Egypt Media Roundup – Feb 13, 2014

02/13/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

When meeting with EU Special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrindis, Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat stated that “Egypt has no political detainees,” commenting that all those currently detained are arrested “pending court or prosecution orders or have received sentences from the respective courts.” The statement come amid reports of abuse against detainees.Read More.. [SIS, Ahram]

Gender & Sexuality

Four Egyptian women speaking with BuzzFeed recount being subjected to virginity tests over the past four months while being held for periods of at least two weeks in police stations and prisons in Egypt. Following the ousting of Islamist president Morsi, Egyptian army officials “promised to ban the tests after it emerged that more than a dozen women arrested during the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square had been forced to submit to them.” [BuzzFeed]

Security Sector

Elizabeth Arrott writes, “[Ansar Beit al Maqdis] stepped up attacks after Morsi’s fall,”  and crack-downs on the Muslim Brotherhood, her piece suggests, “Egypt’s war on terror may be creating more violence.” Read More..[Voice of America] [Op-ed]

Rights & Freedoms

Activist and former member of the dissolved Revolutionary Youth Coalition released a testimony recounting incidents of abuse and torture. In his statement, El-Sayed writes, “they stripped us and splashed us with cold water and left us like that for hours. Mornings in Abu-Zaabal prison mean an inspection unit ties [our] hands behind our backs and beats us. Everyone is beaten every day.” El-Sayed’s account is one of many. And despite the accumulating accounts of abuse and torture while being detained, the Interior Ministry released a statement “denying all recent accusations of torture.” Adding that, “the ministry is ready to receive any complaint for inspection.” Read More..[Ahram]

Economy

According to the Finance Ministry, Egypt’s debt has reached a record high of “LE 1,865 billion at the end of December 2013.” The increase in the debt is being attributed to “rise in the net total of issued treasury notes” and to an “increase in the net total of issued bonds.” Read More..[Egypt Independent]

Foreign Relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin supports Sisi’s candidacy for president. The Russian President told the Field Marshall who is currently on a visit to Russia,  “ I know you have decided to run for president. This is a very responsible decision, to take upon yourself responsibility for the fate of the Egyptian People, I wish you luck on my own behalf and that of the Russian people.” Read More..[Reuters, Foreign Policy, BBC , Bloomberg News, Voice of Russia]

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Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s Media Advisor says, “terrorism” is the West’s pretext to invade

Egyptian Independent: Presidential media adviser: West wants to invade Egypt, will use terrorism as pretext 

Summary: The presidential media adviser Ahmed al-Meslimany claims that “Western powers are trying to use terrorism as a pretext for invading Arab and Islamic countries, inferring they will also invade Egypt if the country does not control terrorism within its borders.” Speaking in the presence of President Mansour and people of the city of Shalateen he media adviser stated that “fighting terrorism was a battle for the national independence, otherwise colonial powers would return to Egypt and rule.” He reaffirmed the state’s “keen[ess] on developing [the] area[s]” of Halayeb and Shalateen.

Sawiris to back Field Marshall El-Sisi in impending run

Ahram: Sawiris backs El-Sisi for Egypt’s presidency 

Summary: Egyptian businessman and founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, Naguib Sawiris “he is backing” with hopes “he will make up his mind on his candidacy soon.” In an interview with Al-Ahram’s Arabic newspaper Sawiris says that the “people considered El-Sisi as a saviour who rescued them from the [Muslim Brotherhood] tyranny.” Explaining that “most of the political forces agree on choose el-Sisi as president…to end the status of confusion, chaos and terrorism that disseminated nationwide.”

Presidential candidate Sabahi: “the children of the revolution are imprisoned”

Reuters: Egypt’s Sabahi calls for release of ‘prisoners of conscience’ 

Summary: Days following his announcement to run for the presidency, Egyptian politician Hamdeen Sabahi is calling for the release of “prisoners of conscience,” referring to the “young people involved in the 2011 uprising.” In a TV interview with a private channel Sabahi said, “I don’t accept either the existence of a prisoner because he has an opinion while not having any connection with terrorism or the existence of any kind of torture,” he added, “the children of the revolution are imprisoned and the corrupt of the Mubarak regime have reappeared and these two things create feelings of of fear.”

Four key reasons to Egypt’s receding democracy

The Christian Science Monitor: Democracy’s Dangerous decline in Egypt and Turkey [Op-ed] 

Summary: “The future of democracy in Egypt and Turkey is under threat,” writes authors P.Boduszynski and Fabbe. According to the authors, four things are attributing to the “threat” to democracy in these two nations. The first, the crackdown on journalists and media, second the “scapegoating [of] NGOs,” by the regime as a means to promote “nationalism” and anti-american sentiment. Thirdly, P.Boduszynski and Fabbe find the United State’s and other western nations “lack the power and will to influence events in a democratic direction,” threatening democracy within this nations. Lastly, the authors recommend that the US and other western nations look to Russia’s example in “speaking out against the erosion of liberty.”

