Egypt Media Roundup – Jun 24, 2014

06/24/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s draft law on parliamentary elections is an area of contention President Sisi must overcome before elections take place. The controversial electoral list and individual seat appropriations, which represent 20% and 80% of the parliamentary body respectively, may seek to empower individuals with “traditional bases of support, such as money, power networks and tribal connections” and weaken political parties– “thus turn[ing] the elections into a contest between people, not political ideas.” [Mada MasrRead More…

Gender & Sexuality

A group of Egyptian rights groups have called on the United Nations to initiate a fact-finding mission to Egypt to investigate human rights violations against women, particularly concerning sexual abuse and rape. The report documents cases of women prisoners who have allegedly been abused and tortured, and states that the situation for women has worsened “because military authorities specifically target them” during protests and arrests. [VOARead More…

Marginalized Groups

Mohamed Hegazy was sentenced to five years in prison by the Minya misdemeanor court. Hegazy was found guilty of spreading false news and inciting sectarian conflict. Hegazy Mohamed Hegazy is a correspondent for the US-based Coptic news channel, Al Tareq. He was arrested in December 2013 in Minya while reporting on sectarian violence. When arrested, police confiscated Hegazy’s camera and flash drives—which allegedly contained reports of Coptic families whose homes were burned down in a village in Minya. Hegazy also allegedly tried to legally convert to Christianity,  but his case was thrown out by an administrative court. Hegazy, upon arrest, was charged with spreading false news and inciting sectarian conflict “by falsely reporting that Copts face religious discrimination in Egypt.” [Mada Masr]

Kerolos Ghattas, was sentenced to six years imprisonment for blasphemy and contempt of religion by a Luxor court. Ghattas was arrested for posting pictures “deemed insulting to Islam” on his Facebook page earlier this month. Ghattas’ arrest sparked unrest in his village–a number of Christian shop owners were subject to anonymous violence over the past few days. [AP

Rights & Freedoms

A number of Egyptian and international human rights organizations have called on Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 23 activists who were detained for violating the protest law during an anti-protest law demonstration. Nazra for feminist studies demands the release of the activists and to “Cease the harassment and persecution of human rights defenders and ensure that all human rights defenders in Egypt are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities free from persecution, arbitrary arrest, judicial harassment and physical violence.” [HRW, NazraRead More…

Economy

President Sisi, in his June 24 speech, noted that he will not approve the state budget for the fiscal year 2014/15 as it will push the budget deficit up and increase Egypt’s debt. Sisi calls for “adjustments and revisions” to the budget, and, addressing financial assistance from the Gulf, noted that ““We [Egypt] are embarrassing ourselves and embarrassing the people.” [Daily News Egypt, AhramRead More… 

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 494 defendants to go on trial for violence related to August 2013 clashes 

AFP: Egypt ‘plans new mass trial of 500 Islamists’

In this article: On July 16 494 Muslim Brotherhood supporters will go on trial facing death sentences on charges related to the death of 44 people during clashes that took place in August 2013 in Cairo. The defendants are charged with “murder, attempted murder, assaulting policemen, carrying weapons, and damaging public and private installations.”

 29 Muslim Brotherhood members acquitted–no further details of their case or arrest released to press 

Aswat Masriya:Egypt acquits 29 Brotherhood members of rioting charges

In this article: A Cairo court acquitted 29 Muslim Brotherhood members who faced charges of rioting and inciting violence. Details of the case and when or where the defendants were arrested were not released to the press.

 Nour Party welcomes NDP members to electoral list–rejects Muslim Brotherhood 

Egypt Independent:Nour Party welcomes disbanded NDP members on it electoral lists

In this article: The Salafist Nour party has announced that they will welcome members of the disbanded Mubarak-era National Democratic Party to their electoral lists, as long as they are not involved in any legal infractions. “We are against a collective punishment of all NDP members,” said Deputy Chairman Ashraf Thabet on Monday. “The NDP had many qualified members, unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, with whom we reject any form of political alliance.”

 National Council for Social Dialogue to be formed–headed by Minister of Manpower and Immigration 

Egypt SIS:PM decides to form national council for social dialogue

In this article: Prime Minister Mehleb issued a statement announcing the formation of a “national council for social dialogue” which will be headed by the Minister of Manpower and Immigration. The council will include representation from the social security, trade and industry, agriculture, planning and development, and manpower and immigration sectors. The council will draw “national policies to hold dialogue between employers and employees and create a climate conducive to consultation.”

Gender & Sexuality

 Egyptian Rights group calls for investigations into physical and mental abuse of women prisoners in Qanater prison 

ANHRI:Egypt: Rights Groups Call for Immediate Investigation Into the Latest Assaults On Women-Inmates in Qanater Prison … Political Prisoners Are Subjected to Violence and Ill-Treatment

In this article: The Arabic network for Human Rights Information has called on the Egyptian government to immediately investigate the series of attacks on women-inmates in Qanater Prison. Families of prisoners in Qanater have relayed accounts of physical and mental abuse of prisoners by other prisoners and prison guards. The statement reads: “This latest violence in al-Qanater Prison serves as a further blow to Egypt’s appalling record in the treatment of political prisoners. In the past three weeks, reports of violence committed against political prisoners have emerged from Wadi al-Natroun male prison on the 31st of May and from a juvenile facility in Koum al-Dikka in Alexandria on the 4th of June amid the failure of the government to investigate the allegations and protect detainees from further abuse.”

 Two men in Nasr City sentenced to two years imprisonment for verbal harassment 

Daily News Egypt: 2 sentenced to 1 year imprisonment for verbal harassment

Mada Masr: 2 men face year in prison for sexual harassment

In this article: A Nasr City Court sentenced two men to two years in prison and a 5000 EGP fine for verbally harassing a woman at a shopping mall. The woman reported to auhtorities at the Nasr City mall that two men were harassing her, the defendants were arrested and investigated.

Rights & Freedoms

 Egypt’s secret military prison: Azouli–where hundreds have been “disappeared”, tortured, without any judicial oversight 

Guardian: Egypt’s secret prison: ‘disappeared’ face torture in Azouli military jail

In this article: The Guardian reports on Egypt’s “Black prison” sites, where hundred of Egytians have been “disappeared”–held without record, and tortured by the Egyptian military. The secret military prison, called Azouli, has been home to hundreds of detainees since at least July 2013, in what human rights organizations call “repression on a scale unprecedented in Egypt’s modern history.” Prisoners in Azouli are subjected to torture by electrocution, beatings, and worse. “Officially, you aren’t there,” said Ayman, a middle-aged man who was brought to Azouli towards the end of 2013, and one of only a few to later be released. “It isn’t like normal prisons. There is no documentation that says you are there. If you die at Azouli, no one would know.”

 President Sisi will not intervene in Al Jazeera journalist verdict–citing “independent judiciary” 

NYT: Egyptian Leader Refuses to Intervene in Al Jazeera Case

In this article: President Sisi has announced that he will not intervene in the recent verdicts issued to Al Jazeera journalists, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed. The three were given sentences of seven to ten years–to which Sisi said, “We will not interfere in judicial rulings” referring to Egypt’s executive, saying that the trial had adhered to “due process.” However, many foreign governments and rights organizations are calling the trial a farce and calling on Egypt to immediately release the journalists in protection of freedom of the press. Sisis says, “If we desire state institutions, we must respect court rulings and not comment on them, even if others don’t understand these rulings.”