The trial of twenty Al-Jazeera crew members indicted on charges of inciting against Egypt and broadcasting false news is set to being on February 20. Eight of the defendants, including Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, have already been detained. Prominent leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahy announced on Saturday that he will run for president in this year’s elections, making him the first to declare his intention to enter the 2014 presidential race. “I am confident and assured that the formal decision will support mine,” he said in reference to the decision of al-Karama party to which he belongs. 


Egypt’s Sabbahy officially announces presidential bid; Aboul-Fotouh abstains
Prominent leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahy announced on Saturday that he will run for president in this year’s elections, making him the first to declare his intention to enter the 2014 presidential race. “I am confident and assured that the formal decision will support mine,” he said in reference to the decision of al-Karama party to which he belongs. Speaking on Saturday evening, Sabbahy also said that his decision comes in response to the requests of the youth, yet added that some of his supporters are against that step. Referring to the candidacy of Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Sabbahy said that the electoral battle will not be “the army versus the people.” Another former presidential candidate, Muslim Brotherhood offshoot Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh announced on Sunday that he would not run for president, objecting over the overall political atmosphere, which he deemed undemocratic. The Strong Egypt Party issued a statement on Sunday announcing that it would not field a presidential candidate.  [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Reuters, 2/8/2014]

Sisi discusses security and upcoming elections
Minister of Defense Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed the country’s security situation and upcoming presidential elections on Sunday. “Egypt with its people and army is capable of uprooting extremism and terrorism,” said Al-Sisi at the ninth educational symposium at the Galaa Theatre in Cairo. “Terrorist operations will not affect the resolve and determination of the great Egyptian people.” The army chief also stressed the importance of “united efforts” to achieve security, stability and progress. He added that Egyptians “have their own free will to decide who to choose and put their trust in” in a presidential election expected to kick off in the first half of the ongoing year. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 2/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
Police campaign to arrest juveniles yields positive results: Interior ministry | DNE
Presidential elections bill to be finalized before February 17 | Egypt Independent
Fahmy meets with Grand Mufti | DNE
Pro-Morsi alliance denies backing a presidential candidate | Egypt Independent
Pro-Morsi alliance to announce reconciliation initiative Tuesday | Egypt Independent
Egypt presidency to meet with political activists Monday | Aswat Masriya
Former presidential hopeful says Egypt is now ‘republic of fear’ | Reuters
Nour Party lists challenges for next president | DNE
Former chief of staff remains elusive on presidential bid | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr


Al-Jazeera crew referred to criminal court; Trial begins February 20
The trial of twenty Al-Jazeera crew members indicted on charges of inciting against Egypt and broadcasting false news is set to being on February 20. Eight of the defendants, including Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, have already been detained. Arrest warrants have been issued for the remaining twelve defendants. Al-Jazeera has once again denounced the criminal charges against nine of its journalists – along with eleven journalists who have never worked for the Qatar-based broadcaster – in no uncertain terms. In a statement released on Thursday evening, Al-Jazeera slammed the Egyptian authorities for actions that are “extraordinary, unjust, and unacceptable” after Al-Jazeera was officially served the names and charges against its journalists by Egyptian authorities. [Egypt Independent, DNE, Reuters, 2/10/2014]

Prosecutors accuse Brotherhood of setting up military wing
Egypt’s state security prosecutors have ordered the detention of twelve suspects it accuses of forming a military wing of the Brotherhood in Upper Egypt’s Beni Suef and then carrying out an attack that killed five police officers in January.  The Interior Ministry had announced earlier on Sunday that a Brotherhood member in Beni Suef was ordered by the group to form an armed “wing” tasked with targeting police, army facilities and personnel. The Interior Ministry spokesman appeared on television saying the group had shot dead five policemen last month in the province of Beni Suef. The Brotherhood, which has faced a crackdown by security forces since the ouster of Brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi in July, was designated a terrorist group in December. [Ahram Online, AP, Reuters, 2/9/2014]

