Legal & Political Institutions
Two possible candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Khaled Ali, met on Thursday to discuss their campaigns. Nasserist Sabbahi announced earlier this month that he will run in the elections, expected to take place this spring. It has been said that leftist Ali will announce his candidacy soon. [Ahram, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent] Read More..
Gender & Sexuality
Shahira Amin writes: “The apparent resumption of forced “virginity tests” by security forces in Egypt has dashed activists’ hopes for democratic reforms and fueled fears of a return to police brutality and abuse reminiscent of the Hosni Mubarak-era. Four women arrested in recent months for taking part in anti-military protests have said they were subjected to virginity tests by the police whilst in custody.” [CNN] Read More..
Egypt’s interior ministry will review its decision to lift the ban on fans attending matches following clashes that left 24 injured at Thursday’s Super Cup between Al Ahly and CS Sfaxien in Cairo. [Egypt Independentt, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, BBC Sport, Al Arabiya] Read More..
Rights & Freedoms
Mai Shams al Din writes: “As the boundaries of the analogue world of network television and print journalism seem to keep tightening, journalists in Egypt are increasingly fleeing to the Internet in search of greater freedoms, either through personal blogs or more institutionalized media outlets. And with most mainstream media — whether state-run or privately owned — marching to the beat of the same drum, readers are also going online in search of diversity.” [Mada Masr] Read More..
According to the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence , Egyptians consumers are the most concerned in the world about political stability. Twenty-one percent of Egyptians are worried about terrorism; placing Egypt as the most worried about terrorism globally despite the fact that this is an improvement from 26 percent in Q3. [Ahram] Read More..
Saudi Arabia will provide Egypt with $3 billion in aid soon, mostly in the form of petroleum products, to help stabilize the country’s economy. [Arab News]
Legal & Political Institutions
The Tamarod [‘Rebel’] Movement has split–citing differences in opinion over military rule
Summary: Their campaign against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi helped the army topple Egypt’s first freely elected leader, but some leaders of the Tamarud movement have broken away, saying the military threatens democracy.
The split in Tamarud (Rebellion) is a sign of growing public anger against the army-backed government installed after Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed Mursi in July, following a Tamarud-organized petition and mass protests against him.
Human rights groups have criticized a fierce state crackdown on Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood since then, saying it includes mass arrests and torture, charges the authorities deny.
“We wanted the army to help us oust Mursi, not take over power itself,” said Mohamed Fawzi, leader of a splinter faction calling itself Tamarud 2 Get Liberated, told Reuters. “The army’s role is to protect and guard the state, not to rule.”
New leadership soon to be announced in al-Dostour party
Summary: Internal elections within the Constitution Party are underway on Friday, as three candidates compete to take the place of prominent figure Mohamed ElBaradei as president of the party. The three candidates are former parliamentary candidate and founding party member Gamila Ismail, leftist founding party member Hala Shukrallah, and doctor and founding member Hossam Abdel-Ghafar.
Al Watan Party no longer supports Morsi’s reinstatement
Summary: The Al-Watan Party, which was formed by Salafi Nour Party defectors, has backtracked on its demand for President Mohamed Morsy to be reinstated and for the dissolved Shura Council and suspended 2012 Constitution to return.
The party issued a statement on Thursday, calling for a democratic process that ensures the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the prevention of security abuses, the protection of freedoms, the consolidation of citizenship values, the equality of all sons of the nation, and the separation of powers.
Gender & Sexuality
Mohammed Tolba discusses sexual harassment of women in the context of Egypt’s collapse of personal space
Atlantic Council: In the Pursuit of Personal Space
Summary: The perfect example of the collapse of personal space and the power of words and expressions, in a nation that prides itself on its “religious by nature,” is sexual harassment. The phenomenon has become all too common in the country in the past few years.
While there is no shortage of those who make excuses for the aggressor and blame the victim, using words of wisdom about religion, a few young, brave women were able to speak about their experiences behind closed doors. They grew in number, inviting other women and offering a space to all to speak about their own painful experiences. They detailed the harassment of strangers, and the anger and reproach of fathers and brothers who blamed them rather than offering compassion and shelter.
