Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 11, 2014

08/11/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, was dissolved by an Egyptian court on Saturday. This ruling will prevent the political party from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Also, the ruling “excludes the Brotherhood from formal participation in electoral politics,” which is likely to force the movement underground. According to the court’s ruling, the Freedom and Justice Party will be dissolved and its “assets seized by the state.” The FJP’s lawyer stated that the court’s ruling was political and that depriving the defense a right to appeal is “unconstitutional.” The lawyer also suggested that this ruling will allow other Egyptian political parties to be dissolved in the future. [BBC, Reuters, The Guardian, Daily News EgyptRead More…

Economy

Reuters reported that according to the Egyptian central bank, Egypt’s annual core inflation level increased from 8.76% in June to 9.35% in July. The official statistics agency CAMPAS stated that the yearly “urban consumer inflation” grew from 8.2% in June to 10.6% in July. Egyptian annual inflation was highest in November 2013, although it has since fallen considerably. Economic analysts previously assumed that the inflation rate would rise dramatically in July due to the recently increased fuel prices. [Reuters Africa, Al ShoroukRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

For the first time since the deposing of former President Hosni Mubarak, Human Rights Watch representatives were barred on August 10, 2014 at Cairo International Airport from entering the country. Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson were expect to deliver a 188-page report on the violent dispersal of Raba’a al Adaweya sit-in last August 2013, following the ousting of former President Muhamed Morsi. The report includes interviews with over 200 witnesses, physical evidence, and statements by public officials. The report titled “All According to Plan: The Raba’a Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt” and will be released as scheduled on August 12, 2014.  [Human Rights Watch, Reuters, NYTimes, Yahoo news] Read More…

Security Sector

The Egyptian military reported to arabic website Al-Ahram on Saturday that it had killed 60 militants in the past 12 days in the Sinai Peninsula. It also reported the arrest of 102 militants allegedly responsible for recent attacks, captured three cars that were transporting 650kg of cannabis, and confiscated a number of weapons discovered in underground tunnels at the Rafah border crossing. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Foreign Relations

An Egyptian proposal for a new 72 hour ceasefire was accepted by Israel and Hamas on Sunday. The ceasefire went into effect at midnight local time, with the intention that this ceasefire would “allow talks on a more comprehensive agreement” in Cairo. A Hamas negotiator told The Guardian that negotiations would resume on Monday at 10am. Adding that Egypt’s mediators had informed Hamas that “the Israelis will take the process seriously.” Gaza-based political analyst Mkhaimar Abusada warned that we can expect “a long war of attrition” if Egypt’s efforts to broker a lasting ceasefire fails. [Mada Masr, The GuardianRead More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 Assistant to former Interior Minister denies being ordered to kill protesters 

Mada Masr: Former Interior Minister’s assistant denies receiving orders to kill protesters

In this article: During his hearing, Adly Mostafa Fayed stated that the former Minister of Interior did not give him orders to shoot protesters. Fayed, the assistant to former Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly, is being retried by Egyptian prosecutors along with Adly and five of his other assistants. Fayed testified about the January 25 revolution, stating that “accusations against police for opening prisons in Fayoum and Abu Zaabal to release thugs on protesters are illogical.” He argued that if the prosecutor proved that he had ordered the release of criminals on the protesters, he would “request to be transferred to a mental hospital.” Fayed also blamed Al Jazeera’s television channel for the violence of the January 25 protests. Fayed refuted all claims of his involvement in the violence and deaths on January 25. Fayed ended his testimony by stating his willingness to “confront any officer or assistant to the Minister of Interior who accuses him of issuing orders to kill protesters or of using violence against them.”

 Beltagy and Hegazy cases adjourned for August 11 and September 13 

Cairo post: Sunday mass trials adjourned

In this article: The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed el-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy to August 11, 2014, in order to review witness testimonies and video evidence. Both el-Beltagy and Hegazy  are accused of kidnapping and torturing two police officers on duty at the Raba’a al Adaweya sit-in in August 2013. In addition, a separate case also involving el-Beltagy and Hegazy was adjourned to September 13, 2014 for the alleged capturing, torturing and sexual assault of a lawyer during the January 25 Revolution by the Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The court is waiting to hear the prosecution witnesses for said case.

 280 referred to criminal court for “violence and incitement” 

Daily News Egypt: 280 referred to criminal court for ‘violence, joining terrorist organization,’ other charges

In this article: 12 students were amongst the 280 referred to criminal court in South Sharqeya for seven separate cases related to demonstrations which took place in Zagazig, Zagazig University and 10th of Ramadan City. The defendants face charges of violating the Protest Law, being involved with terrorist organizations, holding information designed to taint the military’s reputation, and inciting violence in various acts, including fireworks and the burning of a police car dur.

