Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 11, 2014

07/11/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

President Abdel Fattah al Sisi issued a decree forming a leadership committee for the National Security Council (NSC), which will be tasked with planning meetings and conducting relevant research. The decree, which was initially ordered by interim president Adly Mansour, also bestows ministerial authority upon the head of the committee, who will deal with financial and managerial affairs within the NSC. According to spokesman Ehab Badawi, the NSC will meet once every three months, and remain in session in times of war. [Al Ahram] Read More…

Marginalized Groups

Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, and Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdul Aziz announced the launch of a campaign against atheism in Egypt. The two ministers have consulted with psychiatrists, sociologists, and religious officials to form a committee and initiatives that will combat the rapid spread of atheism. The committee plans to target youths across Egypt by sending advocates and religious educators to community centers in each governorate, where they will solidify religious knowledge and answer questions about faith from young atheists. [Shorouk]

Gender & Sexuality

Detained activists Sanaa Seif and other feminist detainees at Al Qanater women’s prison declined to meet with the National Council for Human Rights delegation that came to report on the notoriously inhumane living conditions of the prison. Seif stated that other prisoners, especially those who were known supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, were treated with much greater brutality than she. Seif referred specifically to students of Al Azhar University who were arrested for protesting on campus in 2013 and endured regular beatings since their detainment. [Daily News EgyptRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

The trial of prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Soltan, who was arrested at a sit-in in 2013 and has been on hunger strike for over 160 days, was postponed. Soltan’s health report indicated that he was unfit to stand trial due to pulmonary problems, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, and high uric acid. [Daily News EgyptRead More…

Economy

Due to the decrease in fuel subsidies decreed by Egypt’s 2015 public budget and the increased demand for food that accompanies the month of Ramadan each year, Egypt’s food prices are expected to rise in coming weeks. In an attempt to become more self-sufficient, Egyptian officials have introduced a “smart card” system that is meant to limit individual consumption of bread, and thereby reduce the quantity of bread and wheat imported from abroad. [Daily News Egypt]

Security Sector

Security forces stationed at the border between Rafah and Gaza thwarted attempts by Palestinian militants to smuggle 20 grad rockets into Sinai through tunnels in Rafah. Government officials claimed that Hamas is responsible for the security breach, which resulted in violent clashes at the mouth of one of the tunnels. Officials feared that the missiles were brought to Egypt with the intention of firing them in Gaza, or at Egyptian security checkpoints which have been locked in conflict with Islamist militants since Morsi was deposed in July 2013. [Al Ahram] Read More…

Foreign Relations

Egyptian officials declared that the border with Gaza has been opened, to provide Palestinian casualties of the Israeli airstrikes access to Egyptian medical facilities. The opening of the border came in reaction to international and regional accusations claiming that Egypt has neglected its pivotal role in the negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian forces. Egyptian spokesman Badr Abdel Atty reassured international observers that “[Egypt’s] main objective is to stop Israeli aggression” and that the ministry is “pushing very hard to provide all humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.” Only one day later, however, the border crossing between Rafah and Gaza was again shut down when security forces discovered “extremists” attempting to smuggle 20 Gaza rockets into Egypt through tunnels in Rafah. The confiscation of the rockets and other weaponry resulted in clashes between Egyptian armed forces and Palestinian militants, and caused authorities to shut down the border, preventing ambulances of injured Palestinians from access to medical care.  Egyptian armed forces thereafter pledged to send  500 tons of food and medical supplies to residents of the Gaza strip as a part of Egypt’s diplomatic efforts on the conflict. [The Guardian, Aswat Masriya, Egyptian StreetsRead More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 737 Muslim Brotherhood members face charges of financing a terrorist group 

Ahram: Leading Brotherhood Figures Referred on Charges of Financing Terrorist Organization

In this article: A government committee “tasked with appraising the monetary assets of the Muslim Brotherhood” filed a lawsuit against 737 Muslim Brotherhood members, who are accused of financing a terrorist group in violation of the September 2013 court ruling which banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its financial and political affiliates. Head of the committee Ezzat Khamis submitted evidence to the court that MB members Khairat El Shater, Mohamed El Beltagy, Essam El Erian, and Mohamed Badie are guilty of contributing funds to the organization.

 Al Sisi combines standard pension with bonus pension for elevated pay for Egyptian military 

Daily News Egypt: Al Sisi Raises Military Pensions by 10%

In this article: Al Sisi issued a decree increasing military pensions by 10 percent, only days after the public budget announcing decreased spending and significant fuel subsidy cuts was put into effect.

