Legal & Political Institutions
The Ministry of Interior was ordered to pay 403,000LE to political prisoners tortured under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The payout has been ordered by an Egyptian court which sided with the Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO) in its lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior. The ministry had initially refused to heed a court order regarding 16 previous complaints from APRO, prompting APRO to file an alternative suit against the ministry for failure to comply with a court order. Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday August 21st that “the ministry had already issued checks to pay the damages and settle the latest lawsuit.” [Mada Masr]
Adelaide Bryn questions, in her piece for Muftah, the extent to which President Abdel Fattal Al-Sisi will “confront the military’s economic power” given his call for economic austerity measures to combat Egypt’s economic woes. Byrn’s research finds that Sisi faces one of two choices in addressing the Egyptian army: accommodate the present state which the army continues to operate in as an economic power and risk a “substantial portion of the nation’s economy,” or subject the armed forces’ economic holdings to “governmental oversight, regulations, and reforms.” [Muftah]
Rights & Freedoms
Detainees in Abu Zaabal Prison in Qalyubiya released a statement Thursday, August 21, “denouncing inhumane living conditions” and demanding the release of fellow detainee Ahmed Saad from solitary confinement. The detainees who refer to themselves as the “Zaabal Uprising,” detail the extremely poor conditions which Saad is kept under and the lack of adequate sanitary conditions afforded to him. The group is calling for a protest. It remains unclear what chargers Saad is detained under, he has been in solitary confinement for two months. [Mada Masr] Read More…
In an exclusive report, Reuters sheds light on the rampant militant smuggling operations in a Bedouin town near Egypt’s border with Gaza. Smugglers and tunnel owners who “publicly advertis[e] their services” have gained control over a stretch of two dozen single-story structures, which they board up to divert the attention of authorities. Reuters’ report finds that while tunnels used by Hamas to attack Israel were priority targets for Israel’s offensive in Palestine, tunnels used as smuggling conduits to Egypt have avoided detection. [Reuters] Read More…
Palestinian President Mahmound Abbas is set to meet President Sisi on Saturday to discuss the latest “developments in Cairo’s endeavours” to broker a ceasefire between Palestinian-Israel over the offensive in Gaza. Additionally, the two presidents will discuss the planned conference to restore the Gaza strip expected to take place by September. [Ahram Online]
Rights & Freedoms
HRW to clarify witness testimony
Embassy of Egypt USA: Human Rights Report on Egypt is Misleading
In these articles: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a statement clarifying an account of a witness over a shooting of a police officer in Rab’a Square on August 14, 2013. HRW notes that the witness Maged Atef who stated witnessing the shooting at 2:10pm to HRW, was also quoted in an interview with the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) as witnessing the same shooting at 11am. This discrepancy in Atef’s testimony and lack of additional evidence which HRW cites in its recent report, is being amended to be stated more clearly. In a statement on Friday, August 22, the NCHR described HRW’s report as having “clear errors and baseless conclusions.” Earlier this week the Egyptian embassy in Washington, DC, stated that HRW’s report is “misleading” and defective on several levels.
Draft Law threatens Artistic Freedom of Expression in Egypt
Index on Censorship: Egypt’s nascent street art movement under pressure
In this article: Facing censorship under Mubarak’s regime, Egyptian artists were “confined” to their studios, not displaying their work in public till the lead-up to the 2011 uprising. But today the Egypt’s street art movement faces attacks by “patriotic” mobs, and legal reprimand under a proposed draft law banning so-called “abusive graffiti art.” If this law is passed, Egypt faces restrictive measures governing artistic expression, and violators would face prison sentences and fines of up to 100,000LE. Despite the risk, Egyptian artists remain defiant, unwilling to confine their art to their studios once more.
Dunne, Williamson: counterterrorism and human rights abuses go hand-in-hand
Carnegie Endowment: Egypt, Counterterrorism, and Politics of Alienation
In this article: Michele Dunne and Scott Williamson write that despite U.S. officials treating counterterrorism and human rights abuses as “unrelated subjects,” closer analysis finds that they are indeed aligned. This is due to the fact that “widespread human rights abuses threaten to push alienated Egyptians into the arms of extremist groups,” contributing to a “broader swath of society unwilling to help the army or police defeat them.” Dunne and Williamson list the Egyptian state’s campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, the “absence of accountability” in the abuses carried out by security forces, alienating political dissidents, and “mishandling the Sinai” as contributing to the radicalization of the population.
3 masked gunmen attack police station, flee without causing injury in Fayoum
In this article: Security forces succeeded in repelling to an attack by three masked gunmen on a police station in Fayoum.
Foreign Ministry coordinating government contributions to UN missions
In this article: Amb. Hicham Badr, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Organizations, said that Egypt was exploring the possibility of expanding its contributions to United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa. The interior ministry and defense ministry are contributing to internal discussions about sending police and military police to Mali, Darfur, and the Central African Republic under the aegis of the UN.
Egypt’s Homeland Security arrests four accused members of the Islamic State
In this article: Egypt’s Homeland Security Department claimed to have arrested four members of the Islamic State. Officials claim that a student who inadvertently set off a bomb in his house last week led them to discover this cell, and that the four members coordinate with Sinai-based terror grouup Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in addition to the Islamic State. According to the government, the men were arrested in possession of explosives, and planned to use them to attack police stations and electricity pylons.
Border Guard announces arrests, seizures
In this article: Troops from Egypt’s Border Guard have arrested 12 Palestinians, destroyed three tunnels, and confiscated three boats used to smuggle diesel in the past three days.