Egypt’s prosecutor-general has ordered that Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and fifty others be referred to criminal court for “guiding the organization to resist the state during August’s dispersal of the Raba’a sit-in and spread chaos in the country.” Meanwhile, North Cairo criminal court has acquitted sixty-one supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and Al-Jazeera photographer Mohamed Badr.


Egyptian prime minister says reshuffle to include defense minister
Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy has said a cabinet reshuffle will include the defense ministry, an Egyptian newspaper said on Saturday, in the clearest sign yet that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi plans to stand for president. Local media reports quoted Beblawy as saying that Sisi would run for president, but Beblawy denied on Saturday that he said that Sisi will run for president. “That issue should be determined only by the defense minister in accordance with his insight and what achieves supreme interests of the country,” he said. The reshuffle will not be announced before a visit by Beblawy to Saudi Arabia, a major financial supporter of Egypt’s interim government, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted him as saying. [Reuters, 2/3/2014]

Mansour decrees appeal of verdicts for military officers possible
Interim President Adly Mansour issued a decree Sunday allowing for appeals in the trials of military officers, state-run news portal EgyNews reported. The amendments are to Law 232 (1959) and Law 71 (1975), concerning the organization and determination of judicial committees for officers of the Armed Forces, and creating a second level panel – the Supreme Judicial committee. The new committee will allow the appeal of verdicts made by the Armed Forces’ legal committee. The amendment is in accordance with Article 202 of the new 2014 constitution, which stipulates that the law – in this case the new committee – trumps the ruling of the old judiciary committee for Armed Forces personnel. [Mada Masr, 2/3/2014]

NASL member proposes national reconciliation initiative
Hossam Aql, member of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) said he has proposed an initiative for reconciliation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the current regime entitled the “Grand Reconciliation Initiative,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. The political reconciliation includes paying blood money for families of victims killed by police and military since June 30 and guarantees for real justice for the detainees. Aql told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Saturday that the initiative includes also holding referendum under international supervision over the roadmap. It did not include reinstatement of former President Mohamed Morsi, unless citizens reject the roadmap. However, in the case of its approval, protests calling for reinstatement of legitimacy will stop. At the same time, however, Ehab Sheeha, the head of the Asala Party and an NASL member said the alliance is continuing its African and European tours as well as visits to Washington, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina to convince them not to recognize authority in Egypt. [Egypt Independent, 2/3/2014]

Also of interest:
Senior interior ministry figure killed last week promoted to deputy minister | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s Mansour says next president needs popular support | Aswat Masriya
Khaled Ali awaits elections law to finalize candidacy | Mada Masr
Newly approved political party formed to ‘purge’ Egypt of terrorists | Mada Masr
National Salvation Front to remain intact | DNE
Sabbahy proposes national initiative | DNE
Ministry of Interior takes proactive role in fighting ‘terrorist elements’ | DNE
April 6 warns of continued resistance | DNE
Elections committee receives 15 million as first step – newspaper | Aswat Masriya
Parliament has right to sack president in constitution – Mansour | SIS


Egypt court acquits Al Jazeera photographer, sixty-one Morsi loyalists; Sentences sixty-one others
North Cairo criminal court has acquitted sixty-one supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and Al-Jazeera photographer Mohamed Badr. The defendants were arrested in mid-July, almost two weeks after Morsi’s ouster, when clashes erupted in downtown Cairo between police and protesters demanding the elected president’s reinstatement. They were charged with inciting murder, thuggery, possessing unlicensed weapons, vandalizing public facilities, blocking roads and using force against the security forces stemming from a clash with police in Ramses Square. Meanwhile, an Egyptian court sentenced sixteen Morsi supporters to five years in prison, with labor, over violence that erupted in Nasr City’s Mostafa al-Nahass Street on December 27. Six of the defendants are women. An Egyptian misdemeanor court also sentenced thirty-two supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to two years in jail and fined them EGP 50,000 each on Saturday for violating the new protest law and threatening national peace. Ismailia Misdemeanor Court sentenced thirteen Muslim Brotherhood members, including three leaders of the Freedom and Justice Party, to six years in prison on charges of thuggery, spreading chaos, damaging public and private property during protests that they staged in Ismailia over a few days ago. The Cairo Court of Appeal set February 26 as the start date for the first session of the trial of twenty-seven defendants in front of the Criminal Court on charges of creating and managing a terrorist group, intending to assault the freedom of people and harming national unity and social peace. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, 2/2/2014]

Egyptians, Israelis sent to court over espionage charges
Prosecutors for Egypt’s state security court have charged three Egyptians and five Israelis with spying on behalf of Israel. The defendants are accused of “espionage and providing a foreign entity with information concerning national security.” All have been referred to a criminal court by the State Security Emergency Prosecution, which deals with cases involving national security and terrorism. The trial has been set for February 5 according to local press reports. The five Israelis, charged with collaborating with the Egyptian defendants to gain information on Egypt’s national security, are all members of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, according to Al-Ahram. They will be tried in absentia. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 2/2/2014]

