Legal & Political Institutions
Hamdeen Sabahi, Egyptian leftist presidential hopeful, spoke out against what he is calling “blatant” backing for Sisi in the Egyptian media. He claims, “the media are promoting an image that all Egyptians will undoubtedly vote for Sisi, and this is against the reality of Egyptians who have deposed two regimes.” [LATimes, Bloomberg] Read More..
US Secretary of Defense Hagel has spoken with the newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Defense Sobhy for the first time. “Secretary Hagel congratulated Gen.Sobhy on his promotion and expressed his desire to maintain close contact as the general settles into his duties. During the 20 minute call, Secretary Hagel and Gen. Sobhy discussed a range of regional security issues, to include the ongoing threat of terrorist networks, as well as the importance of free and fair elections for Egypt’s political transition.” [Ahram, KUNA, Defense.gov] Read More..
Gender & Sexuality
Two male political activists, coming from different backgrounds, claim that they were raped and sexually assaulted by police while in custody. The men claim that the police’ abuse of power and the lack of separation between the judicial system and police force is the worst case scenario for imprisoned political dissidents. [The Guardian] Read More..
Egypt has made plans to increase electricity prices for the wealthiest 20 percent of its citizens before the presidential elections next month. The minister of planning said the decision to raise gasoline prices will be made “very soon” without providing further details. [Reuters, Ahram] Read More..
Thousands of workers, across the postal service, textile industry, and even healthcare sector, have been on strike for months from Cairo to Suez. The recent strikes are setting the stage for “possible confrontation between the impoverished laborers and a new president after elections this spring.” [Washington Post] Read More..
The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters has ruled that Ansar Beit Al Maqdis is a terrorist organization. Egypt is the third country to rule ABM as official terrorists, after the US and the UK. [Daily News Egypt, Mada Masr] Read More..
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Legal & Political Institutions
Egypt rejects Amnesty International’s criticism of its new ‘broad approach’ to anti-terrorism
Middle East Monitor: Amnesty: Egypt to sign controversial anti-terrorism laws
In this article: The Egyptian government has rejected Amnesty International’s condemnation of Egypt’s two new draft anti-terrorism laws. The law, which designate acts of terror to include “damaging national unity, natural resources, and monuments” or “hindering the work of Egyptian judicial bodies or diplomats…damager to Egypt’s communication systems or the economy…” Amnesty claims that the broad approach to acts of terror may be used to stifle freedom of expression and muzzle dissent. They say, “these deeply flawed draft laws can be abused because they include an increasingly broad and vague definition of terrorism.”
220 protesters arrested on Jan 25, 2014 referred to mass trial on multiple charges
Huffington Post: Another 220 Egyptian Protesters To Face Mass Trial
In this article: Another 220 protesters have been referred to a public prosecutor for a mass trial in Egypt. The protesters, who were arrested on January 25, 2014, are being charged with attempted murder, firearm possession, damaging public and private property, blocking the road, making gasoline bombs, and disturbing the public order in Cairo.
Islamic leader Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail handed additional sentence for contempt of court
PressTV: Egypt court jails Islamic leader
In this article: Islamic leader Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail has been sentenced to one year in prison for contempt of court. Abu-Ismail was taken back to prison during his hearing for disrupting the hearing, and shortly after, the judge announced the jail sentence. This is the second ruling as such that Abu-Ismail has been given this year, in January he was sentenced after insulting the judges during a fraud trial.
Sisi gains 200,000 signatures–becomes first official presidential candidate with all paperwork submitted to PEC
Nahar Net: Egypt’s Sisi Submits Bid for President
Aswat Masriya: Sisi says pre-uprising authoritarian regime not to return
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has officially submitted his candidacy to the Presidential Election Commission after gaining 200,000 signatures of endorsement [175,000 more than the required 25,000]. Sisi’s submission makes him the first potential candidate to complete all required paperwork for electoral eligibility. In a statement issued on Sunday, Sisi noted that “Egypt will not march backwards” and that “no one can control the fate of the Egyptian people…against their will.”
Gender & Sexuality
Bothaina Kamel announces presidential bid–will seek 25,000 signatures before deadline
In this article: Former TV broadcaster and well-known feminist, Bothaina Kamel, has announced that she intends to run for president. Having completed the required medical check-up, Kamel needs to secure 25,000 signatures of endorsement from registered voters all over Egypt. Kamel was the only woman to apply for candidacy in the 2012 elections, and as of now, is the only female potential candidate in the 2014 elections. Kamel gained recognition for “standing up to pro-Mubarak figures in the government-owned Radio and Television Union.”
Cairo school girls give their opinion on street harassment in Egypt
Dignity Without Borders: [VIDEO] School girls’ opinion about sexual harassment in Egyptian streets
In this article: The second video in Dignity Without Borders’ series on schoolchildren’s opinions on sexual harassment, this video focuses on young girls at a public school in Cairo speaking their minds about sexual harassment in Egypt. Most of the girls are in agreement that men who harass are bad and that it is not proper. The girls also agreed that the best way to deal with harassment is to ignore it or walk away–and many noted that wearing tight or revealing clothing provokes harassment.
Syrian rebel fighter arrested in Egypt on suspicions of working with Islamist militant groups
In this article: A Syrian civil war veteran has been arrested in Egypt on suspicion of planning acts of terror inside of Egypt. The Suez City prosecutor ordered the arrest of Wael Ahmed Abdel Fattah for being suspected of working with Islamist militant groups in Egypt. Abdel Fattah is known for having fought with the Nusra Front, the most prominent rebel group in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
HA Hellyer asks–”is Egypt’s ‘War on Terror’ decreasing the security threat? Or does it risk exacerbating it further?”
