Egyptians never gave up on democracy, despite what Jackson Diehl suggested in his July 22 op-ed column, “Egypt’s ‘democrats’ abandon democracy.” The Egyptians he wrote about, including me, have been struggling for a true democracy since 2005. True democracy is a result of a long process that ends, not begins, with the ballot box.

Remember the chants two years ago of the Jan. 25 revolution: “Bread! Freedom! Social justice! Human dignity!” Average Egyptians are well aware that fulfillment of these four demands is necessary for true democracy; without them, there is no democracy. These were the demands of those calling for change, and they supersede the West’s seemingly limited definition of democracy.

Mr. Diehl suggested that our June 30 revolution made a sham of democracy, but the real sham was the presidency of Mohamed Morsi. He usurped the powers of the judiciary and constitutional court. He established an authoritarian state and killed innocent youth. He ignored the calls of the Egyptian people to satisfy the four demands of the Jan. 25 revolution.

For there to be a military coup, there must be military rule. In our case, the Egyptian army did not rule for even an hour. Presidential authority was transferred to the head of the constitutional court, in accordance with the road map set by political forces representing the millions of Egyptians who came out into the streets demanding this change.

As Mr. Diehl said, the current government is holding a number of political prisoners. What Mr. Diehl did not mention is that they are due to face charges of escape from prison; conspiracy with foreign countries; incitement to violence, murder and the killing of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. They will face trial for these specific crimes, not indefinite detention.

Esraa Abdel Fattah, Cairo

The writer is a member of the June 30 Front, a coalition of groups opposed to the Morsi government, and of the Dostour, or Constitution, Party.