Atlantic Council
February 07, 2013
Womens Protest Ahram Online.JPG

Egypt's most prominent opposition leader criticized the Islamist government on Wednesday for its silence over a Muslim cleric's edict calling for the death of opposition supporters.

GOVERNMENT & OPPOSITION

Egypt opposition leader warns over death edict 
Egypt's most prominent opposition leader criticized the Islamist government on Wednesday for its silence over a Muslim cleric's edict calling for the death of opposition supporters. Mohamed ElBaradei was responding to well-known ultra-conservative cleric Mahmoud Shaaban, who said in a TV show last week that the opposition should be punished by death for seeking to bring down a leader who has been elected by the public. Prime Minister Hesham Kandil expressed his rejection of such "extreme" statements, adding that the Cabinet is taking the necessary legal procedures to take action against anyone who issues or promotes incentives to use violence against opponents. Egyptian police deployed security at the homes of ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahy. Following the killing of Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid on Wednesday, Islamist figures in Egypt have attempted to reassure the country's non-Islamist opposition. [AP, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Watan(Arabic), 2/6/2013]

FJP member refutes claim Brotherhood behind sexual attacks
Freedom and Justice Party member Azza al-Garf refuted claims Thursday that the Muslim Brotherhood had hired thugs to harass and assault female protesters. Women's groups claim the increase in sexual violence during protests and clashes over the last few weeks is the work of Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood. Mob-led sexual assaults targeting Egypt's female protesters could increase if perpetrators are not punished, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday. Amnesty said statements from victims show that the assaults follow a "clear pattern," where mobs of men encircle the victims, assault them with weapons and hands and then try to undress them. [Egypt Independent, AP, Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Salvation Front youth call for mass rallies, Friday of 'toppling the regime'
National Salvation Front (NSF) youth members together with other political coalitions called Wednesday for fresh rallies Friday under the banner "Toppling the regime." At a press conference held at the Wafd Party headquarters, youth members of the front called for mass demonstrations to take place in Egypt's squares. To garner as much support as possible, demonstration organizers are going door-to-door in a grassroots campaign urging citizens to show up in force. The groups also announced they will form a legal committee to trace the killers of the revolution's youth. The committee is also to follow up on all cases related to the January 25 Revolution including those related to the detained, missing and tortured during the presidential palace demonstrations. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 2/6/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt's presidency won't stay silent on torture cases: Spokesman | Ahram Online
Egypt's government nearing end of the road, says ex-PM | Reuters
Government to switch to open source | DNE

COURTS & CONSTITUTION

Report against NSF leaders referred to Egypt's state security prosecution

Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah has referred on Thursday a report against National Salvation Front (NSF) leaders – accusing them of supporting vigilante groups to overthrow the government – to the Supreme State Security Prosecution for investigation. The report, filed by lawyer Essam Khalil, accuses Constitution Party head Mohamed ElBaradei, Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, Conference Party head Amr Moussa, Constitution Party member Gamila Ismail, Wafd Party head al-Sayed al-Badawi and other figures in the NSF for inciting the public against President Mohamed Morsi. [Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

ECONOMY

Fitch may cut Egypt rating again depending on election 
Egypt is at risk of a further credit rating downgrade if the country does not manage to hold parliamentary elections that are accepted by most political factions, a Fitch analyst said on Wednesday. The ratings agency cut Egypt to B from B-plus last week, taking it deep into 'junk' territory, and warned it might cut further. On Wednesday it said the still unscheduled parliamentary elections and lack of progress on a loan from the International Monetary Fund could be "triggers" for a downgrade. [Reuters, 2/6/2013]

Egypt's Central Bank issues new measures to boost economy
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has this week issued new measures aimed at easing regulations on the transfer of funds into and out of the country, and to facilitate importation of basic goods. Under the new measures, Egyptian expatriates will be able to transfer any amount of foreign currency out of their Egyptian bank accounts if they provide their bank with proof that their investments in the country are partially or completely over. CBE added that with this measure Egyptian expats would be encouraged to increase their foreign exchange transfers into Egypt. The central bank also said that importers of basic commodities, such as food, medicines, fodder, machineries and petroleum products would be exempted from the compulsory requirement to place collateral (50 per cent of the transaction value) in a local bank. [Ahram Online, 2/6/2013]

Sinai Development Agency proposes land sales to Egyptians expats 
The Sinai Development Agency is considering a plan to sell land in the peninsula to Egyptians living and working abroad.Shawqi Rashwan, president of the agency, said that the idea was first proposed by the Agriculture committee of the Shura Council. 80,000 acres would be auctioned by the agency, twenty-five percent of it to be sold in a closed auction exclusively for Sinai residents, with the remaining 75% to be sold in an open auction for residents and nonresidents. [DNE, 2/6/2013]

