The family of detained Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy said on Wednesday that he and his two colleagues were moved to a lower security section of the Tora prison complex.  “It is confirmed that Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed are now in a lower security prison held together in the same cell,” said Fahmy’s Twitter account, which is operated by his family. They added that the conditions they are being held under have improved, attributing the change to pressure from foreign media.


Egypt army denies Sisi candidacy announcement reported in Kuwaiti newspaper
Egypt’s military spokesman Ahmed Ali has denied that army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told a Kuwaiti newspaper he would stand for president. “What was published in Al-Siyasa is merely journalistic speculation and not a direct statement from Field Marshal Sisi,” Ali said via Facebook. Al-Siyasa published a lengthy interview with Sisi on Wednesday in which he reportedly said he “would fulfill the people’s demands to run for president.” “Sisi’s decision to run for presidency is a personal decision that he will announce before the Egyptian people only through clear and direct words,” the statement added. Meanwhile, London-based Al-Hayat reported that the former governor of Luxor Major General Samir Farag, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Major General Mahmoud Nasr would be running Sisi’s presidential campaign. Mohamed al-Erian, CEO of PIMCO who will be leaving the company in March, has also denied earlier reports that he held prepare Sisi’s platform. [Ahram Online, AP, Mada Masr, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 2/6/2014]

Also of Interest:
Ministry of Endowments distances itself from fatwa on divorcing Brotherhood wives | AMAY (Arabic)
Nour says will support presidential candidate willing to implement sharia law | AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
President issues decree organizing affairs of medical profession | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egyptian court orders retrial for Port Said football killings
The Court of Cassation accepted on Thursday the challenge of at least forty-eight defendants in the Port Said massacre case, but rejected the appeal submitted by up to nine others. The court rejected some of the appeals on procedural grounds, as they are still being retried after they have received verdicts in absentia before turn themselves in. In March of last year, the Port Said Criminal Court gave varied verdicts to forty-five defendants, and acquitted twenty-eight others, including police leaders. The verdicts include the death sentence for twenty-one defendants, life imprisonment to five others, fifteen years in prison for another ten defendants, ten years in prison for six defendants, five years for two defendants and one year in jail for one defendant. The challenge means holding retrials for those who received verdicts. Thursday’s decision may lead to the conviction of those previously acquitted, and the possible easing of the sentences of the others or their acquittal. Both defendants and families of the soccer fan victims appealed the verdict in December. Cairo Criminal Court ordered that the defendants would be retried in front of a court that is different to the one that issued the previous ruling. According to Reuters, the death sentences were handed down during ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s year in office – but since then the political, and therefore judicial, landscape has reversed, with the case now being considered in a different light. [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 2/6/2014]

Six suspects referred to court over killing of French national
Central Cairo Prosecution referred six suspects accused of killing a French teacher, who was being held in a jail at Qasr al-Nil Police Department, to Criminal Court. The six suspects were ordered in September by Qasr al-Nil prosecution to be remanded for four days into custody over involvement in killing the French national called Eric Lang. Prosecution accused them of beating him to death, after preliminary investigations indicated Lang did not die of natural causes. Authorities claimed Lang was held for breaking the curfew without holding documents proving his legal presence in Egypt and that he was drunk. [Egypt Independent, 2/6/2014]

Also of Interest:
Mubarak corruption trial scheduled for February 19 | Mada Masr, DNE, Shorouk (Arabic)
Beltagy and Hegazy trial for killing two policemen begins February 20 | AMAY (Arabic)
Alexandria court denies grievance in ‘Prince of Thugs’ trial | DNE


Egypt’s energy subsidy expected to increase by up to 10 percent this fiscal year

Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said petroleum products subsidy is expected to increase by 10 percent by end of the current fiscal year to reach EGP 140 billion, compared to the current spending of EGP 130 billion. The minister added that “if Egypt wants to achieve huge growth rates in the near future, we should take serious measures to rationalize this subsidy. If the situation continues this way, Egyptian citizens, as well as the services rendered for them, especially in vital sectors like health and education, will be negatively affected.” [Egypt Independent, 2/5/2014]

Also of Interest:
Ministry of Manpower’s decision to freeze assets of workers’ union condemned | DNE
Saudi aid expected to flow after elections | Mada Masr
Increase in foreign stock investments as presidential elections approach | EGYNews (Arabic)
Egypt will close bank accounts of Americans who refuse financial monitoring | Ahram (Arabic)
Egypt forex reserves up for first time since August | Ahram Online
Egypt’s non-oil exports rise in 2013 | Al-Shofra
IDB allocates $220 million for Egyptian power project | DNE
Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves rises to $17.1 billion | Aswat Masriya


