Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

More than 500 people in Matea, Egypt, have been sentenced to death. On one street alone, a juice store owner, a sweets shop owner, a doctor and more than 20 others have been condemned.

Egypt's legal system has already been under scrutiny with a raft of high-profile cases that include two ousted presidents and scores of activists. And a new wave of international criticism is building after an Egyptian court sentenced 529 men to death after a two-day trial.

The judge sentenced the men for the killing of a police officer. They were also charged with arson, inciting violence and other crimes in the province of Minya, just south of Cairo.



This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.


And I'm David Greene. Good morning. In Egypt yesterday, a criminal court sentenced 529 people to death over the killing of a police officer. The verdict has been described as unprecedented and humanitarian critics say the two-day trial that preceded it was a sham. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel from Cairo.

Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.

If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.

In Libya, disputes are settled by guns.

On a recent day, just west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, gunfire erupts, a battle between two families. It builds for hours; people run for cover. No one intervenes — even though a Libyan army base is just a mile away.

Inside that military camp in a town called Zawiya are 230 young men from across the North African nation, part of the government effort to address the country's most glaring problem: an almost nonexistent security force.



Now, to Cairo where the spotlight is on an important case in the government's crackdown on press freedoms. Three jailed journalists for the al-Jazeera English channel were taken to their first court hearing today. Their arrest nearly two months ago has been denounced by rights groups. As NPR's Leila Fadel reports, they were denied bail today in a short but dramatic appearance.

In 2011, I crossed the border with other journalists into a country that had been cut off from the world for 42 years. We had no idea what to expect as we entered what the rebels were calling "Free Libya."

Where before there had been oppressive security, instead what greeted us was a motley group of ecstatic young men with guns who welcomed journalists to the land they'd liberated. There was no passport control, no rules and a sense of relief that the world would finally hear their stories.



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This month marks the third anniversary of Libya's uprising against a brutal dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. After a bloody civil war, he was ousted and later killed - and now Libya is trying to rebuild itself. But the process has been slow. The divided nation still has a weak government and is awash with weapons. NPR's Leila Fadel has just returned from Tripoli and joins us from Cairo. Leila, thanks so much for being with us.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

Here are three numbers that tell the story of Egypt's security crackdown, its political turmoil and the simmering insurgency.

16,687. It's estimated that at least this many political detainees have been imprisoned since the military ousted the Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, on July 3.

4,482. At least this many people have been killed in clashes since Morsi's ouster, many at the hands of security forces.



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

In Cairo today, former President Mohammed Morsi appeared in court for the second time since he was ousted in a military coup last July. The Islamist leader wore a white prison uniform and stood in a glass-enclosed cage. As NPR's Leila Fadel reports, Morsi faces charges that could lead to the death penalty.



Now, to Egypt where there were more indications today that the country's top military chief is preparing to run for president. The armed forces announced on state television that Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi should, in their words, heed the call of the people and run for president in an election expected to be held within the next three months.

NPR's Leila Fadel joins us now from Cairo. Hi, Leila.


SIEGEL: And does this mean that Egypt's military chief is definitely running for president?

The third anniversary of Egypt's revolution was marked with violent clashes across the country between pro and anti-government demonstrators. By Sunday morning at least 49 people had been killed and more than 1,000 arrested.

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

Mohamed Yousef is a tall, handsome practitioner of kung fu. In fact, he's an Egyptian champion who recently won an international competition.

But a month ago, when he collected his gold medal at the championship in Russia, he posed for a picture after putting on a yellow T-shirt with a hand holding up four fingers.

That's the symbol of Rabaa al-Adawiya, the Cairo square where Egyptian security forces opened fire in August on supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Hundreds were killed, including seven of Yousef's friends.



A new political storm is brewing in Egypt. It's over a law that bans unauthorized protest. Egyptian officials are taking to the airwaves to defend the law, in the face of fierce opposition from secular political activists. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.