265 Dead in the month of  January in Egypt

Daily News Egypt: 265 dead in January: Independent count 

Summary: According to Wiki Thawra, an independent statistical database, Egypt’s death toll for the month of January 2014 is 265, 108 of which were killed on the third anniversary of the revolution.

188 referred to court over killing of policemen, 45 remain at large

Ahram: Egypt refers 188 to court over Kerdasa police killings

Summary: 188 people were referred by Egypt’s top prosecutor to court over an attack on a police station last summer which left 14 policemen dead. 143 defendants are in custody while 45 remain on the run, the face charges of “terrorism, murder, damaging public property and possession of weapons.” The attackers, armed with firearms and RPGs struck a police station in Kerdasa located in western Giza following an attack by security forces which left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead in mid-August. The policemen are believed to have been tortured and mutilated, with the prosecutor stating that the attack was videotaped by the assailants, as well as weapons were seized.

Amr Moussa: “Convinced al-Sisi will run…only a matter of time”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt: Moussa says Sisi to announce presidential bid soon

Summary: Amr Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, “I met with Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday morning at the Defense Ministry headquarters . . . and I left the meeting convinced that he will stand at the forthcoming presidential elections and that his announcement of this is only a matter of time.” Moussa speculates that the announcement of the presidential bid will come end of February or early March. Presidential Adviser Ali Awad commented to Asharq Al-Awsat, that the nation’s new presidential election legislation would include “new conditions for presidential candidates.” The conditions are “candidates would need to prove their physical and mental competencies, in addition to possessing a university degree.” Awad added that interim President Adly Mansour will sign the new draft legislation into law, “opening the way for official preparations for the elections to get under way” in the next few days.

Security Sector

Attack on two policemen guarding a church leaves them dead

Ahram: Two policemen shot dead outside church in Cairo 

Summary: Two policemen were should dead outside a Cairo church in Ain Shams. The attack on the policemen guarding the church took place during a pro-Mosi march. One officer was announced dead on the scene and the other in a Nasr City hospital. Multiple suspects have been arrested.

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt: 159th in World Press Freedom Index

Daily News Egypt: Egypt ranks 159th of 180 countries in 2014 World Press Freedom Index

Summary: In a report release by Reporters Without Borders, Egypt ranked 159th out of 180 nations in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The reports states that an “anti-Brotherhood witch-hunt is under way that targets not only Egyptian journalists but also their Turkish, Palestinian or Syrian colleagues.” This “persecution violates provisions” in the 2014 Constitution.” Additionally, the report notes, that there has been “particularly target[ing]” of the Al Jazeera network. The report adds to the UN Human Rights Office, that it is “extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt.”

Economy

Planning Minister Egypt: “Important to stimulate [economy]”

The Christian Science Monitor: “Egypt makes big economic push as leader-in-waiting Sisi courts Russia”

Summary: Planning Minister Ashraf El-Araby said, “we are hoping to restore political stability as soon as possible, in order for the economy to grow.” Egypt’s growth is at “2% for last year compared with 5% between 2005 and 2010.” And despite the  billions in aid provided by Gulf countries, it is projected that “the government will spend $14.5billion on energy subsidies alone.” The Minister added, “during these times, it’s even more important to stimulate than to lower public expenditures. We received good money from the Gulf, [and] look to spend it wisely on investment spending instead of current spending, such as subsidies.”

Egypt signs deals for oil and gas exploration

Daily News Egypt: Egypt sings oil, gas exploration deals

The National: Dana Gas given go-ahead to start work on offshore block in Egypt 

Summary: The Oil Ministry announced that Egypt has signed a deals for gas and oil exploration with the UAE’s Dana Gas, Ireland’s Petroceltic International and Italy’s Edison. The deal is expected to “bring in investment of at least $265 million for eight new wells in Northern Sinai in Mediterranean Sea and Nile Delta.”

Foreign Relations

“All options are open,” says Egypts  Minister of Irrigation over Ethiopian dam

Anadolu Agency: Egypt irrigation minister says ‘all open’ in Ethiopia dam row 

Summary: Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib stated that, “all options are open” for Egypt with regards to “Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project.” The minister stressed that, “Ethiopian decision-makers must bring a solution to the table that won’t compromise Egypt’s share of water.” Ethiopian Prime Minister responded that Ethiopia “would win politically” if Egypt was to insist on International arbitration.