Al Arabiya: Egypt’s ‘War on Terror’ does more harm than good
In this article: HA Hellyer asks–”is Egypt’s ‘War on Terror’ decreasing the security threat? Or does it risk exacerbating it further?” Hellyer goes on to explain that the Egyptian government is using existing Western biases and/or stereotypes [and/or ignorance] against the Middle East to convince their Western counterparts that the ‘War on Terror’ is necessary. However, this strategy is counterproductive because Western governments will not designate groups as terrorist organizations without substantial proof [aka the Muslim Brotherhood]. The main terror threat in Egypt comes from groups like Ansar Beit al Maqdis, who provide no room for negotiation. Hellyer’s main concern lies in, “the ‘War on Terror’ strategy, where civil liberties and human rights are given a second or third priority to security concerns has never been implemented without risks and consequences.”
Egyptian doctors plan ‘administrative strike’ starting tomorrow
In this article: Public hospital doctors nationwide have planned an ‘administrative’ strike starting tomorrow to “bring pressure to bear on the authorities and reiterate demands for healthcare reforms and better pay.” The strike applies to all Egyptian doctors according to a protocol issued by the high Committee of the Doctors Strike. This administrative strike comes during the partial strike that has been ongoing since the beginning of the year, and the open-ended one since March 8.
Rights & Freedoms
1 student killed and 2 reporters injured in Cairo University clashes
Aswat Masriya: Youm 7 says editor wounded in Cairo University clashes
In this article: Clashes at Cairo University between security officials and pro-Morsi students have led to the death of one student and two injured reporters. Live ammunition was being fired, but it is unclear which side it was coming from. The student killed, Mohamed Adel, was transferred from campus to hospital, while the injured reporters, Amr Abdel-Fattah of Sada El balad, and Khaled Hussein of Youm7, were also sent to the hospital for treatment. The pro-Morsi students gathered outside of the university to protest against the military and police and were dispersed by security officials using tear gas.
Egypt-US meet to discuss boosting trade and investment
In this article: The Egyptian minister of industry, foreign trade and investment plans to “open a new page” of economic relations with the United States. The statement was made during a meeting between the minister and the US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East, where they discussed methods for furthering cooperation between the two countries. Economic relations between Egypt and the US suffered a hit after the ouster of Morsi in 2013, particularly when the Obama administration announced review of the $1.5billion annual aid package that Egypt receives. Concerning this meeting, Egypt and the US discussed increasing trade and investment cooperation, particularly in small and medium enterprises, communication, technology, and agriculture.
Bread subsidy ‘Smart Card’ system to be operationalized nationwide by July
Middle East Monitor: Egypt minister proposes five loaves of bread per day for every citizen
The Africa Report: Egypt to introduce smart card for subsidised bread
In this article: By July, the proposed ‘smart-card’ system for subsidised bread will be operationalized nationwide in Egypt. Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi, announced that “the new system will…save the subsidies allocated for bread, which cost LE22billion per year, from being wasted and leaked.” The smart-card system is meant to curb corruption and smuggling, and the pilot launch of the system was implemented in Suez Canal City this week, with other cities joining in the coming weeks.
Summer blackouts in Egypt inevitable, according to minister of electricity
Daily News Egypt: Preventing summer blackouts in Egypt is ‘impossible’: Minister
In this article: The minister of electricity has stated that there is no way for the government to prevent power outages this summer. The minister said, “eliminating blackouts and reducing loads this summer is impossible,” but the government will try to “reduce to the lowest level possible.” The minister also acknowledged that this issue will take a few years to resolve. These statements come during a highly publicized energy crisis in Egypt, while Egypt has failed to produce a sound strategy to tap major natural gas reserves. Increased energy problems with no sign of a solution could lead to a summer of unrest, as Egypt witnessed last summer.
Egypt to restrict production and import of ‘too-cold’ air conditioners to ease energy shortage
In this article: Egypt will be enforcing a ban on production and import of air conditioners that are able to be set below 20 degrees celsius. This move is to “reassure citizens and industry hit with power cuts and fuel shortages.” The restrictions on air conditioners are part of a government plan to reduce energy use in the lead up to a major energy crisis this summer. In short supply of natural gas, the government has predicted that “production will fail to meet surging domestic demand in the next fiscal year” which begins in July.
Muslim Brotherhood refutes allegations that the organization was moving from UK to Austria
Austrian Times: Muslim Brotherhood leader denies move to Graz
In this article: A Daily Mail article reported that the Muslim Brotherhood is moving their headquarters to Austria after the UK launched an investigation into their activities. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, has since denied reports of their move, claiming the rumors are untrue. secretary general of the MB said, “I cannot imgine or accept to leave Britain for any other country. We do not need to leave Britain because we have not committed a crime or violated the law.”
Egypt-EU sign agreement for EU to operate full Election Observation Mission
Daily News Egypt: Egypt and EU sign agreement for EU Election Observer Mission
In this article: Egypt and the European Union have signed official Memoranda of Understanding to allow the EU to operate a full Election Observation Mission during Egypt’s presidential elections next month. The agreement comes after Catherine Ashton’s visit to Egypt and her general praise for Sisi’s candidacy. The Memorandum of Understanding, per the UN, “is an international instrument of a less formal kind” and is not legally binding.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]