Weekly Roundup – Mar 21, 2014

03/21/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

A former Egyptian presidential candidate, Khaled Ali, close to the country’s youth movements said Sunday he would not take part in upcoming presidential elections, calling them a “farce” stacked in favor of Egypt’s powerful military chief. [Associated Press]

Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reshuffled top regional army posts on Monday, including the heads of Egypt’s second army and Egypt’s southern military zone. [Ahram, Mada Masr, AP]

Head of Central Auditing Organization (CAO) Hisham Geneina said that there is no real financial supervision of the interior ministry and that CAO auditors were mistreated upon attempting to complete inspection at the ministry. “The Ministry of Interior mistreated CAO auditors in a very bad way when they went to inspect the ministry’s financial matters, one of the auditors was personally searched in a humiliating way,” Hisham Geneina told Al Shorouk newspaper on Tuesday, in a long two part interview. The Head of CAO also revealed that the CAO auditors and officials were not given access to the financial records and files of the ministry. [Shorouk News-arabic, Ahram]

Five Egyptian political parties–Egyptian Popular Current, the liberal Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Nasserist Al-Karama Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party ­– asked Mansour to amend article 7 of an elections law he issued earlier this month so that presidential candidates will be allowed to appeal the results of the polls. [Ahram]

Gender & Sexuality

A female student at Cairo University was sexually attacked by tens of her colleagues from the law faculty for wearing black trousers and a pink sweater on campus, an outfit that the university’s head has referred to as a “mistake.” The woman was surrounded by the group of male students who verbally and physically assaulted her, in addition to trying to strip off her clothes, according to a statement released on Monday by the anti-sexual harassment campaign “I Witnessed Harassment.” She then ran to the bathroom and hid until security personnel came to escort her from the campus. [Ahram, Daily News Egypt]

A case of mass sexual assault on a female student at Cairo University on Monday has led to a storm of accusations on TV channels and social networking sites.

This alarming incident has also raised questions and concerns regarding Egyptian society’s toleration of sexual harassment and its apparent acceptance of physical assaults on women nationwide. A Facebook campaign was launched as a retort to several of the TV channel accusations against the student. [Mada Masr, Buzzfeed, Ahram, Guardian]

Security Sector

Two policemen were killed on Monday during a security raid that targeted wanted suspects for possessing weapons. Major General Mohamed Kamal, Qena security chief, was notified over the death of First Lieutenant Mahmoud Mohamed Hanafy, 23, and Police Sergeant Ibrahim Abdel Hamid, 38, after being shot during the raid. On storming the house of the suspect, he fired heavy shots, killing the two officers. [Egypt Independent]

Two Egyptian army officers were killed on Wednesday in a shootout with members of a Sinai-based Islamist militant group, the Interior Ministry said. It said five militants were killed and four arrested when the military and police raided a bomb and weapons storage facility. The fighters belonged to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, one of Egypt’s most active militant organisations, the ministry said. Security sources said gunfire erupted during a raid on a militant safehouse where the men were hiding in Qalubiya province, north of Cairo. They said an army colonel and brigadier general, both bomb disposal experts, were killed. [Reuters, Ahram, Daily Star Lebanon, Al Jazeera, Daily News Egypt]

Marginalized Groups

A wave of strikes has been sweeping Egypt for over a month, bringing some sectors to a standstill. The strike by about 38,000 public bus drivers forced authorities to use the army and the private sector to provide alternative services, costing the government over $100,000. Doctors, steel and textile workers are among those who have also carried out industrial action. [BBC]

 

Egyptian authorities raided a conference of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy in Cairo’s Garden City on Tuesday and held the attendees, Essam al-Sawy, from the Building and Development Party, told Aswat Masriya. The conference was meant to discuss the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in which was held in August in support of ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Vagazette, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr]

Many Egyptians living with Hepatitis C, HIV, and AIDS are taking heavy financial risks to invest in the army’s ‘miracle cure’. While the miracle cure has now become the punchline of countless jokes, many in Egypt continue to believe in it. Egypt’s health ministry has announced that it will reproduce the device and begin offering treatments, and reports have surfaced of Egyptians trying to offer bribes to senior military and health officials who they believe can get them the miracle cure. [Buzzfeed]

Cairo University expelled 23 students accused of clashes and of hoisting the al-Qaeda flag during demonstrations called by the Muslim Brotherhood last Wednesday in the Egyptian capital, university sources told ANSA. [AnsaMed]

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, says he “will spare no effort” to quickly resolve the case of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste. Mansour, who is also head of the country’s constitutional court, has written a letter in response to one sent by the Al-Jazeera journalist’s parents, Lois and Juris Greste. Greste is facing up to seven years in jail after being accused of backing the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood and portraying Egypt in a state of “civil war”. Mansour wrote: “Notwithstanding the independence of the judiciary authority and foremost all the rights guaranteed by the law, I would like to assure you in my capacity as president of Egypt that I will spare no effort to work towards the speedy resolution of the case in a fashion consistent with the law and that guarantees the resumption of the family in the near future.” [The Guardian, Daily News Egypt]

Sixteen out of a total of 19 Egyptian human rights organizations submitted a report on Tuesday about the state of human rights in Egypt over the past four years for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present at the second session of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.

The review will begin 27 October and end 7 November. The report monitored the extent to which successive Egyptian governments respected human rights, including the right to life, economic and social rights, political participation and security practices, which were the subject of the majority of the report’s recommendations, as well as mechanisms to hold violators accountable. [Egypt Independent, Daily News Egypt]

Economy

Vodafone will invest LE9 billion ($1.2 billion) in Egypt by 2017 to create more than 3,000 job opportunities, Serpil Timuray, Vodafone’s regional CEO for Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region told Al-Ahram daily in an interview published on Monday. [Ahram]

With blackouts, energy shortages and oil debts making headlines, a new report from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) looks back at how past energy deals have contributed to Egypt’s current financial woes. According to the report, poor negotiation and corruption cost Egypt US$10 billion in lost revenue between 2005 and 2011. [Mada Masr, Jadaliyya]

Revenues from Egypt’s vital waterway Suez Canal, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, are expected to reach $5.5 billion in the current fiscal year, the head of the authority that manages the waterway said on Thursday. Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Memish said this would be a record high. [Ahram]

Foreign Relations

Members of the UN Human Rights Council called on Egypt and Sudan on March 14, 2014, to investigate and prosecute traffickers for kidnapping, torturing, and killing refugees in the Sinai Peninsula. The 24 countries sponsoring the German-led statement also called on both countries to identify and prosecute any security officials who may have colluded with traffickers. [HRW]

Interim President Adly Mansour said that the security of Gulf area is one of Egypt’s national security priorities, and that Egypt was fighting the war on terrorism on behalf of the Middle East region. [Ahram]