Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 26, 2014

03/26/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was meeting military leaders on Wednesday to tell them he was resigning as defence minister to run for the presidency, the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website. Quoting a military source, Al-Ahram said Sisi would announce the widely expected decision in a statement to be broadcast later. [TIME, Reuters, JPost, Guardian, Ahram, AFP, PressTVRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Egypt’s prosecutor-general has referred a police officer working in South Sinai to a criminal court for the attempted rape of a Russian tourist in Sharm El-Sheikh. According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the prosecutor-general’s office, the incident in question refers to a police report received on 15 March. [Ahram, Daily News Egypt

Security Sector

Construction of a wall around El-Arish has begun to “control the entry and exit into the province, to secure against attacks by terrorist groups.” [Al Masry AL Youm-arabic] Read More..

Marginalized Groups

A special police taskforce will be formed to arrest a group of Alexandria-based atheists who declared their beliefs on Facebook, announced Alexandria Security Directorate chief Amin Ezz El-Din in a televised telephone interview. [Mada Masr, VetoGate-arabic]  Read More..

Rights & Freedoms

Students mobilized in Alexandria in protest of the mass death sentence verdict issued this week of 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters accused of killing one policeman. [SeattlePi

Economy

Egypt’s peak energy consumption season is still months away, but fuel shortages and power cuts have already become an everyday occurrence, leaving both homes and businesses in the dark. Manufacturers have been hit hard, losing productivity and revenue as energy shortages leave many factories standing idle for hours on a daily basis, prompting fears about what will happen in the summer, when demand for energy is traditionally at its highest. [Mada MasrRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

The United States on Tuesday strongly condemned Egypt’s mass death sentencing of more than 500 members and supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, saying it would be “unconscionable” for Egyptian authorities to carry out the ruling. Washington is “currently evaluating our aid policy” toward Egypt, saying it is important that the US maintain its ties with the country “for a variety of security, economic [and] regional reasons.” [Ahram, Reuters

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Legal & Political Institutions

15 Muslim Brotherhood members were given prison sentences for protests during the uprisings against military rule

Egypt Independent: 15 MB handed 1-3 year prison sentences in Daqahlia

In this article: “The Mansoura Misdemeanor Court in Daqahlia handed 15 members of the Muslim Brotherhood sentences between one to three years in prison Tuesday on charges of crowding, calling for overthrowing the regime and possessing weapons. Fourteen were sentenced to one year, and one was sentenced to three years hard labor in prison.

The defendants were arrested during protests that called for bringing down military rule and reinstating toppled President Mohamed Morsy and the 2012 Constitution. The protests led to clashes between the protestors and opponents.”

Aly el-Kabbany: “the judiciary system in Egypt showed that it is corrupt, that it is politically oriented”

PressTV: Egypt judiciary politically oriented, engulfed in corruption: Analyst

In this article: “An Egyptian tribunal’s slapping the death penalty on more than 500 supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, is proof of corruption in Egypt’s judicial system, an analyst tells Press TV. “Most certainly, the judiciary system in Egypt showed that it is corrupt, that it is politically oriented, that they are there to take orders from their military masters and they are there to obey,” Aly el-Kabbany said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.”

A statistical analysis of the numbers behind the harsh military crackdown in Egypt

Carnegie: Egypt’s Unprecedented Instability by the Numbers

In this article: “Egyptians have suffered through the most intense human rights abuses and terrorism in their recent history in the eight months since the military ousted then president Mohamed Morsi. The extent of this story has been largely obscured from view due to the lack of hard data, but estimates suggest that more than 2,500 Egyptians have been killed, more than 17,000 have been wounded, and more than 16,000 have been arrested in demonstrations and clashes since July 3. Another several hundred have been killed in terrorist attacks.

These numbers exceed those seen even in Egypt’s darkest periods since the 1952 military-led revolution that would bring Gamal Abdel Nasser to power. They reflect a use of violence that is unprecedented in Egypt’s modern political history.”

Dissident Brotherhood Youth Alliance seeking partnership with Nour Party

Egypt Independent: Brotherhood dissidents to form Islamist electoral alliance with Nour Party

In this article: “Amr Emara, coordinator of the Dissident Brotherhood Youth Alliance, said the dissidents are escalating steps against the Muslim Brotherhood. “We will choose our own candidate for the upcoming presidential elections,” he said.

Emara added that he asked for a meeting with the leaders of the Salafi Nour Party to discuss running in the parliamentary elections under one campaign and forming an Islamist alliance. He said he would also discuss ways to end the violence in the street by Brotherhood supporters.”

Security Sector

Gaza crossing to be opened for three days after 50-day closure

Arutz Sheva: After 50 Days, Egypt Set to Reopen Gaza Crossing

In this article: “Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas announced Wednesday that the blockaded territory’s border with Egypt would open after a 50-day closure, and told Palestinian Arabs wishing to travel to present their passports.

Egypt has severely restricted access through the crossing in the border city of Rafah since July, when the army deposed Hamas’s ally,  president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The crossing will reopen for three days starting Saturday, Hamas’s interior ministry said.”

Marginalized Groups

Fact finding committee rules that violence against Copts is rampant particularly in Luxor, Sohag, and Aswan

Egypt Independent: Fact-finding Committee: Violence against Copts continues in certain governorates

In this article: “The fact-finding committee of the 30 June incidents said violence against Copts is still continuing in certain governorates, especially in Luxor, Sohag and Aswan, including kidnapping, preventing them from practicing religion, expelling them from their homes, burning their houses and looting their shops.

The committee said in a statement on Tuesday that it met with representatives of the churches in these governorates, representatives from civil society organizations and eyewitnesses with documents and recordings and relayed the incidents to the competent authorities to take action.

The committee recently commissioned by the National Council for Human Rights also issued a report blaming the police and protesters for the violence and deaths that followed the dispersal of the Brotherhood sit-ins.”

Economy

Sisi’s new $40billion housing project: more of a publicity stunt than an actual solution to Egypt’s housing crisis?

Al Monitor: Multi-billion dollar project will not solve Egypt’s housing crisis

In this article: “Two weeks ago, the army announced that it would build 1 million housing units for low-income youths in collaboration with Arabtec Holding, a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The $40 billion project is the largest construction contract ever in the region. At the inaugural ceremony, Egypt’s popular army chief and Arabtec CEO Hasan Abdullah Ismaik promised to deliver the first units by 2017 and finish the entire project by 2020. The houses are to be developed in 13 locations spread across 10 governorates. Their construction will create a million new jobs, the army said. Egypt, which is suffering from a crippling housing crisis and an unemployment rate of 50% in some areas, rejoiced. Low-income housing in Egypt is usually priced at around $14,300 (100,000 Egyptian pounds) and then subsidized by the state, ECESR’s Zayed said. In other words, the apartments will be well beyond the reach of Egypt’s 10 million impoverished youths, a number calculated by the Egyptian-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

“The shortage of housing units is now estimated to be 3.5 million,” Zayed said. Although there are some 5.6 million units vacant or shuttered that could more than satisfy demand, many of these houses and apartments are not within the price range of those needing a place to live, Zayed explained.

This has pushed people into informal housing. CAPMAS estimates that between 12 million and 20 million people live in informal settlements across a thousand areas nationwide. In many of these areas, they lack such basic amenities as water, electricity and sewage facilities.