 The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy Calls for Rallies on “The Friday the Military Crushed the Poor” 

Aswat Masriya: The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy Calls for Rallies

In this article: The Morsi-supporting National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called for protests beginning today and continuing throughout the week, in opposition of al Sisi’s decision to decrease fuel subsidies, thereby drastically raising fuel prices. According to DNE, car fuel prices have risen between 40 and 175 percent, while fuel prices for cement, iron, and steel plants have increased by between 30 and 75 percent.

 Morsi supporters across Egypt demonstrate against increased fuel prices 

Shorouk: Morsi Supporters in Kafr Al Sheikh March, Denounce Increase in Fuel Prices and Israeli Aggression

Shorouk: Morsi Supporters March in Alexandria Condemning Increase in Prices and Armed Forces

In this article: In response to calls for rallies by the National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Kafr Al Sheikh, Alexandria, and Balteem took to the streets to voice their frustration with various policies installed by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. Demonstrators chanted against strong military presence in public areas, the rising fuel prices, and al Sisi’s transitional road map. Protesters also called for the return of former president Muhamman Morsi, and the release of all MB members who were imprisoned since his ouster in July 2013.

Rights & Freedoms

 The Global Editors Network denounced the verdict of the Al Jazeera trials 

Huffington Post: Injustice in Egypt: How Freedom of Speech Could Lose Its Voice

In this article: The Global Editors Network (GEN) condemned the unjust imprisonment of journalists in Egypt and encouraged Egyptian officials to adhere to “principles of media freedom.” Gilles Raymond of GEN specifically denounced the verdict of the trial with imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed and asked for their immediate release. Raymond insisted that universal freedom in Egypt will not be achieved without press freedom, and called upon President al Sisi to use presidential pardon to free the detained journalists.

 Graffiti artist Ganzeer came to the United States to raise awareness, and produce art 

New York Times: Ganzeer Takes Protest Art Beyond Egypt

In this article: NYT journalist David Kirkpatrick reported on Egyptian digital artist, graphic designer, and graffiti activist Mohamed Fahmy’s trip to the United States and his recent activities in Egypt and abroad. Fahmy, better known by his pseudonym Ganzeer, was accused by Egyptian media of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood only two days before departing for a long-planned trip to America. While he had no trouble leaving the country, Ganzeer predicted that he would face great opposition and antagonism upon his return to Cairo, where he lives full time. Ganzeer recently completed work on a film called “Art War” which was directed by German filmmaker Marco Williams, and focuses on the street art scene in Egypt since 2011. Through his time in the United States, Ganzeer will be living in an apartment in Brooklyn, where he is sustaining himself by creating and selling prints through the Booklyn Artists Alliance. When questioned about his capacity to be involved in the revolution even while stationed in the United States, Ganzeer explained that he would devote much effort to raising awareness about  Egypt’s deteriorating political and social situation so that Americans can pressure the US government to support a transition to democracy and denounce the rule of President Abdel Fattah al Sisi.

Security Sector

 Muslim Brotherhood supporters denouncing the violence in Gaza clashed with security forces 

Al Masry Al Youm: Clashes Between Brotherhood and Security Forces After Friday Prayers
In this article: In the Cairo’s Muhandiseen neighborhood, clashes broke out between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and police, when the MB supporters marched out of a mosque after Friday prayer and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces standing nearby. Demonstrators condemned the dealings with Israeli officials, and also demanded the release of detained Muslim Brotherhood protesters.

 Security forces arrest man behind Alexandria train explosion 

Egypt State Information Services: Alexandria Train’s Chief Bomb-Maker Arrested

In this article: The electrical engineer and Muslim Brotherhood member who built the bomb that exploded on an Alexandria train on July 4 was apprehended by security forces. The explosion, which wounded over nine civilians, occurred while carrying passengers between Abu Qir and Sidi Gaber. The bomb-maker was found with detonators, a large amount of bomb-making supplies, and three makeshift bombs, upon his arrest.

Foreign Relations

 Egyptian officials denounced Israeli violence in the Occupied Territories 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt “Fully Rejects” Israeli Escalation in Palestine: Foreign Ministry

In this article: The Foreign Ministry released a statement that strongly denounced the “excessive and unjustified military force” Israel’s armed forces have deployed against Palestinians. The statement said that while Israeli Defense Forces are obligated to protect their people, they must “exercise self restraint and consider the humanitarian dimension” in their dealings with regional conflicts with Palestinian civilians. Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry called upon international organizations to support the Palestinians and join him in condemning Israeli escalation in Palestine.