) Jamal Khashoggi. "
Kamel calls on the Canadian government to condemn the Egyptian immigration minister's statement that his organization will make a formal complaint to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police.
If the minister is addressing these threats to Egyptian dissidents in Canada, what is the Egyptian government doing in the country?
Mr. Kamel said he took the words of the Egyptian minister seriously, even if they were pronounced jokingly:
This is not a regular citizen, it is a minister on an official visit to Canadahe says.
His hand gesture imitating beheading has a very clear meaning, he adds. The fact that she did it with a smile is even more serious.
The minister defends herself
In a series of tweets posted on the official account of the Egyptian Ministry of Immigration, Ms. Makram justifies the use of the verb "cut out" that she used in her speech, saying that it means "getting very angry at someone "in the language spoken in Egypt. She claims that her gesture imitating beheading "is not violent".
Ms. Makram said she was surprised to find that "her words were distorted", claiming to have used "spontaneous and simple words".
The Egyptian minister has finally accused "certain parties", without naming them, of "waging a fierce war" against his country and "seeking division".
"The state protects its citizens and does not threaten them," she said.
In a report released in early July, Amnesty International accuses President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi's government of arresting "thousands of people arbitrarily, including hundreds of dissidents ", and" to use repressive tactics … by subjecting the media, NGOs, trade unions and activists to suffocating restrictions ".
Since 2014, more than 1891 death sentences have been handed down and at least 174 people have been executed, "often after an unfair trial," says the NGO.