Egyptian filmmaker released from prison; Yemeni journalist detained
Hossam al-Meneai, an Egyptian filmmaker arrested January 22 along with American translator Jeremy Hodge from their Cairo apartment, was released from police custody Sunday night. Drew Brammer, a friend of Meneai and reporter for Egypt Independent, said that although Meneai was released without bail, his charges of “spreading false news and endangering the stability of the nation were still pending.” Brammer said that police “still have his passport, laptop, camera,” and other belongings. A Yemeni journalist, ordered detained for fifteen days, has been denied an appeal for his release. The journalist, Firas Shamshan, was arrested while filming at the Cairo Book Fair, and is being investigated for “using a camera” to “spread false news and rumors that are likely to disturb public peace.” A Cairo prosecutor has also ordered the detention of an Egyptian, Hassan al-Banna, accused of altering photographs before sending them to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news network and of belonging to a terrorist organization, judicial sources said on Sunday. Banna was arrested on Saturday and ordered detained for fifteen days pending investigations, two judicial sources said.  Meanwhile, the October 6 Prosecution on Friday extended the detention of journalist Karim al-Behairy for another fifteen days. Behairy had originally been arrested while covering protests commemorating the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution for Al-Badil newspaper. Alongside 37 others arrested during the same incident, Behairy faces charges of inciting violence, blocking roads and possession of Molotov cocktails.  [DNE, Reuters, 2/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
Activists Maher, Adel and Douma appeal adjourned to March 10 | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
Sixteen year-old released on bail after sentence | DNE
Egypt’s top auditor to be tried for libeling justice minister, refuses questioning | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent
Mansoura University detainees hearing adjourned to 15 February | DNE
Forty-two students detained during storming of Cairo University: AFTE lawyer | DNE
Mubarak retrial on charges of protester killings to resume Monday | Mada Masr, Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent
Forty Brotherhood members referred to court for rioting on third anniversary of January revolution | Egypt Independent
Thirty-eight Muslim Brotherhood supporters referred to court for bomb attempt in Shubra al-Kheima metro | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya


Egypt unveils $4.9 billion stimulus package
Egypt’s interim government unveiled its second stimulus package today, which will inject EGP 33.9 billion ($4.87 billion) into the economy, with most of that money coming from aid pledged by the United Arab Emirates. Previously the finance ministry said Egypt planned to spend around EGP 30 billion. The first stimulus package, amounting to EGP 30 billion, was launched in August. [Reuters, 2/10/2014]

Egypt’s Galal: Draft law to add EGP 33.9 billion to budget
Ministry of Finance announced the completion of a draft law aimed to add a EGP 33.9 billion allocation for the budget of 2013/2014 in collaboration with Ministry of Planning. Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal explained that the new allocation will be funded from the cash and in-kind aid pledged to Egypt from the UAE during July to December of 2013. Galal also explained that the draft law will be presented soon to the Cabinet for approval before being submitted to interim President Adly Mansour to issue it. [Cairo Post, 2/10/2014]

Also of Interest:

Japan finances fourth subway line with US$2 billion | Egypt Independent
Economy in a week: Egypt welcomes back Mubarak-era cronies | Mada Masr
Egypt’s consumer confidence rises 12 percent in Jan: IDSC | Ahram Online
Despite political unrest, domestic tourism in Egypt performed well in 2013: Research and Markets | DNE


Low-ranking policemen strike in several governorates; Officer suspended for critical poem
Hundreds of low-ranking police officers went on strike on Saturday in at least seven Egyptian governorates to protest poor working conditions and low financial compensation. Protesters are demanding better wages, compensations for risks they are subjected to, and better working conditions. In Upper Egypt’s Qena, around 300 people supporting the strike gathered in front of the governorate’s security directorate after they failed to close its gates. Protesters told Ahram Online that they have no political or religious affiliations. They also alleged that the results of the police club’s elections were forged. In Beni Suef, around 500 protesters assembled in front of the governorate’s security directorate. Protests also took place in Kafr al-Sheikh, Mounifeya, Suez, Qaliubiya, and Beheira. Scattered protests continued in Alexandria, Kafr al-Sheikh, and Giza, on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has slammed the Ministry of Interior for suspending a police officer who wrote a poem about the hardships young police recruits face. Officer Sameh Zahir was suspended from his position as a police officer after writing a poem detailing the adversity new police officers face in a politically unstable Egypt. Zahir, described by ANHRI as a “young officer” was lauded several months earlier for writing a poem praising the work of Egyptian security forces. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 2/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Mona Mina resigns as secretary-general of Egypt’s doctors syndicate | Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr
Egypt doctors call on Mona Mina to rescind resignation | Ahram Online
Doctors Syndicate emergency meeting postponed, no decision yet on strike | Ahram Online
Islamist alliance calls for demonstrations on February 11 | Aswat Masriya
Three killed in clashes as Morsi loyalists keep protesting | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Egypt’s popular satirist Bassem Youssef back on screen, jabs at media over Sisi | Ahram Online, AP, Mada Masr, Reuters
Political prisoners report poor conditions and torture | Mada Masr, Ahram Online, DNE
Streets to be named after martyrs of January 25 and following events | Mada Masr
Ministry of Health says swine flu deaths rise to thirty-six in Egypt | Aswat Masriya
Thousands of workers strike at two Mahalla textile factories | DNE