Also of Interest:
Global economy crisis adds more challenges to Egypt in 2013 | DNE
Currency auction by Egypt's central bank nets $49.2 million | Ahram Online

SECURITY & SINAI

Activist found beaten, unconscious in Mahalla

A political activists was found unconscious in a Mahalla street, on Wednesday evening, with signs of torture and severe physical abuse on his body. Mahalla Textile Company employee Mohamed Asad said residents found Mohamed al-Abyad, also a company employee, lying on the ground unconscious in Canal Street. The activist was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. A medical report was written on his condition and the incident was reported to police. No suspects have yet been identified. [Egypt Independent, 2/6/2013]

Also of Interest:
Caught between opposing forces, military is reluctant to step back into politics | Egypt Independent

SOCIETY & MEDIA

Egyptian rights group reveals human cost of recent violence 
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) says 2,028 people have been injured and 56 killed in the upsurge of violence since the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. The organization said 1,667 civilians and 361 police across eight governorates have been injured. Fifty-three civilians and three police officers have died. Moreover, 35 governmental institutions and 13 private institutions have been attacked. Until Wednesday, 450 protesters had been detained, with 70 released pending investigations. The head of the Tahrir Doctors Association has alleged that association member Mohamed al-Qorany was subject to "premeditated murder." Qorany, also known as Kristy, was killed during recent clashes in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district. [Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Women march carrying blades on anti-harassment protest
Hundreds of women on Wednesday organized an anti-harassment protest and marched while carrying bladed weapons to defend themselves. Several activists, rights groups, and anti-harassment campaigns had called for a march to declare their rejection of the policies of intimidation and violence in protests and peaceful demonstrations. The protesters held pictures of prominent female figures such as Huda Shaarawi, Um Kolthoum, and Shahenda Maqlad. A number of political parties, activists, and public figures took part in the march. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 2/6/2013]

Journalist says mugging was planned assault
A journalist from Al-Masryoun newspaper, which has ties to Islamist groups, said Wednesday that he had been deliberately targeted in a Heliopolis attack. Mohamed al-Meshtawy alleged that five men with blades approached him on Lotfy al-Sayyed Street, telling him to give them his mobile phone. When he refused, the men attacked, cut his hand and then stole his wallet and other documents. "I think the incident has to do with my work as a journalist because they stole my press card and did not take anything else.” [Egypt Independent, 2/7/2013]

Also of Interest:
Press Syndicate elect new board DNE
Fishermen protest in Kafr al-Sheikh to protect livelihood | Egypt Independent
6 April march demanding justice for Jika | DNE
Protests erupt in Qaliubiya governorate | DNE, Ahram Online

REGIONAL & INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Islamic Summit Urges Dialogue In Syria 
An Islamic organization on Thursday urged Syrian opposition forces and members of President Bashar Assad's regime whose hands are not tainted by violence to hold talks to try to resolve the nation's bloody civil war. At the end of a two-day summit in Cairo, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that such talks could help achieve the "aspirations of the Syrian people for democratic reforms and change." The statement did not call on Assad to step down, but the summit exposed conflicting views among Muslim and Arab nations about the Syrian civil war.[AP, Ahram Online/AFP, EGYNews (Arabic), 2/7/2013]

Ties between Iran and Egypt thaw further
President Mohamed Morsi may be mulling a second trip to Tehran, telling his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "We will visit you soon." Morsi made the comments Wednesday before the second day of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo. Ahmadinejad said in an interview that the Iranian public supports strengthening ties with Egypt. In a sign ties are already warming, Salehi said Wednesday that Tehran plans to allow Egyptians to visit Iran without a visa starting this month, reported state news agency MENA. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Egyptian Islamist groups denounce Tunisia assassination
Representatives of Jama'a al-Islamiya, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nour Party condemned Thursday the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid. The leftist lawyer was gunned down on Wednesday in an attack that sparked mass protests and prompted Tunisia's ruling Islamists to dissolve the government and promise early elections. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced Belaid's assassination, while spokesperson Ahmed Aref described it as a "hideous crime." [Egypt Independent, 2/7/2013]

Egypt Foreign Ministry rejects US senator's remarks 
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry rejected statements made by US Senator Jim Inhofe calling for a US-led regime change in the country. An official spokesperson for the ministry described Senator Inhofe’s remarks as meddling in the nation’s internal affairs, but stressed that these statements should not affect the relationship between Egypt and the US. [EGYNews (Arabic), 2/7/2013]

Also of Interest:

Morsi Meets Gul | SIS, EGYNews (Arabic)
Al-Azhar criticizes West over curbing Muslims freedom | SIS

Photo: Ahram Online

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