MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

February 4, 2016
Egyptian officials released conflicting reports as to the cause of Italian PhD candidate Giulio Regeni's death on Thursday, days after the Italian government announced it was growing increasingly concerned about his disappearance. The prosecutor leading the investigation team on the case, Ahmed Nagi, said Regeni’s body had been found with stab wounds, cigarette burns, cuts to the ears and signs of beatings and a “slow death.” Officials from the Interior Ministry's Giza Security Directorate gave different accounts of the possible reasons for Regeni's death. The Deputy Head of Criminal Investigations in Giza, Alaa Azmi said earlier that an initial investigation showed Regeni was killed in a road accident, adding that the preliminary forensic report had not mentioned any burns. “We have to wait for the full report by forensic experts. But what we know is that it is an accident,” Azmi said. In Rome, Italy's Foreign Ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador to express concern over Regeni’s death. Italy called for the immediate opening of a “joint investigation with the participation of Italian experts,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A business delegation from Italy also cut short their visit to Egypt when news of Regeni’s death was confirmed. Egypt’s Industry Ministry had said "significant economic accords" were due to be signed during the visit, without giving details. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online, AMAY, AP, Reuters, The Guardian, 2/4/2016]

POLITICS


Port Said MPs oppose Sisi’s appeal to Ultras
Parliamentary members from Port Said voiced their objection to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call for dialogue with the Ultras football fan groups. Meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail late Wednesday, the MPs asked to convey their opposition to Sisi, pointing out that “a state of tension among the people of Port Said that requires the president to deliver a statement elaborating on his initiative or pay a visit to the province.” In a phone interview on Monday, Sisi said “I call on the Ultras to select ten of their members whom they trust to be part of a committee to look into all the details concerning this case and determine what more can be done,” in reference to the 2012 Port Said disaster in which 72 Ahly Ultras were killed. Future Party Spokesperson Ahmed Hosni called for the prosecution of those responsible for the disaster, and welcomed the Ultras’ response to Sisi’s statement, describing it as positive and rational. [AMAY, 2/4/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Egypt’s Cabinet authorizes establishment of Transport Authority | Cairo Post

COURTS


Morsi espionage trial adjourned to February 8
Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Wednesday the trial of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and ten Muslim Brotherhood members to February 8 over charges of espionage. They are accused of revealing national security documents to Qatar. The previous session was adjourned in order to bring the seventh suspect from prison and hear testimony of Cairo’s general transportation authority chief. The court also ordered the summoning of a technical person to exhibit the CDs presented during the last session, and ordered for a copy of the decision on the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood. [AMAY, 2/3/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Zind’s first TV interview: What went wrong? | DNE
  • Ayyat collision train driver released on bail | AMAY

ECONOMY

International consortium approves $341 million loan to upgrade Egypt’s energy infrastructure
A consortium of international financiers has approved to lend Sonker, a private Egyptian storage and bunkering company, $341 million upgrade the country’s oil and gas infrastructure. The financing package includes a $72 million senior loan and $22 million mezzanine loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide a $70 million senior loan along and a $22 million mezzanine loan. The IFC will also mobilize $52.5 million from other investors. Egypt's Commercial International bank will also provide $102 million in financing, which includes a $44 million local currency loan and a $30 million credit support instrument. Sonker aims to construct and operate a bulk-liquids terminal at Ain Sokhna Port on the Red Sea for import and storage of gasoil, liquefied petroleum gas, and liquefied natural gas. The company’s new infrastructure will help accommodate the docking of two floating storage and regasification units, the EBRD said. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Mada Masr obtains Sisi’s presidential decree for World Bank loan | Mada Masr
  • Egypt's stocks close the week up | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt's Banque Misr set for $100 million China Development Bank loan | Reuters
  • Yields on Egypt's 6-month and 1-yr T-bills rise at auction on Thursday | Reuters

SOCIETY & MEDIA

Egyptian rights activist Gamal Eid banned from travelling
Prominent Egyptian activist and lawyer Gamal Eid has said that security officials prevented him from travelling from Cairo to Athens early Thursday morning amid what he describes as a campaign against rights campaigners critical of authorities. Eid, a manager at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said in a social media statement that he found out about the travel ban decision while he was at the airport. He was barred from leaving on a dawn flight bound to Athens after his name was found on a no-fly list, airport officials told Aswat Masriya. Eid said that he was not provided with a reason for the ban by the airport authorities. The officials said that the ban comes from a decision by the country's top prosecutor on the grounds that Eid is involved in an ongoing trial. "His luggage was discharged off the plane and he was allowed to leave," one of the officials said. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Aswat Masriya, 2/4/2016]

NCHR demands to visit prisons, police stations across Egypt
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) requested on Tuesday permission from the Ministry of Interior to visit several prisons and police stations nationwide in order to implement a plan with the ministry to improve conditions in prisons and police station. The council’s decision comes in response to numerous complaints received from prisoner’s families about substandard conditions and neglect inside prisons, and the widespread cases of torture in police stations, as reported by the media. The plan is to visit a list of prisons and police stations to check prisoners’ standards of living and their health, to review all complaints, and to attempt to regulate overcrowding in prisons--a major source of disease and infection. It was also reported that the NHCR will attempt to address the issue of enforced disappearances through their visits to prisons and police stations. [DNE, 2/3/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Hospital remains closed to protest police officer assault | AMAY, DNE

SECURITY

Militants killed in Cairo planned attacks against police says MOI
Egypt's Interior Ministry said in a statement that the two militants killed on Wednesday in the Cairo suburb of Maadi were planning attacks in response to the earlier killing by authorities of an Ajnad Masr militant group leader, Ahmed Galal Ahmed Mohamed Ismail. The circumstances surrounding Ismail's death remain unclear. Ismail's family says he was arrested at a police checkpoint in Maadi on January 19 then forcedly disappeared. His corpse was found with a gun shot in the head earlier this week. Earlier this week, Egypt's semi-official National Council of Human Rights asked the ministry to investigate Ismail’s death. The ministry said that the militants were planning to target several public figures, including politicians, and army and police members, adding that the pair was involved in several terrorist operations. The ministry said the attacks included the murder of an army conscript on the Autostrad road in Cairo; the killing of two low ranking policemen in Helwan; the bombing of a policeman's car in Helwan; and the assassination of North Sinai's Sheikh Khaled Khalaf al-Menei, who was killed for allegedly collaborating with the security apparatus in the troubled governorate. [Ahram Online, 2/3/2016]

INTERNATIONAL

Saudi authorities arrest ten Egyptians on terror charges
Saudi authorities arrested ten Egyptians over terrorism-related charges in a security raid that took place in the last five days, a Saudi newspaper reported Thursday. The newspaper said that security officials arrested 40 suspects, including 27 Saudis, ten Egyptians, two Yemenis and a Jordanian. Some media outlets reported last week that Saudi Arabia, which is a member of an international military coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), arrested 55 suspects on charges of association with extremists and radical groups. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Russia says it plans to supply Egypt with 40 commercial jets | Ahram Online
  • German teen faces life ban from Egypt after scaling Khufu pyramid | Ahram Online
  • Families of missing fishermen call on authorities to resume search | Cairo Post

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