Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 12, 2014


Legal & Political Institutions

Egyptian leaders should leave the door open for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to re-enter politics if the group accepts the constitution, former foreign minister and presidential candidate Amr Moussa said in a rare call for reconciliation. [Reuters, Ahram, PressTVRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

A doctor in Egypt will face trial for performing a female circumcision operation that killed a teenage girl, a judicial official said on Tuesday. The 14-year-old girl’s father who took her to the doctor for the procedure will also face trial, the official said. [Daily News Egypt, Ahram, NationRead More..

Security Sector

Egyptian police on Tuesday shot dead a militant suspected of being involved in a January bomb attack against Cairo police headquarters, the interior ministry said. Mohamed al-Sayed Mansour al-Toukhi was killed in a gun battle with policemen when they came to arrest him in an eastern Cairo neighbourhood, the ministry said. [News24, Daily News EgyptRead More..

Marginalized Groups

On February 22, textile workers in Mahalla announced they would suspend their latest industrial action, giving the government two months to fulfill their central demands — the removal of Abdel-Aleem and the application of a LE1,200 public sector minimum wage originally promised for the end of January. However the effect of this strike, the most significant since former President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in July, is being felt beyond the Nile Delta. [Mada MasrRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

A detained Al-Jazeera English journalist who has been conducting a hunger strike for 50 days had his detention renewed for another 45 days Tuesday. Abdullah El-Shamy, arrested outside Rabaa Square during the 14 August dispersal while reporting for Al-Jazeera English, has been refusing food to protest the condition of his detention. He has yet to face charges. [Daily News Egypt, Aswat MasriyaRead More..


Egypt’s finance minister said on Wednesday he expects growth for fiscal year 2013/14 to be between 2-2.5 percent. The newly appointed minister Hany Kadry Dimian said earlier the state’s budget deficit for this fiscal year will be around 12 percent and expected it to stand at 10-10.5 percent in the next fiscal year. [ReutersRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Field Marshal Sisi travelled to the UAE to attend the closure of joint military exercises there.

He was met by UAE deputy army chief Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The two men noted the “fraternal and solid relations linking the two countries and their peoples,” and their wish to “consolidate bilateral cooperation,” the WAM news agency reported, without giving details on Sisi’s plans or the length of his stay. [Mada Masr, AP, Times of Israel, Ahram, Al JazeeraRead More..


Legal & Political Institutions

With no end in sight to worker strikes all over Egypt–the new government must do more than make concessions

Atlantic Council: Egypt’s New Government and the Workers

In this article: “One of the new prime minister’s biggest challenges is how his government intends to assuage a wave of strikes that is spreading through Egyptian society. And that means earnestly responding to the demands of ordinary people who, as February’s strikes and protests suggest, increasingly feel the roadmap’s promises of economic renewal and stability have not been delivered…If Egypt’s government genuinely intends to answer the demands of workers – and not just silence industrial unrest – it will need to do more than appeal to the patriotism of the Egyptian working-class. That means making concessions, entering negotiations in good faith and not resorting to old-style repression against workers.”

Interior Ministry rejects claims of dismal prison conditions in Egypt–ministry will be publishing ‘real’ footage of prison conditions soon

Egypt Independent: Interior Ministry: We will publish ‘true’ images of prisons

In this article: “Assistant Interior Minister for Human Rights Abdel Karim Abu Bakr expressed doubts about the credibility of the pictures published by the British newspaper the Telegraph about Egyptian prisons being in terrible conditions. He told Al-Hadath satellite channel on Tuesday that some of the pictures showed ropes inside the cells. “Ropes are forbidden because they could be used for escaping,” he said. “So is the pincer that appeared in the pictures.” Abu Bakr assures that the conditions in prisons are better than in the video. “Prisons were improved 15 years ago,” he said, adding that the ministry will be publishing “real” pictures and videos of prisons soon.”

Mansour calls urgent meeting to discuss presidential election law with top political figures in Egypt

Ahram: Egypt’s President Mansour calls for meeting over new elections law

In this article: “Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has called for an urgent meeting on Wednesday with top political figures to reach a consensus on a newly issued law governing the country’s upcoming presidential elections.

The 60-article law, issued by Mansour on Saturday, has drawn criticism from several political forces, most notably for an article rejecting appeals of the election’s results, which some have labeled as “unconstitutional.”

The meeting on Wednesday at Ittihadiya presidential palace will try to reach an agreement on the law’s most contentious issues, said Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, head of the liberal Reform and Development Party (RDP), who will be attending the talks with Mansour.”

Muslim Brotherhood members back in court for charges relating to July 15 protest

Daily News Egypt: Badie, other Brotherhood leaders back in court

In this article: “Leading Muslim Brotherhood members including Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, Mohammed El-Beltagy, and Essam Al-Erian and 12 others appeared in court on Wednesday facing a litany of charges, including incitement of murder.

The defendants are standing trial for charges relating to a 15 July protest at Al-Bahr Al-Azza Street in Giza, west of the Cairo neighbourhood of Manial, which left five dead and 100 injured. Aside from incitement to commit murder, additional accusations include terrorism, resisting authorities, and creating a military group which they supported monetarily and with firearms.”

Gender & Sexuality

Group sexual harassment in Egypt more prevalent in the growing violence against women

Medium: The Hell They Live In The Phenomenon of Group Sexual Harassment

In this article: “Sexual harassment is a phenomenon that has been spreading like cancer throughout Egypt for the past three decades, but even more dangerously is the new phenomenon of group sexual harassment. According to Dr. Magda Adly, the director El-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence this new phenomenon was first observed in 2005 during a protest by Kefaya and other opposition movements against the then in effect Egyptian constitution. As riot police surrounded the demonstrators, buses -with the NDP signs on them- full of hired thugs arrived and then they started sexually assaulting the women in the demonstration, verbally and physically. Since then the occurrences of such events skyrocketed. It became the norm for girls and women of all ages to be sexually harassed by groups on the streets, in metro stations and public parks, especially on national or religious holidays.”