Twenty-three killed in army operations against militants in North Sinai since Friday
An air raid by the Egyptian army in the town of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai near the border with the Gaza Strip late on Friday killed sixteen “dangerous individuals” according to a military official. Mada Masr reports that twenty were killed and seventy others injured in the air strike. The strike targeted terrorists and militants in the Sinai town, according to the armed forces spokesman’s official Facebook page. Spokesman Ahmed Ali added that the extremists were killed when forces targeted hideouts that were being used by the Muslim brotherhood. The Armed Forces said Sunday that they had killed another three extremists in a security operation in northern Sinai, according to a statement on its official Facebook page. The army burnt down twenty-five huts that “radical elements were using as launch pads to implement their terrorist attacks against the army and the police,” said Ali. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 2/9/2014]

Two militant groups claim responsibility for same Cairo attack
Two different militant groups have claimed the responsibility for the same double bombing on Friday that targeted a police vehicle on Giza Bridge in Cairo and resulted in the injury of six people. The Associated Press (AP) reported that Ajnad Misr, Arabic for “Egypt’s Soldiers,” a newly formed militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to AP, the group posted a statement on Friday on a jihadi website declaring that the police “are not safe from retribution.” Ajnad Misr also claimed responsibility in previous weeks for similar bombings on police. It has vowed to carry out more attacks, underscoring the risk of a widening campaign of violence against the security forces. Concurrently, a Facebook page under the name Walaa’, Arabic for “Burn,” claimed responsibility for the same attack. Walaa’ states that it is a popular movement that aims to resist the oppressive state, adding that it has no political or religious affiliation. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 2/8/2014]

Also of Interest:
Criminals set policeman’s private vehicle on fire in Beni Suef | Egypt Independent
Bomb at Port Said court defused | Egypt Independent
Violence risks turning Egypt to jihadi front | AP
Suspects in Beni Suef attack on police caught | DNE, Egypt Independent
Security sources: Thirteen MB members, extremists arrested in Sharqiya | Egypt Independent
Police arrest suicide bomber in Ismailia | Mada Masr


Ethiopian irrigation minister invites Egypt for more ‘Renaissance Dam’ talks
Ethiopia’s irrigation minister has invited his Egyptian counterpart to the capital of Addis Ababa for further talks on Monday, in hopes of ending a political impasse between the two Nile countries over a proposed hydroelectric dam. Al-Ahram reported on Sunday that Egyptian irrigation minister Mohamed Abdel-Motteleb had accepted the invitation from Ethiopia’s Alemayehu Tegenu and will travel with members from his ministry’s Nile water sector as well as the country’s foreign ministry. Ahead of the talks, however, Abdel-Motteleb announced that Egypt’s position on Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam “is fixed,” a harbinger that Monday’s negotiations may not offer the kind of compromise that Ethiopia may be hoping for. The ministers will discuss the “sticking points” regarding the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt fears could have a detrimental impact upon its water supply. Spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Khaled Wassif said that one of the “sticking points” that remains is the difference of opinion regarding the formation of a committee to oversee the implementation of recommendations of a report detailing confidence-building measures concerning the dam and its effect on downstream nations. The High Nile Water Commission, which is headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy, in its meeting on Sunday with the ministers of transport, agriculture, planning, foreign affairs, water resources and irrigation, stressed the importance of mutual benefit from the Renaissance Dam. [Ahram Online, DNE, 2/9/2014]

Foreign ministry rejects European Parliament resolution
The foreign ministry rejected a number of aspects in a resolution put forth by the European Parliament (EP) last week. Foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said: “The Egyptian people are the only ones to decide their fate and future,” in a statement issued on Saturday that was critical of the content of the EP’s resolution. The spokesman added that no domestic or foreign party was entitled to comment on matters that fall under the responsibility of the judiciary, in reference to comments made by the parliament concerning the trial of journalists in Egypt. The European Parliament has urged political powers and security forces in Egypt to show the utmost restraint and avoid violence. The Egyptian government must respect peaceful free expression and human rights communities, the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis added on Twitter after a meeting with members of the Egyptian civil society. During his visit to Egypt, Lambrinidis held several meetings, including an open discussion with thirty rights lawyers and advocates from twelve local and international NGOs. EU ambassador to Egypt, James Moran, said in a news conference on Sunday that the European Union was not attacking Egypt but wanted to see it succeed. Moran also said the resolution about Egypt that was passed by the European Parliament, which raised objections in Egyptian circles, was viewed by some as “positive” for welcoming certain articles of the constitution on human rights but also raised concerns about other events taking place in Egypt. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 2/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Fahmy urges Syrian opposition unity | DNE
Jordan’s prime minister pays official visit to Egypt | Egypt Independent
Chief of Staff of Armed Forces visits UAE | Egypt Independent
Nine Egyptian deaths in Saudi Arabia hotel blaze: Foreign ministry | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, DNE