Top News: Activist Ahmed Douma Arrested, April 6’s Ahmed Maher to Remain in Detention

Prominent activist Ahmed Douma was arrested at his home in Cairo and taken to a police station on Tuesday morning, he said via Twitter. He did not specify the reason for his arrest. Meanwhile, activist Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, will remain in detention for four days pending investigations on charges related to violating a new protest law, despite an earlier order that he be released.


Egypt: Morsi’s links to jihadists probed
During his year as president, Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi cultivated ties with Islamic radicals, making them a key support for his rule by pardoning dozens of jailed militants, restraining the military from an all-out offensive against jihadis in Sinai and giving their hard-line sheikhs a platform to spread their rhetoric. Since Morsi’s ouster, violence by jihadi groups has escalated into a full-fledged insurgency, with increasing shootings, bombings and al-Qaeda-style suicide attacks against troops and police in Sinai. The investigation marks a new track of possible prosecution against Morsi, who is already on trial on charges of inciting murder over a December attack by Islamists on protesters and who is under investigation on possible other charges. Security and military officials said they believe Morsi is at least “indirectly” linked to the militant violence, saying they are investigating whether he and his Brotherhood had contacts with the groups while in power, cultivating them to bolster their rule against opponents. [AP, 12/3/2013]

Also of Interest:
Qena governor allocates public space for the peaceful protest | AMAY (Arabic)
Ministry of Interior won’t allow protests in Tahrir without approval | AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)  
NCHR: Protest law won’t hold up for long | Mada Masr


Mansour expected to approve draft constitution; Parties begin campaigning for and against constitution
Chairman of the constitution drafting committee Amr Moussa presented on Tuesday the final draft of the charter – finalized Sunday evening – to interim President Adly Mansour. According to government sources, Mansour is expected to promptly approve the text and call for a referendum on the constitution, with a referendum taking place in the first or second week of January. A source at the Ministry of Information said the next few weeks would be “well utilized” by the state-run media to “encourage people to vote in favor of the new constitution.” A similar account was offered by two sources in two key privately owned Egyptian channels – with one talking about “an intensive campaign to lobby for a ‘yes’ vote. Moussa also called on Egyptians to vote ‘yes’ in the upcoming constitutional referendum during a press conference following his meeting with Mansour. Among the groups expressing support for the constitution are the Karama Party, the Popular Socialist Alliance, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Popular Current and the Tamarod movement. Meanwhile, Strong Egypt Party, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, and the No to Military Trials group all announced their rejection of the newly amended constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has also rejected the constitution, adding that it will not participate in the upcoming referendum, while the Muslim Brotherhood “commemorated” the 2012 Constitution on its one year anniversary. Meanwhile, Tahany al-Gebaly, vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, said the new constitution is a very important step for the country’s development because it restores the role of the court in the state. Finally, Ministry of Defense, authority head General Medhat Radwan defended an article permitting military trials of civilians on Monday, saying, “If there is an attack on a gas station owned by the military, such an attack is not like attacks on other buildings. There are soldiers who are on duty in these stations. Hence, attacking those soldiers or that station is an attack against the Armed Forces.” The Dostour Party, however, condemned the article. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), DNE, Aswat Masriya, AP, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Ahram Gate (Arabic), 12/3/2013]

Activist Ahmed Douma arrested, April 6’s Ahmed Maher to remain in detention
Prominent activist Ahmed Douma was arrested at his home in Cairo and taken to a police station on Tuesday morning, he said via Twitter. He did not specify the reason for his arrest. In a recent tweet referring to the detention of another activist, the blogger, Ahmed Douma, described the government as criminal and said it would fall. Recently, Douma criticized the military following its ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last July. On the occasion of the November commemoration of the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud violence, where tens of youth died in clashes between protesters and police, Doma tweeted that he holds Military Chief Commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi responsible for the deaths as he was then a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In April 2013, Douma was detained for calling president Mohamed Morsi a killer and a criminal. Douma later said he was fined EGP 20,000 ($2,900) in the case. Meanwhile, activist Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, will remain in detention for four days pending investigations on charges related to violating a new protest law, despite an earlier order that he be released. According to April 6, Maher was sent to Zeinhom court in southern Cairo for questioning on Monday afternoon. “After Ahmed Maher was given a release order yesterday [Sunday] … he is now surprisingly being questioned without the presence of his lawyers at Zeinhom court on charges of protesting with no authorization,” wrote the movement on its official Facebook page. The Ministry of Interior also announced that police had arrested 20 year-old Sherif Elsirfy for his part in defacing the monument that was erected in Tahrir Square by the interim government as a “memorial for the martyrs of the 25 January and 30 June revolutions.” Elsirfy, a member of the April 6 Democratic Front, was arrested Sunday night in 6 October City, according to front member Mohamed Youssef. Meanwhile, Prosecutors appealed late Monday a court verdict to release twenty-three activists who were detained a week ago for allegedly breaking a new law on demonstrating. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, Tahrir (Arabic), DNE, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 12/3/2013]

