MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

February 5, 2016
Egypt's top prosecutor ordered the immediate reopening of Matariya Hospital on Thursday so that medical care can resume after doctors launched a strike over an assault by a group of policemen last week. Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek launched an investigation into the closure of the hospital to take legal action against those responsible for the strike. According to a statement issued by the Prosecutor General's office, the closure of the hospital and the suspension of medical service for citizens are considered crimes that are punishable by law and go against the Egyptian constitution. The doctors have said that they would strike until legal action is taken against the policemen involved in the incident. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2016]

COURTS

Photojournalist Shawkan set to appear in court on February 6
The trial of photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (known as Shawkan) and 738 others on multiple charges including belonging to a banned group, possessing firearms, murder, and vandalism, is set to continue on February 6. The first hearing of the trial, initially scheduled for December 12, was postponed due to limited space in the courtroom cage where all of the detained suspects would appear. The Impact Litigation Project of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law has called for Shawkan’s release, and submitted a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of the photojournalist. Reporters without Borders also issued a statement Friday calling for Shawkan’s release, as well as the release of six journalists who are facing a retrial in the Raba’a Operations Room trial. The journalists were originally sentenced to life in prison. “RSF is supporting six of the 14 journalists in this case, but not the other eight because it has not been clearly established that they were arrested in connection with their journalistic work,” the group said in its statement. [Free Shawkan, 2/5/2016]

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  • Prosecutor orders probe into bridge collapse in Upper Egypt | Ahram Online

ECONOMY

Egypt sees World Bank funds arriving soon, eyes more Saudi aid
Egypt expects to receive a $1 billion World Bank loan approved in December once it finalizes outstanding paperwork and negotiates more aid from Saudi Arabia, International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr said Thursday. However, Egyptian media has questioned whether the $1 billion tranche of a three-year $3 billion loan from the World Bank will arrive soon, as it is linked to the government's economic reform program, including plans for value-added tax (VAT). Egypt's new parliament has yet to ratify the government's economic plan or the World Bank loan. "We are just working on submitting the required documentation. It is nothing. We are normal. There is nothing [to say] about it," Nasr said of the loan. Egypt is also in talks with Saudi Arabia to secure more aid, Nasr said. Egypt is negotiating the the details of a Saudi pledge to invest $8 billion in Egypt and a separate pledge to provide Egypt with petroleum aid over five years. Egypt signed an initial three-month deal with Riyadh to meet immediate needs while talks were ongoing. [Reuters, 2/4/2026]

Also of Interest
  • Another round of high inflation anticipated following new custom tariffs | DNE
  • Egypt's foreign reserves rise in January for fourth month in a row | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
  • Egypt's benchmark index rises by 3.6 percent in trading last week | Aswat Masriya
  • National Bank of Egypt makes counterbid for CI Capital | Reuters
  • Egypt central bank meets exchange bureaus in bid to put lid on black market rates | Reuters

SOCIETY & MEDIA

Rights groups say Belady Foundation case reveals “continued suppression” of youth and civil society
A number of rights groups released a statement Wednesday denouncing the ongoing pretrial detention of Aya Hegazy, her husband Mohammed Hassanein, and five others in connection with the case against the Belady Foundation for Street Children. In May 2014, police raided the offices of the Belady Foundation pursuant to a complaint filed by a man who alleged that his missing son had been held in the foundation's premises in Downtown Cairo. They searched the office without a warrant from the prosecution, arrested Hegazy, Hassanein and two other volunteers present at the time of the raid as well as 17 children, the rights groups stated. The organizations, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Information (CIHRS) and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), demanded that all persons held in connection with the case be released and all charges against them dropped ahead of the upcoming fourth trial session, scheduled to take place on February 13. [Aswat Masriya, 2/4/2016]

Also of Interest
  • In Pictures: Taxi drivers protest against ‘private cabs’ | DNE

SECURITY

Two officers killed in attempt to thwart weapons smuggling on western border
The Spokesman for the Armed Forces Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said in a statement Thursday that two officers were killed in on Egypt’s Western border during a raid on cross-border smuggling. The operation was conducted in cooperation with border guards. According to the statement two smugglers were also killed in an exchange of fire. Samir added that two trucks loaded with weapons, ammunition, and narcotics were destroyed in the operation. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), SIS, 2/5/2016]

INTERNATIONAL

Senior adviser to Kerry to visit Cairo, Luxor next week
David Thorne, a Senior Adviser to US Secretary of State John Kerry, will start a tour of the region on Sunday, with plans to visit Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Cairo, and Luxor. During his stop in Egypt, Thorne will discuss regional economic issues as well as recent economic developments, the US Department of State said in a statement Thursday. On February 9, he will travel to Cairo to discuss a broad range of economic issues with senior Egyptian officials and business executives, as well as meet with representatives of US businesses operating in Egypt. Thorne will then travel to Luxor to meet with local officials and visit US Agency for International Development sponsored projects. He will visit a number of cultural sites in Luxor to highlight the contribution of Egypt's cultural heritage and antiquities preservation as a vehicle to promote tourism and economic development in the country. [SIS, 2/4/2016]  

Italy sends investigators to Egypt to work with police on Regeni's death
Italy has sent out a team of investigators to collaborate with Egyptian police on the death of Italian national Giulio Regeni, the Italian national public broadcaster RAI said Friday. RAI cited Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who also expressed his trust in Egypt's “full cooperation” on Regeni's case. According to Italian news agencies including RAI and ANSA a team of investigators comprising seven men from Italian police and Interpol will take part in the investigation. A funeral service was held for Regeni on Friday at an Italian church in Cairo. Security outside the chapel was high, with plainclothes intelligence officers and police patrolling the area. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meanwhile phoned Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to offer his condolences over Regeni’s death. [Aswat Masriya, 2/5/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Congo supports Egypt in Ethiopian dam issue: Prime minister | Ahram Online, SIS
  • House Speaker receives ambassadors of Germany, Oman, Morocco | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Foreign Ministry: There are common challenges in Africa requiring cooperation between Paris and Cairo | EgyNews (Arabic)

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