Egyptian prosecutors referred on Wednesday four foreign Al-Jazeera journalists and sixteen Egyptians, including Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, to criminal court. The sixteen Egyptian defendants face charges including belonging to a terrorist organization, harming national unity and social peace, and using terrorism as a means to their goals.


Brotherhood issue statement on SCAF support of Sisi presidential bid
The Muslim Brotherhood released a statement Tuesday in response to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) recent announcement of support for Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the upcoming presidential elections. “It has become evident that what happened July 3 was a military coup,” the statement reads. It blames SCAF for authorizing the “coup leader” to run for president, saying that the military has long dominated political life in Egypt and should stay away from politics altogether. The statement also accuses Sisi of responsibility for the death of “more than one hundred martyrs” on the third anniversary of the January 25 uprising, immediately after which Sisi was made field marshal, the highest possible rank in the Egyptian armed forces. The statement ends by warning that “the people will not accept being governed by a “cutthroat traitor” who they accuse of being in “relentless pursuit of the throne.” [DNE, 1/29/2014]

Also of Interest:
Insight: Mubarak-era networks return for new military man in Egypt | Reuters
Egyptian government panel freezes funds of forty-six Brotherhood leaders | Ahram Online
Election law to be amended within days | SIS
SCAF to pick Sisi’s successor next week | Shorouk (Arabic)


Four Al-Jazeera journalists and sixteen others referred to criminal court

Egyptian prosecutors referred on Wednesday four foreign Al-Jazeera journalists and sixteen Egyptians, including Peter Greste, Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, to criminal court. The sixteen Egyptian defendants face charges including belonging to a terrorist organization, harming national unity and social peace, and using terrorism as a means to their goals.The four foreigners face charges of collaborating with the Egyptians and providing them with information, equipment, and money as well as broadcasting false information and rumors to convince the international community that Egypt was undergoing a civil war. The case has become known as the “Marriott cell” because the journalists are accused of operating illegally from a room at the Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood. Eight of the accused are in custody, with arrest warrants issued for the twelve other journalists. [Ahram Online, AP, Aswat Masriya, 1/29/2014]

Lawsuit filed demanding dissolution of five Islamist parties
Journalist and founder of the Belady Movement, Mahmoud Nafady has filed a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of five religious parties for what he describes as their violation of Article 74 of the newly-ratified constitution. Article 74 states that political parties cannot be formed on a religious basis. The parties named in the lawsuit include the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the Salafi Nour Party, (the only Islamist party that is actively participating in Egypt’s current roadmap), the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party, the Asala Party, and the Watan Party. In addition to being founded on a religious basis, Nafady accuses them of discriminating against female members as the parties prevent women from holding leading positions. The lawsuit also states that the parties rely on militias to carry out their activities, and there are a number of members of these parties facing terrorism charges. [EGYNews (Arabic),1/29/2014]

Muslim Brotherhood terrorism lawsuit postponed to March 18
The Administrative Court has postponed the lawsuit to legally declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation to March 18, according to state-run Al-Ahram. On December 25, the Egyptian cabinet declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.  Director of Alhaqanya Law Centre Mohamed Abdel Aziz previously told Daily News Egypt, the cabinet’s decision is executive, not judicial. This means that although the organization is banned, no one can be tried for terrorism for simply for membership unless it is proven that they actually committed an act of terrorism as stipulated by Egyptian law. The current lawsuit would have the Administrative Court determine whether the cabinet’s decision fulfills the required criteria in order to pass as a court ruling. A court ruling naming the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization would mean that anyone proven to be affiliated with it could tried for terrorism, even if they had not committed any acts of terrorism. [DNE, 1/29/2014]

Also of interest:
257 Muslim Brotherhood members sent to trial in Alexandria | Egypt Independent
Egyptian Popular Current criticizes army statement on Sisi presidency options | Ahram Online
Eleven Brotherhood members detained fifteen days pending investigation in Minya | EGYNews (Arabic)
Court issues life sentence to two defendants in Nile City Towers case | DNE, AMAY (Arabic)
Brotherhood leaders to stand trial over October clashes | Aswat Masriya, Tahrir (Arabic)
Two Ultras members released, accused of blockading roads and violating protest law | Shorouk (Arabic)
Four Brotherhood members arrested in security crackdown in Alexandria | AMAY (Arabic)