Al-Jazeera English journalists moved to lower security detention
The family of detained Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy said on Wednesday that he and his two colleagues were moved to a lower security section of the Tora prison complex.  “It is confirmed that Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed are now in a lower security prison held together in the same cell,” said Fahmy’s Twitter account, which is operated by his family. They added that the conditions they are being held under have improved, attributing the change to pressure from foreign media. Greste, an Australian, and Mohamed, an Egyptian, were detained at a high security section of the Tora prison in separate cells while Fahmy, an Egyptian-Canadian, was detained at the notorious Scorpion prison in the Tora complex. Family and friends of Fahmy said the three men were transferred to Molha’a al-Mazra’a, a section of the Tora prison usually reserved for high-profile detainees. Former members of the government of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, as well as Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa, have been held there. Sherif Fahmy, the brother of Mohamed Fahmy, told Mada Masr that the family had submitted another request for Fahmy to see a doctor. Fahmy has yet to receive any medical attention for a shoulder injury from which he was suffering before his arrest. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 2/5/2013]

Article reporting Sisi wealth pulled from publication
Publication of Al-Watan private daily newspaper’s Thursday issue was briefly halted after they printed a report claiming that the fortune of Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is worth EGP 30 million, media reports said. Chief Editor of Al-Watan, Magdy el-Gallad, denied its removal from the front page of the publication to Al-Wady news website, yet Thursday’s issue appeared late on newsstands, mentioning nothing about Sisi’s wealth. The article reportedly said that Sisi intends to submit a financial disclosure as part of his anticipated presidential bid. The report also claimed that he will officially declare his intention to run for presidential elections on February 11, which marks the third anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Yanair news website reported late on Wednesday that authorities banned the issue and ordered the newspaper to reprint it. [Mada Masr, 2/6/2014]

Gated metal barrier replaces wall blocking Tahrir entrance
A concrete wall blocking Qasr Al-Aini street in downtown Cairo has been replaced with a gated metal barrier. The gate can be closed to prevent protesters or rioters entering streets leading to the nearby interior ministry, parliament and government headquarters. Police and military personnel removed the concrete wall on Wednesday night and erected its replacement on Thursday morning. [Ahram Online, 2/6/2014]

Also of Interest:
Al-Jazeera: less than half of wanted Egypt reporters are staff | DNE
Egypt’s doctors syndicate and health ministry dispute strike numbers | Ahram Online
First case suspected with new swine flu died | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
Brotherhood without Violence: Brotherhood spent EGP 2 billion to finance demonstrations after Morsi’s overthrow | Shorouk (Arabic), Gateway (Arabic)


Second policeman dies after shooting in Egypt’s Sharqiya; Unknown assailants fire at Arish Police Club

A second policeman has died after a drive-by shooting in northern Egypt on Wednesday, state news agency MENA reported. Masked gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on two policemen – junior policeman al-Tablawi Moussa, 31, and conscript Sherif Bayoumi, 30 – on a highway in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya. Bayoumi died shortly after the attack while Moussa succumbed to his injuries later in the day. Meanwhile, unidentified assailants opened fire on the police club in Arish, early Thursday, but left no injuries.  Witnesses said that the unknown gunmen shot at the club, then forces started firing back, leading to clashes that left no casualties. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 2/6/2014]

Muslim Brotherhood member charged with Kerdasa police killings dies in prison
Dr. Mohamed Sayed al-Ghozlany, a Muslim Brotherhood member, died in a prison hospital due to high blood pressure and liver disease, according to an official security source. The defendant was arrested in Alexandria October of last year after his escape from the Kerdasa region. He faced charges of planning and participating in the Kerdasa police station events, which took place last August resulting in the death of eleven officers. [Egypt Independent, 2/6/2014]

Also of Interest:
Fifty-nine alleged militants killed and thirty arrested in raids on Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid | Ahram (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Germany voices concern over Egypt media freedom
Germany’s foreign minister voiced concern Wednesday over media freedom in Egypt, which has detained a number of Al-Jazeera broadcast journalists accused of being part of a “terror cell.” Berlin sees “developments that cause us concern” in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy. “It is important for our bilateral relations but also for the political process in North Africa that Egypt succeeds in the transition to a consolidated democracy,” Steinmeier added at a joint press conference in Berlin. [AFP/DNE, 2/6/2014]

Conflicting reports on status of Egyptian drivers said to be kidnapped in Libya
The dilemma of Egyptian drivers held captive by Libyan militants in Ajdabiya since Tuesday will be resolved soon, officials from the Egyptian and Libyan sides said Thursday, according to Egypt Independent. Around 400 Libyan and Egyptian drivers were reportedly held captive at the Libyan city. Spokesperson of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Badr Abdel Aty, told MBC Masr satellite channel late Wednesday that the crisis would be resolved soon. The militias reportedly abducted 400 drivers and seized around 300 Egyptian and Libyan trucks to pressure the Libyan government into fulfilling their demands. Official Libyan sources said that armed militias stopped the vehicles on the side of the roads and took the drivers’ passports, especially those belonging to the Egyptians. Libyan authorities have succeed in persuading the militants to allow Egyptian trucks to pass. However, Ahram Online reported that some twenty Egyptian drivers in Libya are stranded near the city of Ajdabiya and not kidnapped, according to Abdel Aty. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 2/6/2014]

Also of Interest:
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation | DNE
Egypt slams terrorist attacks in Iraq | SIS, Gateway (Arabic)