Egypt Media Roundup – Feb 14, 2014

02/14/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

In a press statement, the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party condemned alleged torture that took place at detention facilities where those arrested on the backdrop of the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary are kept. Read More.. [Atlantic Council]

Security Sector

Egyptian security forces have fortified their presence around the capital and in neighbouring Giza ahead of planned demos called for against the interim authorities by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  Read More..[Ahram]

Marginalized Groups

A 12-year-old boy was killed on Friday during violence that erupted nationwide pursuant to protests marking the six-month anniversary of the violent dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square protest camps. The boy was shot standing on his balcony in Minya–the victim’s family alleges that demonstrators fired the shot, while the FJP has accused security forces.Read More.. [Mada Masr]

Rights & Freedoms

Egyptian politician Hamdeen Sabahi on Wednesday called for the release of what he termed “prisoners of conscience,” days after he announced he would run for president.Read More.. [Khaleej Times]

Economy

Egyptian Oil Minister Sherif Ismail signed deals with Emirati energy company Dana Gas, Italy’s Edison and Irish exploration and production company Petroceltic. Read More.. [UPI]

Foreign Relations

Vladimir Putin has wished Egypt’s military chief victory in the nation’s presidential vote, even though he has yet to announce his bid – demonstrating Russia’s desire to expand its military and other ties with a key US ally in the Middle East. Read More..[The Guardian, Ahram, BBC, NYT, USAToday]

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Legal & Political Institutions

Turkish PM comments on nature of Morsi’s overthrow–Egypt declines to respond

Ahram: Egypt says coup accusations ‘not worth response’

Summary: Egypt spurned on Friday recent remarks made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in which he rebuked Egyptian interim authorities over the overthrow of the country’s Islamist leader.

Erdogan on Wednesday renewed his criticism of  Egypt’s interim authorities, saying that his government “cannot accept a regime that had undertaken a military coup.”

Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Bader Abdelatty hit back on Friday, saying that such criticism  was “not worth responding or taking notice of.”

New trials ordered for 242 Muslim Brotherhood supporters over protests and violence

AP: EGYPT TO TRY 242 SUPPORTERS OF OUSTED PRESIDENT

PressTV: Egypt intensifies crackdown on Morsi supporters

Summary: Egyptian authorities on Thursday ordered new trials for 242 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the latest in a series of mass tribunals against backers of the ousted Islamist president over protests and violence.

Thousands have been arrested in a crackdown on Mohammed Morsi’s supporters since his ouster in July. Recently, authorities have announced a string of trials of low-level Brotherhood members, each with dozens of defendants.

In the latest cases, the officials said Thursday that 170 Islamists in the southern city of Assiut were charged with storming and burning government installations.

Another 72 in Beheira province, northwest of Cairo, will be tried on charges of attempted murder, illegal protests and acquisition of firearms.

Security Sector

Suspect in helicopter attack arrested in Egypt

Ahram: Egypt’s army arrests suspect in helicopter rocket attack

Mada Masr: Militant suspected of downing helicopter arrested in Sinai

Summary: Egyptian troops have arrested two suspected militants in Sinai, one of whom was involved in a deadly rocket attack on a military helicopter last month.

The Egyptian army said that two “extremely dangerous” militants were arrested Thursday while in hiding in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, where Egypt’s army is waging a campaign to quell months of militant violence directed at security forces.

One of the men was involved in the downing of an Egyptian military helicopter in the peninsula in January, army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement. Both men were injured in a gun battle with army forces during the arrest.

Over 100 Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis militants have been killed in the last week by Egyptian security forces

Al Manar:, Egypt Army Kills 112 Sinai Militants in a Week

Summary: A total of 112 fighters from the so-called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (partisans of al-Quds) group have been killed and injured and 69 others arrested in a week, the Egyptian army said Thursday.

In a Facebook statement, army spokesman said that 49 tunnel openings had been destroyed and 104 rifles and 12,500 bullets had been seized in the Sinai Peninsula, northeastern Egypt, in the past week.

Marginalized Groups

Pro-Morsi supporters call for a week of protests on 6 month anniversary of Rabaa massacre

Egypt Anti-Coup Alliance: Egypt National Alliance Launches ‘Rabaa, Icon of Revolution’ Peaceful Protest Week #‎AntiCoup #‎R4BIA

IkhwanWeb: Egypt National Alliance Launches ‘Rabaa, Icon of Revolution’ Peaceful Protest Week

Daily News Egypt: Anti-Coup Alliance calls for marches on six-month anniversary of sit-in dispersals

Summary: The pro-Morsi bloc called for demonstrations under the name “Rabaa, icon of the revolution” The Anti-Coup Alliance, the most prominent pro-Morsi opposition bloc, called for marches and demonstrations Friday to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the Rabaa and Nahda sit-in dispersals.

The group released a statement via Facebook Thursday calling for peaceful resistance throughout the week, starting after Friday prayers, under the name “Rabaa, icon of the revolution”. The Anti-Coup Alliance praised the revolution’s “glorious objectives,” in the statement. Anger is “mounting in factories, fields, and institutions” with the spread of “poverty, repression and torture,” the bloc wrote, adding that the revolution will continue until the people’s demands are met.