Brotherhood leaders face fresh accusations; Morsi ‘Ittihadeya’ trial postponed to February 4
Egypt’s prosecutor-general has ordered that Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and fifty others be referred to criminal court for “guiding the organization to resist the state during August’s dispersal of the Raba’a sit-in and spread chaos in the country.” The suspects are accused of plotting to create chaos and raiding police stations, state institutions and churches in an attempt to create the illusion that the government has lost control and is unable to manage the country. Badie is also due to reappear in Court on Monday, along with forty-seven other defendants, after their trial was adjourned Saturday for “administrative reasons.” They are charged with blocking and inciting the blockage of the Qalyubeya agricultural highway in the governorate of Qalyubeya governorate last July. The Brotherhood leaders trial relating to violence that erupted at the group’s headquarters in Moqattam last year is set to resume on February 13. The trial of Muslim Brotherhood Vice Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater and seventeen others is scheduled to begin Tuesday in the Moqattam Misdemeanour Court on charges of assaulting journalists and an activist during a demonstration. The Cairo Criminal Court ordered on Saturday the postponement of the trial of former president Mohamed Morsi over the 2012 presidential palace clashes to February 4, following its third session, in order to allow the court time to review videos provided by the prosecution. While Selim al-Awa argued on behalf of Morsi during the session, Ossama Morsi, the son of the ousted president, issued a statement saying that al-Awa has not been appointed as a defense lawyer, but rather to “object to the court acting out of jurisdiction.” [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, DNE, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 2/3/2014]

Court upholds Muslim Brotherhood ban
The Cairo Court of Appeals refused on Saturday the injunction submitted by Hamed Seddiq, the Muslim Brotherhood’s lawyer, against court order number 816 for the year 2013, demanding a halt on the verdict to ban the group’s activities and confiscate its assets, privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm said. The newspaper added that the Cairo Court of Appeals had ruled in an earlier hearing to postpone the injunction, which demanded that the Court of Urgent Matters’ decision to ban the Brotherhood’s activities, and to confiscate its money and its headquarters, be halted due to the court’s alleged lack of jurisdiction. Last September, the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters ruled to officially ban the group’s activities, subsidiary organizations and any organizations funded by it. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 2/1/2014]

Also of interest:
Court refuses to release Ezz pending trial | Ahram Online


Egypt’s Galal approves EGP 1.31 billion funding to healthcare, education, other
The allocation of a total of EGP 1.31 billion to different sectors was approved by Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal on Sunday. According to a statement from the ministry, the allocations aim to improve public services for citizens. EGP 1.1 billion will be allocated to the petroleum sector to repay its January debts for petroleum products, including natural gas and diesel, used in power stations. Expenditure on health and education sectors is expected to increase starting from the 2014/2015 fiscal year.  According to the new ratified constitution, spending rates for the health sector will increase to 3 percent of GDP, 4 percent for education and 1 percent for scientific research. [DNE, 2/3/2014]

Also of interest:
Economy in a week: Power cuts and financial stimulus | Mada Masr
Egyptian Pound strengthens fractionally, unchanged on black market | DNE
China-Egypt investments hit 10 billion dollars in 2013 | SIS
Egypt’s government increases cigarettes retail prices | Ahram Online
Egypt narrows budget deficit in H1 | Reuters
Beblawy: Several measures adopted to boost economy | SIS
Analysis: Currency black market shows limits of Egypt’s recovery | Reuters


Security forces raid two news networks in Cairo; Team released on bail
Homeland Security officers broke into the offices of the Yaqeen and Hassry news networks Saturday evening, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) reported the same day. Yaqeen News Network (YNN) Manager Yehia Khalaf and four of the company’s journalists were arrested and security forces confiscated the networks’ cameras and laptops. The arrested were held in custody at Kasr al-Nil police station pending investigation and are facing charges of working without a permit, according to AFTE’s report. YNN issued a statement describing the break-in and the “arbitrary arrest” of its journalists and manager as a “glaring violation of freedom of expression.” Cairo’s general investigations department claim that some news channels have been broadcasting ‘false’ news through these two networks for the purpose of spreading violence against the armed forces and police. Information also showed that the two networks had apartments on Champollion street to broadcast on internet without license. Kasr al-Nil prosecution on Sunday evening ordered four YNN journalists and their manager released on EGP 30,000 bail. YNN claimed police verbally and physically assaulted journalists and employees during the raid. Journalists Against Torture Observatory said that security targeted journalists and that violence escalated to the extent of sniping them while performing duties. The observatory pointed to ninety-six cases of violation against journalists in January. It called for holding the interior minister accountable for targeting the journalists. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 2/3/2014]