Security Sector

Libya-Egypt border issues unresolved as Libyan PM ousted from his post yesterday

Al Monitor: Egypt, Libya at odds over border control

In this article: “Terror attacks in Egypt have shone a spotlight on the Egyptian-Libyan border, a top priority in recent discussions between the two states. The discussions have broached potential cooperation to prevent the infiltration of Libyan jihadists and arms smuggling to Egypt. An Egyptian diplomatic source asserted in an interview with Al-Monitor that the talks between Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who was ousted from his post today, and Egyptian officials during Zeidan’s Jan. 31 visit to Cairo focused on the border issue and extraditing members of deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. The source added that Zeidan requested direct support and prompt cooperation from Egypt to resolve these issues.

“We did not obtain any guarantees or commitments from Zeidan to enforce Libyan control on the borders. But we understand the weight of the security challenges faced by the Libyan government, and the consequences of any step to be taken by Egypt must be tackled in light of the continued threat against the Egyptian community in Libya,” said the source, who attended Zeidan’s meetings in Cairo.”

Marginalized Groups

Prominent Egyptian-Jewish community leader, Nadia Haroun, dies

Al Jazeera: Egypt’s Jewish community buries deputy leader

Ahram: Egypt bids farewell to Jewish community figure Nadia Haroun

JTA: Nadia Haroun, deputy head of Egypt’s dwindling Jewish community, dies  

In this article: “Over the past 90 years, the population of Jewish Egyptians has fallen from 80,000 to less than 40. Today, just 11 Egyptian Jews remain in Cairo.

Now, with the sudden death of deputy community head Nadia Haroun, Cairo’s dwindling Jewish population faces a daunting struggle to survive. Nadia Haroun was the youngest of the remaining community members. A lawyer and architect, she passed away suddenly from a heart attack at age 59. She and her sister Magda Haroun, the president of Cairo’s Jewish community, worked together to manage the affairs of the dwindling group. At her service, family members described her as a voice for the Jews.

“We are all in shock right now,” said Nevine Amin, a close friend of the Haroun sisters.

The remaining 11 members of the community are all women, and the youngest is now in her 60s. Many of the group have converted over time due to marriage restrictions. A Jewish man cannot marry a Muslim woman, but a Muslim man may marry a Jewish woman, so the community has lost many male members who are no longer Jewish on official documents.”

Ministry of Religious Endowments to take control of all independent mosques within the month

News24: Egypt moves to take control of mosques

In this article: “Egyptian authorities decided on Tuesday to take control of independent mosques, state news agency MENA reported, in a move aimed at curbing Islamist dissent.

The measure aims to further tighten the state’s grip on all mosques in the country, deeply polarised since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar tasked his office with bringing all independent mosques under the ministry’s control within a month, MENA said.

Egypt has around 130 000 mosques, of which 10 000 are not under the government supervision, ministry official Sabry Ebada told AFP last month.”

Rights & Freedoms

US expresses concern over reports that political detainees have been mistreated in Egyptian prisons

Ahram: No justification for Egypt’s detainees’ mistreatment, if true: US State Department

In this article: “The US is “deeply concerned” about reports that detained Egyptian political activists have been abused and beaten by Egypt’s security forces, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

Activists Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel claimed during their trial on Monday that they had been beaten by security forces while being transferred from Tora Prison in southern Cairo to the courthouse a few kilometres away.

“If true, there is no justification for such treatment,” Psaki declared during the State Department’s regular Tuesday press briefing.

The defendants, who are charged with defying a newly implemented protest law as well as assaulting police officers, asked the court to document their assault, while their lawyers walked out of the session in protest against their mistreatment.

The court has ordered the prosecution to investigate the alleged assault.

“We look to the Egyptian government to ensure the safety of all those arrested or detained … and [ensure they] are afforded due process and fair and transparent trials,” Psaki added.”


Telecom Egypt is expected to receive mobile license this spring

Reuters: Telecom Egypt expects mobile licence in March or April

Daily News Egypt: Telecom Egypt expects mobile licence in March or April

In this article: “Egypt’s landline monopoly Telecom Egypt said it expects a newly formed government to grant it a licence to provide mobile services this month or the next, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Mohamed el-Nawawy expects the licence to be issued in March or April, he told Reuters after the company announced 2013 results.”

Foreign Relations

Amy Hawthorne writes: The UNHRC rebuke on human rights in Egypt is “gently phrased” considering how bad the human rights situation is

Atlantic Council: Tip-toeing Toward Criticism: 27 Countries Rebuke Egypt at UN Human Rights Council

In this article: “In a setback to Egypt’s efforts to convince the international community that it is moving toward democracy, twenty-seven countries delivered an unprecedented joint statement on Egypt at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on March 7.  This is the first time that so many countries—the United States, the European Union “big three” member states of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, twenty-one other European nations, Japan, and Turkey—banded together to criticize Egypt in a HRC debate.

Considering how bad the human rights situation in Egypt has become, the rebuke is gently phrased indeed.  Like many such statements made in the HRC, it has no binding authority.  But when viewed in the context of the struggle over Egypt’s global reputation, and on the eve of Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s anticipated presidential run, the statement stands out as a high-profile, multilateral registering of concern about Egypt’s political trajectory.

The statement touches on many of the major human rights problems in Egypt today.  As would be expected in a consensus document forged by many governments with various economic and security interests in Egypt, however, it does so in a relatively mild and indirect manner.”