Weekly Roundup – Apr11, 2014

04/11/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

This Week in TIMEP Commentary

A Sad Story of Freedom of Expression: How Do You Sing in Egypt?” – By: Ahmed Naje

Egypt’s Sectarian Divides: A Look at the Situation on the Anniversary of St. Mark’s Attack” – By: David Johnson

Pope Tawadros II and the Negligence of Human Rights” – By: Basil el Dabh & Ramy Yaacoub

Absent and Malign: The State’s Roles in Sectarian Division” – By: Jay Roddy

Sectarianism in Egypt: A Constant Threat” – By: Mai El Sadany

Legal & Political Institutions

The Egyptian cabinet has decided to implement the new anti-terrorist laws to penalize anyone who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, promotes it, or funds it for engaging in terrorism. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram]

Supporters of former interim vice president Mohamed El Baradei have yet to give up hope that the founder of the Dostour Party will run for president. His supporters have started a campaign called “Authorize Elbaradei [to run] for President” and have been collecting signatures to support his presidential run and return El Baradei’s name to the front of politics. The campaign manager has stressed that the group was launched without El Baradei’s knowledge or approval. [Al Monitor]

The Presidential Elections Committee [PEC] has announced regulations for civil society organizations seeking to follow-up the upcoming presidential elections. The organizations are required to submit a series of paperwork in order to be issued a permit to monitor polling in Egypt’s governorates. [Egypt SIS]

Mortada Mansour has announced his candidacy for president, now the third candidate behind Field Marshal Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahi. The lawyer and head of Zamalek sports club has asserted that his electoral program will involve ending all strikes and protests in Egypt by jailing strikers who do not cooperate. He plans to call for a constitutional amendment to restore full powers to the president, and to amend the Camp David Accords to allow the army to be fully deployed in Sinai. Mansour also announced his support for religious freedom, given that Egyptians can only belong to Abrahamic faiths. Mansour’s political agenda also included his plans for ending thuggery and sexual harassment and maintaining strict censorship. [Daily News Egypt, KingFut, World Bulletin, SBS, Ahram, Huffington Post]

Gender & Sexuality

Lawmakers in Egypt have, for the first time, proposed new legislation specifically defines and penalizes perpetrators of sexual harassment in Egypt. The draft law clearly defines a harasser as, “someone who accosts others in a public or private place through following or stalking them, using gestures or words or through modern means of communication or any other means through actions that carry sexual or pornographic hints.” The draft law has been sent to the cabinet for approval. [CNN, IBTimes, Al Bawaba, BellaNaija, Al Arabiya]

Women activists in Egypt are concerned that the rights that were recently enshrined in the constitution will not be applied in practice, or will turn out to be “merely ink on paper.” Among their main concerns are men’s “near-lock” on decision-making in politics, sexual violence in public spaces, and the lack of progress in democratic reforms to ensure women’s rights. [AP, Asharq al-Awsat, Star Tribune]

An Egyptian court has sentenced four men to eight years in prison for “practising homosexulity”. The men were accused of deviant behavior following their arrest. [Daily Star Lebanon, Masrawy-ar]

Marginalized Groups

A deadly feud between an Arab Bani Hilal tribe and Nubian Daboudia clan in the Aswan province erupted last week over the harassment of a girl. According to the Associated Press, fighting continued while Egyptian security forces did little to stop it, resulting in 24 deaths and dozens of injuries. The Ministry of Interior announced that it has arrested three members of the Bani Hilal tribe involved in the clashes. While military and police patrols have been deployed to maintain peace–a truce between the tribes has been brokered. [Ahram, Daily News Egypt, Guardian, Turkish Press, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, CNN, NYT, Al Jazeera]

Following tribal violence between the Nubian Daboud village and the Ben Hilal clan that left 27 dead in Aswan, 40 people have been arrested. [Egypt Independent]

The number of Syrian refugees in Egypt continues to rise, however, it has become increasingly difficult for the refugees to find place for their children in Egypt’s public schools. “Refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in Egypt complain of unaffordable school costs in private and public schools, bureaucratic enrollment procedures, and a growing atmosphere of suspicion, xenophobia, and discrimination in the classroom.” [IRIN]

Rights & Freedoms

The Al Jazeera case of the detention of Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Peter Greste has been adjourned to April 22. In today’s trial, the prosecutors presented their first round of evidence in the form of videos that were found in the defendants’ possession. The videos included news clips about animals and others about Christian life in Egypt. The judge dismissed the videos as irrelevant. [Mada Masr, AP, LATimes, NYT, NPR]

An Egyptian court has upheld the three-year prison sentence of April 6 Youth Movement’s Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel, and activist Ahmed Douma–who were found guilty last December of crimes under Egypt’s controversial Protest Law. [Mada Masr, Jeune Afriquefr, Aswat Masriya, Ahram, BBC]

Egyptian activists have ended their sit-in in front of the presidential palace that began last week to call for the appeal of three activists prison sentences. Now, the protesters are giving President Mansour three days to repeal the controversial anti-protest law and pardon the three jailed activists. [Daily Sabah, Ahram]

Anti-government groups in Cairo staged a march against the controversial protest law that recently jailed three leading youth activists in Egypt. The march, as part of a campaign organized by several political movements, is one of many planned public demonstrations calling for the revocation of the protest law. [Ahram, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya]

Economy

The Kuwaiti oil minister has stated that Kuwait is in talks to renew oil supply contracts to Egypt, and is looking for potential investments in Egypt’s energy sector. [Reuters]

The Egyptian environmental ministry and UNDP have launched a program with “the objective of developing a sustainable financing system for natural protected areas in Egypt.” This cooperation comes after Egypt’s decision to allow factories to operate with coal power, and Egypt’s impending energy crisis/fuel shortage. [Ahram]

Egypt has announced plans to complete the first stage of a high-speed rail system between Alexandria and Giza. The rail project, which will cost about LE20billion, is due to be completed in 2017 and boasts that it will transport about 50million passengers per year, with eat trip taking 35 minutes. [Amwal al Ghad]

Foreign Relations

Human Rights Watch is calling on the United States to acknowledge that Egypt has made “no progress on developing basic freedoms or on its democratic transition” and urged against resuming military aid. [HRW]

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief voiced support for Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s bid for presidency in her recent trip to Cairo. She expressed that “she understood his bid for the presidency was motivated by a sense of responsibility, not the pursuit of power.” Ashton was visiting Cairo to monitor the political situation pre-elections, and finalized plans for the EU to officially monitor elections next month. [Mada Masr, Ahram, EuroMed, APA]

After the announcement that the UK government would be initiating a ‘review’ of Muslim Brotherhood activities, the House of Lords has suggested that the MB inquiry could ‘discredit’ the UK, with the subtext of going after the group for more than security issues, but rather geopolitical ones, as the Saudi Arabian ambassador was leading the review. [BBC]

In a State Department press release, the United States has announced the designation of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis as a “Foreign Terrorist organization.” The Egyptian government, though they have not yet officially labeled ABM as a terrorist organization, has welcomed the US’s ruling. [State.gov, Daily News Egypt, AP, Reuters, Ahram, Asharq al Awsat]