The statement called for protesters to burn flags and pictures of the United States, the “Zionist enemy” Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.

Rights & Freedoms

In Egypt and Ukraine–Social media a protesting tool

Washington Post: How social media spreads protest tactics from Ukraine to Egypt

Summary: Social media facilitates the diffusion of new tactics, allowing protesters in Cairo to follow the activities of their comrades in the governorates and vice versa. If a new tactic is especially effective, protesters from other areas will travel to see it in action first-hand. The co-ordination of protests themselves, however, is increasingly occurring offline: Egyptian state security has grown so adept at infiltrating online groups, that mosques and university campuses are now the two most important associational spaces in which to organize. In many neighborhoods, certain mosques have a reputation for playing host to rallies that are launched after prayer. Here, would-be protesters do not need access to formal protest networks to participate; they simply need to turn up. These are often the same mosques from where protests were launched during the Jan. 25 revolution. If the protests begin elsewhere, the relevant times and locations are distributed to a trusted list of regular protest-goers who then relay the information to friends and relatives. It is quite normal for several members of one family to be active in different parts of the anti-coup movement.

It is against this backdrop that some Egypt watchers have reacted with alarm at the recent emergence of several groups that specialize in manufacturing molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons – including powerful gas propelled potato guns and fireworks – to use against the police. Wary of being labelled extremists, members of Students Against the Coup insist that these are a proportionate response to a regime that routinely uses live ammunition and birdshot to disperse protests. Moreover, informants report that the adoption of these tactics is providing a timely pressure valve to contain the radical few who are frustrated by the lack of headway made by the overwhelmingly peaceful protests of the past eight months.

Islam Abu Ghalaza, formerly detained by Egyptian security forces, writes about the torture he faced

Mada Masr: An account of torture from Wadi al-Natrun prison

Summary: Hi account of his time in prison in Egypt, Islam Abu Ghalaza writes: “Upon our arrival at 3 pm, we were received by a large number of officers, soldiers and intelligence personnel who met us with a storm of swearing, carrying arms, sticks, hoses, belts and water pipes in a terrifying scene. They monstrously beat us up on every bit of our bodies. They then placed us, like prisoners of war, one on top of the other, while they continued torturing and humiliating us.

They ordered us to call [former President] Mohamed Morsi the worst names.

They ordered us not to look into their eyes; they feared our looks, and those who did look them in the eye were strung up and severely beaten.

They strung up Maher Mohamed Morsi for having a name similar to [the former president] and beat and insulted him relentlessly.

As the physical and psychological torture continued, we were moved to a new 1.5 square meter space where a new group of policemen awaited us with all sorts of torture tools which they used on our bodies.

They took our clothes off and in a stream of filthy sadism, enjoyed inflicting physical and psychological torture on us.

They made us stand like prisoners of war, our heads to the wall, arms held up high, while their torture, insults and orders not to look them in the eye continued.

Both groups of regime men shared the same perverted ideas as they practiced clear violations of international agreements and local laws.”

Egyptian human rights organization calls for international support for human rights in Egypt

Daily News Egypt: Egypt Solidarity Initiative calls for international attention to human rights in Egypt 

Summary: The Egypt Solidarity Initiative (ESI), an international collective of activists, politicians and scholars, issued a statement Tuesday calling for an end to the interim government’s abuses against civilians.The group’s founding statement warns that the gains of the 25 January revolution are under threat of a “a new wave of repression” from authorities that are “hostile to human rights and social justice.”

The statement cites the events of the third anniversary of the 25 January uprising, during which 64 were killed and more than 1,000 were arrested, according to official counts.

ESI seeks to organise international support for the employment of newly gained human rights in Egypt, which include freedom of speech, assembly and press; the right to strike; an end to sexual violence and religious or sectarian persecution; free elections, and fair trials.

Economy

Infographic: Egypt’s declining tourism

Telegraph: Egypt’s tourism drought

Summary: The country suffered its worst September ever in terms of visits from international tourists, with a 90 per cent year-on-year drop in numbers compared to September 2012.

Last July, violence that followed mass sit-ins in Cairo prompted the Foreign Office (FO) to warn against travel to most of the country.

Other European countries followed suit, which proved “devastating” to Egypt’s visitor numbers, according to Hisham Zaazou, the country’s tourism minister.

Europe, with its 73 per cent share of Egypt’s tourism market, became a “tap that had closed”, forcing the minister to spend October and November trying to get the bans lifted.

Foreign Relations

US chides Russia for preemptively backing Sisi for president

Ahram: US criticises Russia’s backing of El-Sisi for presidency

Summary: The United States on Thursday rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for throwing his weight behind Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his as-yet undeclared presidential bid, asserting that growing ties between Cairo and Moscow won’t impact “historical” relations between Washington and its key Middle East ally.

President Putin on Thursday endorsed a presidential bid by the Egyptian defence minister during talks in Moscow. Field Marshall El-Sisi has yet to officially announce he is running in presidential elections expected this spring, but speculation is rising that he will do so soon.

But Putin’s premature support was criticised by Washington.

“We don’t endorse a candidate and don’t think it’s, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr Putin to decide who should govern Egypt,” US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a Thursday press briefing.