Top News: Egypt Officials Discuss Prisons; Commission Denies Islamist Allegations of Torture

Interim President Adly Mansour met Wednesday with members of the National Council for Human Rights together with interior ministry representatives to discuss the state of prisons in Egypt.

Egypt officials discuss prisons; commission denies Islamist allegations of torture
Interim President Adly Mansour met Wednesday with members of the National Council for Human Rights together with interior ministry representatives to discuss the state of prisons in Egypt. In the four hour meeting, NHCR members presented complaints filed with them on the state of Egyptian prisons, including violations during arrest, detention or imprisonment, the deteriorated conditions of prisons, and the lack of facilities in prison hospitals. In related news, the fact finding committee assigned to investigate events in Egypt since the June 30 protests has denied recent torture allegations from Islamists detained in Cairo’s Aqrab prison. On the same day, however, former MP and Brotherhood leader Farid Ismail complained of systematic torture practiced against defendants standing trial alongside former president Mohamed Morsi on charges of espionage. [Ahram Online, 4/16/2014]

Mortada Mansour to announce Saturday if he will remain in presidential race
Mortada Mansour the presidential candidate denied the speculating rumors saying he had bowed to pressure and withdrawn from the presidential race, said Ahmed Makhlouf coordinator of Mansour presidential campaign. Mansour announced that due to pressure imposed by Zamalek sporting club members and staff he will “pray” and will disclose his final decision on Saturday in a press conference. “Zamalek club members protested outside the club and some of them went to his home trying to convince Mansour to leave the presidential race,” Makhlouf told Egypt Independent. [Egypt Independent, 4/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • National Council on Human Rights: Mansour sticking with protests law, sees it as constitutional | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt’s political movements, parties campaign to revoke protest law | Ahram Online
  • FJP boycotting presidential elections; NASL says it’s an individual decision | AMAY (Arabic)


Morsi espionage trial postponed to April 22
Cairo Criminal Court on Wednesday postponed the trial of deposed President Mohamed Morsi and thirty-four other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood charged with collaborating with foreign bodies to April 22 in order to hear the prosecution witnesses. The court formed a technical committee from the Cinema Institute to check if the seized CDs have not been tampered with, and another from the National Telecom Regulatory Authority to check if emails to those bodies were sent from the president’s office. The court also formed a medical committee to examine Khairat al-Shater, Essam al-Haddad and Farid Ismail, and requested the public prosecution to allow their families to visit them. [Egypt Independent, 4/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ruling in the appeal of five year sentence for twenty-three Al-Azhar students today | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt court to announce Habib al-Adly verdict on June 12 | Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Trial of sixty-eight accused of storming Tahrir and killing thirty people adjourned to April 30 | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Forty Brotherhood members referred to court for killing and incitement in Suez | AMAY (Arabic)


Russia to supply Egypt with LNG
A source at the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum confirmed that Russia’s Gazprom has agreed to supply seven shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) beginning in August. Egypt has been trying in various ways to provide energy sources necessary for the country to run power plants after the interruption of frequent stream during the summer. [Reuters (Arabic), 4/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • EGP 70 billion required for completion of water and wastewater infrastructure: HCWW chairman | DNE
  • Rights groups call for public release of draft budget | Mada Masr
  • Ministry announces ten day electricity shortage | Mada Masr


Successive Egypt governments failed to stop sexual violence: Report
The International Federation for Human Rights issued a report blaming consecutive governments in Egypt for not taking measures to terminate sexual violence in the public domain. The report presented over 250 cases that took place between November 2012 and January 2014 in which women protesters were sexually assaulted, and in some cases raped, by mobs of men.
According to the report “not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice for these crimes.” The report highlights that while attacks in Tahrir Square represented the most visible manifestation of the long-standing systemic practice, women in Egypt are in fact subjected to daily sexual harassment and assault on the streets, on public transport and in the workplace. Shame and stigmatization, generated by the social habit of placing the blame on the victim, usually means that most survivors do not report the crimes, according to the report, which adds that when complaints are made they rarely lead to the opening of an investigation. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 4/16/2014]

Journalists hold demonstration in front of their syndicate, demanding protection  
Dozens of journalists held a vigil outside the Journalist’s Syndicate on Thursday while carrying pens and cameras. They demanded protection against “being targeted during their coverage of news.” Some of the protesting journalists carried white shrouds stained with red, as a metaphor for blood. They chanted against the interior ministry and accused it of deliberately targeting journalists during their fieldwork. Syndicate board members Diaa Rashwan and Khaled Balshi participated in the vigil, but Rashwan was unwelcomed by some of the protesters, reported CBC satellite channel. [Shorouk (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 4/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian animal rights activists accuse shelter of negligence and deception | Ahram Online
  • Egypt PM pulls movie from screening for sexual content | Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent
  • Kafr Sheikh University president investigating six students for their participation in demonstration | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Protesters form human chains to demand release of political prisoners | Mada Masr


Egyptian army kills suspected militants in North Sinai
Army troops and police raided several suspected terrorist and criminal hideouts in the North Sinai towns of Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, military spokesman colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement. Two militant fighters were killed in the attack in Al-Mahdiya village in Sheikh Zuweid while they were monitoring the movement of army and police forces, Ali said. Thirty-seven others, including fugitives and suspects, were arrested. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya 4/16/2014]
Also of Interest:


Egyptian foreign minister meets with Russian envoy  
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy hosted Wednesday the Russian Special Envoy to the Middle East to discuss bilateral relations, unfolding events in Palestine and Syria and “international and regional” issues. According to statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fahmy and his Russian counterpart discussed the “determination of the two countries to develop bilateral relations in various fields,” in order to “achieve the aspirations of their peoples and their common interests”. The topics of discussion included domestic issues. The Russian envoy detailed the present political situation unfolding in eastern Ukraine while Fahmy detailed the status of the post July 3 roadmap. [DNE, 4/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Fifty-two Sudanese deported from Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Hamas grateful for Egypt’s allowing passage of Qatari construction material | Ahram Online
  • Haniyeh calls for permanent opening of Rafah crossing | DNE
  • Muslimani echoes Hamas Statement: Palestinian matters are not an internal concern | Shorouk (Arabic)