Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 11, 2014


Legal & Political Institutions

Interim President Adli Mansour ratified the new elections law on Saturday ahead of the presidential election expected to kick off in the first half of this year. According to the constitution, the president and the government to make amendments to the newly ratified law. The new law stipulates that candidates must have a higher degree in education, must have never been convicted, even if rehabilitated, and must be physically and psychologically fit. [Aswat MasriyaRead More..

Security Sector

Egyptian former chief of staff, Sami Anan has said he survived an assassination attempt by unknown assailants, a claim brushed off by the Ministry of Interior as “mere elections publicity”. [Al Jazeera, Ahram English, Ahram-arRead More..

Marginalized Groups

Concerning the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood, H.A. Hellyer writes: “But the banning of movements with grassroots support does not have an unproblematic history. Banning them seldom makes them disappear or go away – it applies pressure upon them, to be sure. But they do not shrivel up as the result of bans. They disappear when their supporters desert them – and bans do not always lead to that. Sometimes, they may even stimulate people to support them, for a while.” [Al Arabiya]

Rights & Freedoms

An Egyptian court ­ordered the release of one of the 2011 revolution’s most notorious villains Monday, while three of the uprising’s most prominent pro-democracy activists — now prisoners of Egypt’s military-backed government — appeared in a separate court alleging torture. [NYT, Washington PostRead More..


A $40 billion deal for Dubai firm Arabtec to build one million homes in Egypt may mark the start of politically-inspired Gulf investment in the country’s creaking infrastructure, from housing to transport, power generation and agriculture. [Reuters, Daily News Egypt, Wall Street Journal

Foreign Relations

Mahmoud Salem writes on Egypt-Saudi, Egypt-Russia relations: “Egypt, in terms of foreign policy, faces a unique conundrum: Its interim government needs Saudi and Gulf money to survive on a monthly basis, while its military is publically cozying up to Putin and announcing a $2 billion arms deal, which it said will be financed by Saudi money.” [Al MonitorRead More..


Legal & Political Institutions

Sisi addresses ties between Egyptians and Armed Forces, calling the relationship “based on trust and mutual understanding”

Egypt SIS: Sisi: Ties between Egyptians, Armed Forces ‘solid’

In this press statement: “Deputy Prime Minister, Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief and Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said the relation between the Egyptians and the Armed Forces is based on trust and mutual understanding.

During the 10th seminar held by the Egyptian Armed Forces’ Morale Affairs Department on the Martyrs’ Day, Sisi asserted that the Egyptian army is patriotic and strong and represents all the segments of the society.

It is important to spread awareness in the society about the challenges besetting Egypt , Sisi added.”

Mada Masr Expert roundtable: Democratic parties and groups face major challenges in upcoming elections

Mada Masr: What’s in the presidential contest for democrats?

In this article: “During the roundtable discussion [to highlight democratic groups in upcoming elections], Karim Ennarah, researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), asked a decisive question that determines the choice between Sabbahi and Ali: “Are we looking for political representation or are we aiming to break Sisi’s hegemony?” There was agreement around the table that the stakes of the presidential race go beyond the choice of president. Mohamed Menza, political science professor and member of the liberal Freedom Egypt Party, explained how the presidential race is an opportunity to preserve the political field. The emerging democratic parties and groups, he said, have been facing major organizational challenges, and they need to engage with the presidential race in order to overcome this challenge and preserve political diversity. Shahir George, EIPR researcher and member of the Freedom Egypt Party, added that the race is an opportunity to secure democratic allies, in order to be able to work on pressing socio-economic issues later on.

But not everyone is in agreement that engaging with the presidential elections is the pertinent political act in the context of a powerful state resurgence.”

Sabbahi may reconsider his candidacy in light of his discrepancies with the new presidential elections law

Ahram: Sabbahi doubts integrity of Egypt’s upcoming presidential poll

In this article: “Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi reiterated on Monday his criticism of the newly passed presidential elections law, expressing doubts about the integrity and fairness of the upcoming poll.

Sabbahi said in a press conference that the current law, which grants the decisions of the High Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) immunity by placing them above judicial review, breaches the constitution.

“This is a real test to democracy. If we start this way, it will never stop,” he said.

Voicing objections to the law, Sabbahi had earlier announced he may reconsider his candidacy. On Monday, however, he stated that “joining the presidential elections is a must, because it means the revolution has moved from the streets to the state.”

Security Sector

Ultras demand no police presence in stadiums: MOI relents

Ahram: No police in Egypt football stadiums next season: Interior ministry

In this article: “The interior ministry will not be responsible for securing Egyptian football matches from new season.