 Law to protect water and electricity facilities will criminalize attacks 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt drafting law to protect facilities, criminalises attacks on water and electricity: PM

In this article: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb announced the government’s intention to draft a new law to help protect electricity and water facilities from attacks. Mehleb stated that the law will “reduce repeated attacks on water and power stations” in order to “secure citizens’ access to basic necessities.” Mehleb also discussed the intended completion of the Toshka development project, sewage issues in the Al Salam canal, as well as developing an inventory of the capacity of each groundwater well in Egypt.

Rights & Freedoms

 Egypt’s secret military prisons are places of torture, human rights abuses 

USA Today: Egypt operates secret prisons for suspected militants

In this article: Sarah Lynch reports on the forced disappearances to a military prison in Egypt, discussing black prison sites and the use of torture against state political opponents. Lynch primarily references the experiences of a young Egyptian doctor, who was reportedly kidnapped by security forces. According to his statement, he was held for 26 days in a military prison, where he was interrogated and tortured. According to Lynch, detainees are tortured to extract information about “militant activity and government opponents,” leading to many “forced confessions.” Lynch reports that most of those detained in military prisons are civilians from the Sinai Peninsula. Additionally, Lynch expands that the conditions in these prisons are horrendous, with “overcrowded cells, no electricity, poor ventilation, modest meals and access to bathrooms only once daily.” Detainees at Al Azouly are also not permitted to see their family or to have access to lawyers. The director of the Criminal Justice Unit at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights called the current use of black prison sites and torture in Egypt “a throwback to the worst practices of the Mubarak era.”

 Egypt security forces seize and burn literature promoting Muslim Brotherhood ideals 

Reuters Africa: Egypt burns books it says promote violence, Brotherhood ideas

In this article: A security official in the Red Sea province, Samia Mehrez, told Reuters that local authorities have seized literature promoting Muslim Brotherhood ideals and burned several books. According to Mehrez, the Muslim Brotherhood donated 36 books to the public library in Hurghada during the presidency of Muhammad Morsi, some of the books burned covered topics on bomb making or books which “compared Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna to the Prophet Muhammad and praised Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.”

Economy

 OPEC loan intended to upgrade Assuit power station, provide more energy 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt concludes foreign fundraising for Assuit power stations with $55m OPEC loan

In this article: Naglaa Al-Ahwani, the Minister of International Cooperation signed an Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries loan agreement on Friday. The $55 million loan agreement is intended to upgrade the Assuit power plant, concluding collecting “the needed financial foreign aid” for the project which amounted to $450 million overall. The OPEC loan will finance twenty projects in the health and irrigation, energy, education, and electricity sectors. The upgrades are expected to increase production from the Assuit station to 650 MW, as a part of the government plan to provide greater energy demand in Egypt.

Security Sector

 Sisi meets with journalists and television hosts to discuss national security, media 

Ahram Online: El-Sisi: Army did not participate in operations beyond Egypt’s borders

Mada Masr: Sis asks media to focus on dangers to national security

In these articles: In a meeting with Egyptian journalists and television hosts on Saturday, Egyptian President Sisi stated that the “Egyptian army has not participated in any strikes or operations beyond Egypt’s borders.” The President also denied reports by foreign media outlets regarding Egyptian military units being stationed in Saudi Arabia or Libya. Sisi also criticized the leaked video last week exposing abuse at an orphanage stating that “it is not the right time to focus on the issue of abuse in orphanages,” adding that the reports of the abuse were inaccurate. According to the President, Egypt is currently “facing grave internal and external dangers,” because of which he asked domestic and foreign media outlets to “focus their coverage on accentuating this sense of danger.” During the meeting, Sisi also discussed relations with Ethiopia, the upcoming parliamentary elections, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Foreign Relations

 President Sisi and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met to discuss the prevention of extremism 

The Daily Star: Sisi, Abdullah seek unity against extremism

In this article: President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and King Abdullah met on Sunday, August 10, 2014 to discuss a variety of issues concerning Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the rest of the Arab world. Both leaders are opposed to the advancement of the Muslim Brotherhood and have expressed mutual concern about territorial progress made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in the territories of Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Sisi’s spokesman, Ehab Badawi, announced that the two leaders wish to rise against entities and ideas that threaten safety and security in the region and to promote “true and moderate values of Islam that reject extremism and terrorism.”