Egypt Media Roundup – May 15, 2014

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Legal & Political Institutions

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s campaign takes extra precaution in ensuring Sisi’s safety. In the past few weeks of his official campaign period, Sisi has not had any public appearances or given live interviews, journalists have limited access to him, and Sisi has even declined to present his electoral program publicly arguing that it is too complicated for the public and may incite unnecessary debate. [Mada MasrRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Vice News examines feedback from civil society in Egypt after the approval of the new law on sexual harassment. Although a law is a step in the right direction, many concluded, society needs to undergo substantive change as well. [VICE] Read More..

Rights & Freedoms

The trial of Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Beher Mohammed resumed today. A new defendant joined the proceedings today, Khaled Abdel Rahman, who was allegedly arrested a “short time ago.” Three lawyers representing the journalists resigned from the case, citing that the Al Jazeera network has been using the arrests and trials to tarnish Egypt’s image. The lawyers quit after the prosecutors demanded that the journalists pay LE1.2million for copies of the evidence against them. [AP, Ahram] Read More..


Egypt’s finance minister said that Egypt will speed up its structural reform agenda by cutting energy subsidies, “regardless of whether it strikes a deal on IMF financial aid.” The minister said, “We need to get the wheel moving again and this will requires us to reestablish confidence in the Egyptian economy, primarily through comprehensive structural reform measures” [Daily SabahRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

The UAE finance minister said that the country had no immediate plans to release any more financial aid to Egypt. He told reporters that the UAE is in talks about support for Egypt, but they did not have plans “for now” for additional financial aid. [Ahram, ReutersRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

 Sisi gives his first interview with foreign media–discusses US-Egypt relations, mass death sentences, religion, and the Muslim Brotherhood 

Reuters: Text of Sisi interview with Reuters

In this article: Reuters held Sisi’s first foreign media interview since his candidacy. Sisi spoke on how Egypt will need at least two years to reach a point of stability, and how he anticipates 100% voter turnout. He described Egypt’s relationship with the US as “strategic, stable, and steady” and, referring to the US freezing military aid to Egypt, he described the military’s role in intervening in Egypt: he said, “The army could not have abandoned its people or there would have been a civil war and we don’t know where that would have taken us. We understand the American position. We hope that they understand ours.” And on the mass death sentences Sisi said, “ I know the Western culture and I know the humanitarian logic you have and I understand it. First of all I am an Egyptian citizen now and I am not an Egyptian official and I hope that you accept this as I say it and trust me. Secondly, I am not going to talk about this case in particular but I want to say that we are founding a state based on the rule of law. We respect the judiciary and its independence and we do not interfere in it. This is very important … and that is something I appreciate and understand, but also I hoped that we were concerned about the number of victims from the other side.”

 Egyptian expat voting begins, with reports of high turnout in Australia and the Gulf while pro-Muslim Brotherhood group calls for boycott of the “presidency of bloodshed” 

Ahram: Egyptian expats begin voting as Islamists call for boycott

Ahram: Pro-Morsi coalition urges Egyptian expats to snub presidential vote

Egyptian Streets: In Photos: Egyptians across the world choose Egypt’s next president

In this article: Voting for Egyptian expatriates started on May 15, with initial polling results indicating a high turnout of voters. “The foreign ministry has said initial indicators from Australia and the Gulf states show a high turnout of voters in Egypt’s presidential election, with long queues at polling stations.” At the same time, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has called for boycotts against the presidential election. In a statement released on Thursday under the slogan “Boycott the presidency of bloodshed,” the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) said the protests are a continuation of revolutionary momentum against the transitional roadmap.

 April 6 Youth Movement to boycott elections calling the elections a “legal procedure to enthrone Abdel Fattah al Sisi” 

Al Arabiya: Egypt’s key anti-Mubarak group to boycott presidential poll

PressTV: Egypt’s April 6 boycotts planned presidential election

LATimes: Banned Egyptian youth movement will boycott this month’s election

In this article: The April 6 Youth movement, which was recently banned by an Egyptian court for illegal protesting, has declared that it will be boycotting this month’s presidential elections, saying that the vote will only “enthrone” Sisi into his seat as military president. April 6 “does not recognize the electoral process”, the group’s chief Amr Ali said in a press conference. The elections “are only legal procedures to enthrone Abdel Fattah al-Sisi”, Ali told AFP, urging April 6 supporters not to vote and to refuse to recognize the electoral process.

 79 pro-Morsi demonstrators sentenced to 5-10 years for involvement in demonstrations and riots last July 

Al Bawaba: 79 Morsi supporters sentenced to lengthy jail time

In this article: An Alexandria court sentenced 79 Morist supporters to prison terms of 5-10years for clashing with opponents and participating in clashes that resulted in the deaths of 12 people last July. 11 were sentenced to 10 years, 13 were sentenced to 7 years, 55 were sentenced to 5 years and 7 were acquitted. The defendants were also accused of murder, attempted murder, carrying weapons, and torture. 

Rights & Freedoms

 Human Rights Watch calls for the immediate release of Abdullah Elshamy and all imprisoned journalists 

HRW: Egypt: Free Illegally Jailed Journalist

In this article: Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate release of Al Jazeera correspondent Abdullah Elshamy, who has been imprisoned for more than 9 months and on hunger strike for over 100 days. “Practicing journalism is not a crime,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Egypt’s disregard for basic rights like free expression is nothing less than shocking.” HRW explains how the unlawful detention of Elshamy and other journalists violates Egypt’s own constitution and international statute. The continued detention of Al Jazeera’s journalists underscores the urgency of reforming Egypt’s laws governing the media, Human Rights Watch said.

 Five arrested for vandalising Rabaa Al-Adawiya memorial 

Ahram: Five Egyptians arrested for vandalising army-built memorial in Rabaa

In this article: Five people were arrested by Egyptian authorities for vandalising a memorial erected at the site of Rabaa Al-Adawiya, where thousands of pro-Morsi supporters were forcibly dispersed by security forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The five were arrested, while the memorial remains “perfectly intact” according to a security source.


 Tourism in Egypt could improve following presidential elections 

LA Times: Egypt: Tourism languishes amid fears of unrest, instability

In this article: Egypt’s tourism industry has taken many substantial hits in the past three years, particularly this year, with recent figures indicating a 30% drop in tourism. The Tourism ministry’s financial advisor, however, predicts that the outlook will improve in the wake of presidential elections–if Sisi wins, it may boost tourism because of his campaign priorities of security and stability.

Foreign Relations

 UK Foreign secretary expresses concern over “closure of political space” in Egypt during FM Fahmy’s visit 

Ahram: UK concerned about “closure of political space” in Egypt

In this article: In a meeting with the UK foreign secretary, Egypt’s Foreign minister discussed the political situation in Egypt. William Hague expressed concern over the narrow public space in Egypt, saying, “I raised my concern with minister Fahmy about the general closure of political space in Egypt in recent months.” Fahmy’s talks with this UK counterpart concentrated on the bilateral Egypt-UK relationship, foreign policy and security issues, and Egypt’s transition process.