Soon enough, these small spaces could not confine their angry voices, which flowed out into the street, creeping out from beneath doors and through the openings of vents, where their neighbors could hear them, trying at first to ignore those loud and angered cries for justice. They tried to stop their own daughters from listening, but failed, as the voices gave more young ladies the strength and courage to express themselves. Soon enough they emerged into the streets, facing a society that had no choice but to recognize and interact with them. At this point, the media too offered space for the discussion of this phenomenon. It has finally culminated into organized groups who have come together in crowded areas to monitor and prevent harassment, and for the first time in years, we have seen scores of cases files against offenders, many of whom have been convicted.
Egyptian Newspaper publishes alleged confessions of Egyptian spies who colluded with Mossad agents
Egypt independent: Alleged spy obtained information from police and army personnel
Summary: Al-Masry Al-Youm continues to publish the alleged confessions of the Egyptian and his wife who are accused of spying for Israel, and who were referred to an urgent criminal court with two Israeli Mossad officers.
The wife, Sahar Salama, said she received clothes, mobile phones, cosmetics and perfumes as gifts in return for sending reports on the Egyptian army and the 25 January revolution.
She said that she thought the Israeli officer she was communicating with was working for the Italian Mafia and not the Mossad.
She also said that she got acquainted with army and police personnel that furnished her with information.
She added that she received 2,500 euros for a report she sent about celebrations of military academy graduations, and another 500 euros for any other report she sent.
A National Security report said that the accused is a “notorious” person with bad reputation.
Meanwhile, the military spokesperson denied that the accused worked for the army’s Al-Nasr magazine.
Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church has approved new patriarch election list
Aswat Masriya: Orthodox Church approves election list of its patriarch
Summary: The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church has approved a new election list to select its patriarch, said Bishop Tomas, the synod assistant secretary. This new list replaces the 1957 list which was widely criticised. The meeting where the list was approved was headed by Pope Tawadros II. The new list will be sent to the presidency for approval and application, Tomas said at a press conference on Thursday.
National Alliance calls for renewed protests–results in clashes with security forces in Cairo, Alexandria
Egypt Independent: National Alliance calls for protests on Friday
Tahrir News: [AR] 10 Muslim Brotherhood members arrested during Friday clashes
Al Masry Al Youm: [AR] Muslim Brotherhood: new round of Friday clashes with security forces
Summary: Security forces clashed with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in several Egyptian cities on Friday. In Cairo’s eastern Nasr City district, police dispersed two rallies of pro-Morsi protesters. There were clashes between some protesters and residents of the area, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA. In Haram district in Giza, similar clashes also took place and a van belonging to Tahrir channel, which is often critical of the Brotherhood, was set on fire. Clashes were also reported in Alexandria, in Zaqaziq and Hahya in Sharqiya governorate, the city of Kafr El-Sheikh which is also in the Nile Delta and in Suez, east of Cairo. Injuries or deaths have not been reported so far.
The National Alliance in Support of Legitimacy, the Brotherhood-led pro-Morsi coalition, had called for a new wave of protests to start Friday and urged students to be at the forefront of protests.
Rights & Freedoms
UN Special Rapporteur addresses human rights violations in Egypt
Summary: Human rights defenders continue to face “extraordinary risks, according to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), set to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March. In the report, Margaret Sekaggya, the second rapporteur with this mandate, reflects on both the status of defenders across the globe as her term, which began in 2008, comes to an end this year.
“Defending rights and speaking up against violations and abuses still remains a dangerous activity,” reads the report. Defenders—especially women, young people, environmental activists, journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, and those who work on LGBT issues—are intimidated, harassed, subject to surveillance, detained, tortured, kidnapped, and killed.
The issue of coal imports unresolved during Egypt’s energy crisis
Summary: With Egypt in the grips of both an economic crisis and a severe power shortage, the question of whether to allow energy-intensive industries to import coal has been one of the most contentious and divisive issues facing the interim Cabinet.
Egypt’s energy crunch has hit cement companies hard, with a shortage of natural gas causing production in the sector to drop by around 20 percent. In response, the government under former President Mohamed Morsi had given a verbal commitment to allowing cement firms to import coal, so long as they were outside of populated areas.
At the time, it was reported that the cement industry, which accounts for 2 percent of the country’s GDP, would be the first energy-intensive industry to transition from natural gas to coal to power its 43 kilns spread across the country. Concerns were raised about the environmental and broad health impacts of the move.
But before a bill could be passed to legalize this commitment, Parliament was dissolved after Morsi was deposed and his government disbanded. The issue was left unresolved.