In a joint Facebook statement on Monday, the hardcore fans of Egyptian clubs announced they would protest outside their clubs to demand security forces are banned from stadiums.

“It’s either us or interior ministry forces in stadiums,” the ultras statement said, suggesting the task of securing games should be handed to private companies.

In a quick response, interior ministry spokesperson Hany Abdel-Latif announced the ministry’s assent to the ultras’ request.

“The interior ministry has the same vision as the ultras groups. We support their demand,” Abdel-Latif said in a radio statement late on Monday.

“This season will be completed behind closed doors and starting from next season the securing of football matches will be handed to private companies.”

Terror suspect arrested in Egypt–found to allegedly have ties with jihadist groups in Syria

ChannelNewsAsia: Egypt arrests Cairo bombing suspect

LongWarJournal: Egypt says suspect in Cairo attack fought in Syria and Libya  

In this article: “Egyptian police said they arrested a man Monday suspected of carrying out a deadly bomb attack in the capital Cairo, accusing him of having fought with jihadist groups in Syria.Four blasts targeting the police hit Cairo on January 24, killing six people. An Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group based in the Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, claimed the attacks. Police arrested Mohammed Durri Ahmad al-Taliawi, a 35-year-old vendor, on Monday in an apartment in the Nile Delta province of Menufiya, an interior ministry statement said. Taliawi, who was found in possession of firearms, admitted to carrying out one of the bombings, the ministry said. The statement also charged that he “took part in terrorist acts in Syria and Libya” and he was wanted on two charges, one involving members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the other connected to Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.”

Al-Qaeda affiliated ‘terrorist cell’ dismantled, 3 men arrested, 1 at large

Ahram: Egypt charges 4-man ‘terrorist cell’ with Al-Qadea collaboration

In this article: “Egypt’s general prosecution has ordered the referral of what it described as a terrorist cell to criminal court on charges of collaborating with Al Qaeda.

According to a statement by the prosecutor-general released on Monday, the four defendants accused of being members of the cell are Egyptians Amr Mohamed Abulela Aqida, Mohamed Abdel-Halim Hemida and Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed Ibrahim, and Daoud Al-Asady, a Kurd whose nationality was not specified.

The three Egyptians are in detention, while Al-Asady is at large.

They face charges of providing Al Qaeda with information on the Egyptian army and their bases in Sinai, attacking military and police personnel and institutions, jeopardising the safety of the society, and attempting to overthrow the government by force, among others.

The defendants confessed that they formed a terrorist cell in 2013 and planned, but didn’t execute, terrorist attacks against the American and French embassies and their workers, according to the statement.”

Rights & Freedoms

Systematic Imprisonment in Egypt: Hundreds of activists in prison with no sign of trial or a release–Reports of abuse and ill treatment emerging, while advocacy groups fight back

Ahram: Arrested protesters forgotten in Egypt’s detention cells

Washington Post: Egyptian authorities detain thousands amid crackdown on dissent

AP: Lawyer: Egypt Activists Beaten in Courthouse

Al Monitor: Egyptian activists on defense in divided Egypt

In this article: “A new movement called Freedom for the Brave, launched to defend detained protesters and demand their release, said in a statement last week that this kind of detention was caused by a “black hole” in the law. “Without identifying a judicial circuit to look into the case, there is no judicial body able to issue a decision to release prisoners, not even the prosecutor-general,” the group said in a statement last week. Abdel-Fattah and Abdel-Rahman are just two of hundreds of people detained in recent months whose detentions have been renewed repeatedly with no sign of a trial or a release.

“The nature of the law is to protect human freedom…remand detention should be an exception in specific cases assigned by law,” Rafaat Fouda, a professor of law at Cairo University told Ahram Online. The cases, according to Fouda, include those where suspects may abscond, where their freedom may affect the ongoing investigation in some way through witnesses or evidence, or those in which suspects do not have fixed and known places of residence in Egypt.”

Foreign Relations

Hamas hoping to keep good relations with Egypt

Ahram: We have no choice but keep good relations with Egypt: Hamas leader

In this article: “A leading member of Hamas, which rules the neighbouring Gaza Strip, said his group will not foster animosity with Egypt despite the latter’s official ban on their activities, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Citing evidence of good will, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk said Hamas has not mobilised any fighters against Egypt. He added that the group’s security men stationed on the volatile Egypt-Gaza border had received fire from the Egyptian side without returning it and eventually pulled back.

“We are keen on Egypt’s security because we love Egypt. It’s where we have brothers and neighbours. Palestinians cannot do without it, even if they dispensed with us,” Abu Marzouk wrote on Facebook.”