Also of interest:
One killed, thirty-five injured in Egypt’s pro-Brotherhood Friday clashes: Health ministry | Ahram Online, DNE
Twenty-nine high school students among 114 detained on revolution anniversary: AFTE | DNE
January 25 death toll rises to 103: Independent count | DNE
Al-Meneai beaten, psychologically tortured in detention, say friends | DNE
Dar al-Ifta rejects edict recommending divorce of Muslim Brotherhood women | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s top satirist Bassem Youssef voices concerns over Sisi nomination | Egypt Independent
Egyptian satirist signs contract with new network | AP, Aswat Masriya
Egypt doctors to stage partial strike on Monday | Ahram Online, DNE
Fadl accuses Al-Shorouk newspaper of censorship; editor denies claims | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
Private Egypt TV airs video of journalists’ arrest | AP, Mada Masr


Sinai attacks target Israel, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah; Twenty killed in Sinai raid
A Sinai-based militant group inspired by al Qaeda, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility on Saturday for a failed rocket attack on Israel’s Red Sea resort city Eilat a day earlier. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system on Friday shot down a rocket fired in the direction of Eilat, an occasional target of militants in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. In Rafah, three Egyptian Central Security Forces (CSF) conscripts were injured in a blast early Sunday. A security source told Aswat Masriya that unknown assailants had placed an explosive device in the way of a minibus carrying conscripts on their way to vacation. According to AFP, however, those injured by the blast were civilians. On Sunday, a microbus exploded in Rafah after security forces opened fire on it, leading them to believe that it was carrying a large amount of explosives, MENA reported. There are no reports on the number of injuries or deaths. In Sheikh Zuweid unknown assailants launched three Grad rockets on Saturday at Al-Zohour military camp in Sheikh Zuwayed in northern Sinai, according to privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm. Witnesses heard a loud explosion in the vicinity of the camp; however, the rockets landed outside the walls of the military facility, leaving no casualties. On Monday, Egyptian military officials say troops backed by helicopters have raided suspected militants’ hideouts in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least twenty and wounding twenty-five. They say the sweep, which led to the arrest of sixteen suspected militants, was among the biggest in an ongoing offensive against militants waging an insurgency in the strategic area bordering the Gaza Strip and Israel. [Reuters, AFP/DNE, Ahram Online. Mada Masr, AP, 2/3/2014]

Also of interest:
Conscript who ‘mistakenly’ killed driver granted release | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Improvised explosive device detonates in Egypt’s Giza | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
Bomb defused in Tanta | Egypt Independent
Sound bomb causes panic outside Hurghada army facility | Egypt Independent
Military spokesperson says 4 tunnels on borders with Gaza destroyed | Egypt Independent
Gunmen shoot three missiles at Sheikh Zuweid security facility | Egypt Independent
Homemade bomb attack in Minya | Mada Masr
Detective killed in shootout in Kafr al-Dawar | Egypt Independent
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis poses serious security threat: Analysts | DNE


UK MPs discuss Egypt roadmap with officials
During their visit to Egypt, a British delegation of UK parliamentarians reviewed Egypt’s roadmap in separate meetings with Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Interim President Adly Mansour, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim on Sunday. Mansour reviewed during the meeting steps that are being taken to complete the transitional roadmap, which already saw the ratification of a new constitution by an overwhelming majority and will see next presidential elections to be followed by parliamentary polls. Mansour vehemently denied claims made by foreign media regarding a “return of military rule to Egypt.” During a meeting with Sisi, the delegation expressed pleasure at the “success of the Egyptian people” in implementing the first step of the roadmap through the constitutional referendum held on January 14 and 15. In a meeting with the delegation, interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawy said the Egyptian “people are the guarantor of their freedom,” responding to a British parliamentarians’ fears on freedom of expression in Egypt. The delegation also met with Pope Tawadros II and the Pope explained the nature of the events in Egypt. State-run Al-Ahram cited the Pope as describing the events of June 30 as a revolution, not a coup. The delegation’s request to meet with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood was however turned down by the Organization of Arab Peoples and Parliaments. [Mada MasrAhram Online, DNE, 1/2/2014]

EU, UN Human Rights Office condemn crackdown on journalists
The European Union (EU) is the latest group to join the growing opposition to Egyptian authorities’ widespread crackdown on the media and other voices of dissent. In a statement released Tuesday, the EU’s delegation to Egypt expressed its concern about the government’s “growing tendency” to place “limitations put on the media,” citing the recent charges against twenty Al-Jazeera staffers as an example. The United Nations Human Rights Office issued a similar statement, saying it  is “extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt,” it said in a Friday statement. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [Navi Pillay] urged the Egyptian government to “release all journalists imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities in exercise of their fundamental human rights,” spokesman Rupert Colville said. [DNE, 2/2/2014]

Also of interest:
Italy deports fifty Egyptians for illegal immigration, residency | Ahram Online
Kidnap of diplomats hasn’t damaged Egypt-Libya ties: Beblawy | Ahram Online, DNE
Fahmy embarks on Europe tour | DNE, Egypt Independent
Hamas denies Palestinian involvement in downing Egyptian aircraft | Egypt Independent
Leave politics out of Syria’s besieged camp: Egyptian foreign minister | Ahram Online