Egypt targets $4 billion FDI by end of 2013/14: Minister
Egypt aims to attract $4 billion net foreign direct investment (FDI) by the end of the fiscal year 2013/14, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday, citing Osama Saleh, the minister of investment. Total FDI reached $9.2 billion in the last three years. The fiscal year 2010/11 saw $2.2 billion in FDI, and increased to $4 billion in 2011/12. It reached around $3 billion in fiscal year 2012/13, Saleh said. Saleh pointed out that last year Egypt witnessed a record of establishing more than 8,000 new companies, which he expects to double after achieving political stability. [Ahram Online, 1/28/2014]

Also of interest:
Government has spent EGP 18 billion of first stimulus package: Finance minister | DNE
Stocks hit 44-month high on Sisi and stimulus news | Mada Masr
Weight of US aid relative to Egyptian GDP has deteriorated: Dcode | DNE
Trade Minister: Government targets 15 percent increase in exports | SIS
Private sector union warns government against adopting minimum wage | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt Journalists’ Syndicate issues strong-worded statement against interior ministry
Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate has issued a strong-worded statement against the interior ministry after receiving complaints by reporters who were attacked by police while covering Saturday’s protests in Cairo. The statement said nineteen journalists were arrested while covering the third anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution. Other journalists – Egyptian and foreign – were assaulted while on duty and even shot at by security forces. Journalists were targeted with live bullets, the statement said, resulting in the severe injury of Mohamed Fawzy, a photographer for the Al-Wafd daily paper, who remains in hospital in critical condition. The syndicate warned the interior minister and senior police officials of the dangers of giving their officers and personnel a free rein against journalists, and vowed to take the necessary legal procedures against anyone involved in inciting against or assaulting journalists. [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/28/2014]

Also of interest:
Cairo-Upper Egypt train traffic resumes following one-week halt | Egypt Independent
Alleged leaked document detailing Hamas-Brotherhood plans is criticized | Mada Masr
Azhar Imam urges strict measures against terrorists | SIS, EGYNews (Arabic)
Ten Brotherhood members arrested in Qena for staging protest without permits | EGYNews (Arabic)
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights calls for release of detained students | DNE


Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis claims killing of Egypt interior minister’s aide
Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s assassination of an aide to the interior minister. Meanwhile, army spokesperson, Ahmed Ali, blamed the attack on the Muslim Brotherhood. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, an ideological offshoot of al-Qaeda, which has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in Egypt since July 2013, also threatened to kill Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and their aides, Al-Ahram reported. Al-Masry al-Youm reported that the ministry of interior has detained a number of suspects in connection with the assassination. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic), 1/29/2014]

Also of interest:
Morsi supporters fired at security checkpoint: Police | Ahram Online
Military aircrafts comb Sheikh Zuweid in search for gunmen, bombs areas south of Sheikh Zuweid | Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic)
Ahrar Islamist Movement claims disruption of metro, fires on January 28 | Mada Masr
Security source: Two “tafkiris” killed, forty arrested in Sinai | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic)
Bomb defused near gas company in Beheira | Shorouk (Arabic)
Four accused of carrying out Beni Suef ambush arrested | AMAY (Arabic)
Increased security around churches in Cairo and other governorates | AMAY (Arabic)
Unidentified assailants attempt to firebomb Alexandria police checkpoint | Ahram (Arabic)


Hamas describes allegations in Morsi’s jailbreak trial as ‘absurd and politicized’
The Palestinian group Hamas denied allegations made by Egyptian prosecutors during Tuesday’s trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi that the Islamist movement had helped Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood members escape from prison during the January 2011 uprising. Hamas condemned the accusations as being absurd, politicized and intent on targeting “the [Hamas] movement, its history and its people.” “All of these allegations are nothing but lies,” read the press statement issued by the group on Tuesday. “Stop exporting the Egyptian internal crisis to Gaza and Palestinians,” the statement added.  “It serves no one but the interest of the Zionist occupation, the main enemy of Egypt and Palestine.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 1/28/2014]

Egypt, US army officials discuss military ties in Cairo
Egypt’s Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Sedky Sobhy received on Wednesday Deputy Commander of the United States Central Command Mark Fox, an Egyptian army statement announced. According to Al-Ahram, the meeting – attended by several Egyptian army officials and the acting US ambassador in Cairo – tackled means of supporting and activating military cooperation and exchange of experiences between the two armed forces. Mofid Deak, spokesman for the US Embassy in Cairo, said that Fox would meet with a number of government officials to discuss security and military issues of mutual concern to the two nations. Deak then reiterated that the meetings, which will cover “a range of issues”, are based solely on military cooperation. [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/29/2014]

Also of interest:
Mansour updates African leaders ahead of AU meeting on Egypt | DNE
Blair in Cairo for Middle East talks | Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic)
Beblawy pays tribute to the role of Saudi Arabia in helping Egypt fight terrorism | Shorouk (Arabic)