Doctor claims Khaled Said died of asphyxiation
Khaled Said was not beaten to death, but died of asphyxiation after swallowing a bag of hashish, forensics doctor Mohamed Abdel Aziz claimed on Monday. He was testifying in the fifth session of the retrial of two police officers previously convicted of murdering the now-iconic victim. In 2012, police officers Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Soliman were convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison for Said’s murder in June 2010. After filing an appeal, the two men are now facing a retrial. Alexandria criminal court has adjourned the retrial until Wednesday. The judge, Awad Khalifa, decided to schedule the Wednesday session to hear the deliberations from the defendant’s lawyers. The defendants are Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Ismail Soliman, who were previously part of the Sidi Gaber police force. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online, DNE, 2/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Lawyer defending female Alexandrian protesters released by authorities | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Release of student accused of contempt of religion appealed | DNE


Egyptian government postpones IMF loan decision
Egypt’s government has postponed any decision on taking a US$4.8 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin said on Tuesday. “We’ve postponed that (loan) decision for the time being. We’re not under extreme stress like the last government (was),” Bahaa-Eldin told a conference, referring to the toppled administration of Mohamed Morsi. Any IMF deal, however, would require economic reform commitments that the government might find politically risky. The IMF and Egypt have sporadically discussed the possibility of an IMF loan to Egypt worth up to $4.8 billion and the fund said last month it was ready to provide the aid when Cairo requests it. [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Reuters, 12/3/2013]

Also of Interest:
CBE extends assistance to tourism investors | DNE
Egyptian Stock Exchange ratifies new strategy | DNE
Workers at Egyptian Iron & Steel company go on strike | Ahram Online
Stocks fall collectively, main index down by 0.31 percent | Egypt Independent


Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm dies at 84
Ahmed Fouad Negm, Egypt’s “poet of the people” whose sharply political verses in colloquial Arabic skewered the country’s leaders and inspired protesters from the 1970s through the current uprisings, has died. He was 84. Negm, who was born in Sharqiya in 1929, is known for revolutionary songs he wrote in the 70s with composer Sheikh Imam. Negm took part in the founding of a few opposition political parties and is known for criticizing Egypt’s successive regimes, leading to his imprisonment several times, including an eleven year prison sentence under Anwar Sadat. He leaves behind his sixth wife and children of various ages, including Nawara Negm, a revolutionary journalist and blogger. [Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, AP, 12/3/2013]

Also of Interest:
Dozens injured in clashes at Zagazig University | Shorouk (Arabic)
Clashes at Ain Shams University | AMAY (Arabic)
Students protest calling for release of detained colleagues | Shorouk (Arabic)
Insight: In Egypt, ideas of a radical Islamist make comeback | Reuters


Car bomb defused near Cairo: Security
Security forces defused a bomb placed in a car and primed to explode on a roadside near the Egyptian capital on Monday, security officials said. The interior ministry said the stolen car was detected near a petrol station on the road to the city of Suez. An employee at the petrol station, which local residents said belongs to the army, spotted three people parking the car and leaving on foot, one official said. Security officials said the apparent target was a passing convoy. [Ahram Online, 12/2/2013]

Also of Interest:
Unknown gunmen kill former national security officer in Port Said | Shorouk (Arabic)


Pro-Morsi alliance meets EU delegation on Tuesday
The pro-Mohamed Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy meets on Tuesday with a delegation from the European Union (EU), which has arrived in Cairo on Sunday evening, in a three-day visit, during which they meet many officials, to discuss the latest developments of the situation in Egypt . Alliance member Magdy Salem, the vice president of the Islamic Party, told the press, “The Alliance decided to meet with the EU delegation on Tuesday, so that we can put forward [our] full vision.” He added, “Although we had previously decided not to hold such meetings, at the end we saw its importance and agreed to meet with them.” [Egypt Independent, 12/3/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian foreign minister to visit India Wednesday | Ahram Online, DNE, Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Talks in Cairo ahead of tripartite negotiations on Ethiopia dam | Ahram Online
Swiss to review Egyptian request to seize Mubarak regime assets | Egypt Independent