Top News: Egypt Opposition in Muddle over Call to Oust Morsi

Mostafa El Gendy Funeral DNE.jpg

Egypt’s main opposition alliance has got itself into a muddle by appearing to endorse a call for the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, then backing away.  


President’s office rejects idea of forming national salvation government
The president’s office rejected the proposal of the National Salvation Front and other opposition groups to form a national salvation government, presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali said. “There is only two months or less left before holding the parliamentary elections. Then there will be a true national salvation government that reflects the street,” Ali told al-Masry al-Youm. “The elections need preparations, and there are other topics of interest to the citizen that must be taken care of now.” [Egypt Independent 2/3/2013]

Political forces continue condemnation of sexual assault

The National Salvation Front (NSF) joined a number of groups on Sunday to condemn the numerous cases of sexual assault and rape taking place in Tahrir Square during demonstrations. President Mohamed Morsi, his government and the interior minister are responsible for the violence and torture, the front said. Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) lawmaker Huda Ghaniya said on the Muslim Brotherhood website: “We denounce increasing sexual harassment crimes taking place against women in Tahrir Square.” Numerous movements and political parties took a united stand on violence against women. In a statement titled “Sexual violence and torture against women will not break their struggle to complete the revolution”, the signatories strongly condemned the chronic problem of sexual violence against women, especially in Tahrir Square during demonstrations. This past week alone, while mass protests filled city squares around the country, more than two dozen new sexual attacks were reported – a wave that activists call the worst in years and describe as the darkest stain on the country’s opposition street movement. [DNE, Ahram Online, AP, Elaph (Arabic), 2/3/2013]

Shura Council discusses laws ‘to control street protests and confront thuggery’
The government of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil is currently in the process of drafting two new laws aimed at regulating the right of street protest and combating the proliferation of thuggery. According to Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, anti-protest laws have become a necessity to stem the tide of violence in the street and to regulate the right of organizing demonstrations. A draft anti-protest law is expected to be discussed by the Islamist-dominated Shura Council’s Committee on National Defense in the coming days. Article 16 of the draft bill bans the use of masks or facial coverings, in an attempt to counter the recently-emerged Black Bloc and its protest methods. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 2/3/2013]

Egypt opposition in muddle over call to oust Morsi
Egypt’s main opposition alliance has got itself into a muddle by appearing to endorse a call for the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, then backing away. "The NSF will fully align to the demands of the Egyptian people calling to topple the regime of tyranny and domination of the Muslim Brotherhood," a statement by the National Salvation Front issued late on Saturday said. However, the NSF’s spokesman, Khaled Daoud, said on Monday the coalition of liberal, social democratic and leftist parties was not demanding the removal of Egypt’s first democratically elected president. The Salafist al-Nour Party said Sunday it rejects demands echoed by a large number of demonstrators over the past weeks, calling for President Mohamed Morsi to step down, new presidential elections to be held, and for the new constitution to be amended if not abandoned. [Reuters, Ahram Online,  DNE, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
I will leave my position if people want: Egypt’s interior minister | Ahram Online
Presidential decree to increase pension’ | SIS
Qandil on recent violence: “Absurd, unfortunate scenes” | DNE
Minister of Interior responds to Friday clashes | DNE
President orders investigation into Gendy’s death as funeral heads to Tahrir | Egypt Independent


Court sentences two Maspero suspects to three years
The North Cairo Criminal Court sentenced two men Monday to three years imprisonment for stealing an Armed Forces machine gun during the clashes that erupted between military police and Coptic protesters at Maspero in 2011. The defendants, Michael Adel Naguib Farag and Michael Mosaad Shaker, were among 33 arrested on the night of 9 October and the early hours of 10 October 2011 for being implicated in violence which left at least 27 people dead. Like Farag and Shaker, most of those arrested were Copts. The prosecution demanded that they are handed the maximum sentence allowed by the law. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Constituent Assembly verdict postponed until 3 March | Daily Star, Egypt Independent
Trial of Mubarak-era ‘thug’ adjourned Ahram Online
Adly sentenced to three years in ‘forced labor’ case Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Teenager with bone cancer incarcerated in Alexandria | DNE
Lawsuit accuses Morsi of attempted murder | DNE
Egypt constitutional court rules in favor of criminalizing FGM | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE


Egypt says to finish revised economy plan 
Egypt’s finance minister has said the government will complete the revision of its economic reform plan this week and invite the International Monetary Fund to visit Egypt soon, the finance ministry said in a statement released on its website on Monday. The remarks by Finance Minister al-Morsi al-Sayed Hegazy were made on Thursday but published in English on the ministry’s website on Monday as a news release, a ministry official said. [Reuters, 2/4/2013]

Egypt govt announces plan for South Sinai industrial zone
The Egyptian Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade is planning to build a new industrial zone in the city of Abu Zenima in the southern Sinai Peninsula, Industry Minister Hatem Saleh told al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website on Monday. The project is seen as a main pillar of the government’s overall development plan for Sinai. Egypt’s Cabinet has agreed to allocate almost 4000 acres of land near the city of Abu Zenima to the ministry, which would then be tasked with building the industrial zone. [Ahram Online, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s landline provider ready to launch mobile services | Ahram Online
Egypt’s budget deficit hits LE91.5 billion: Finance ministry | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Central Bank agrees to sell both BNP Paribas and NSGB | DNE
Egypt to cut energy subsidy bill by 50pct over five years | Ahram Online


Security official: Morsi rejected police request to use greater force
The president refused a police request to allow them to use greater force with protesters around the presidential palace, Deputy Assistant Interior Minister for Public Security Abdel Fattah Othman said, adding that he ordered police to use only tear gas. Othman also told the Shura Council National Security Committee Sunday that a man who appeared to be filmed being dragged and beaten by police was assaulted by the demonstrators who thought he was a police officer, but left him when they found he was not. He also said the man was shot in the leg with birdshot. He said the ministry respects and protects peaceful demonstrations, and accused the media of falsifying the truth. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 2/3/2013]

Egypt protester dies from alleged police torture
A man has died after allegedly being tortured in police custody following his arrest at a protest in Tahrir Square on 27 January. Mohamed El-Gendy, 28, a member of the Popular Current, died in Helal Hospital on Monday after being transferred to the intensive care unit suffering from low blood pressure, a suspected brain hemorrhage and a brain effusion, said health ministry spokesperson Ahmed Omar. The prosecution and forensics department have discussed al-Gendy’s case, but nothing official has been released so far, Omar told state news agency MENA. Another protester was announced dead on Sunday, following clashes which took place near the presidential palace on Friday. Amr Abdel Reheem died in Heliopolis Hospital two days after he was shot near the presidential palace, reported state-owned al-Ahram. The Ministry of Health has yet to confirm his death. [AP, Ahram Online , Egypt Independent, DNE, Reuters, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Senior police officer: We don’t mistreat protesters, they mistreat us | Egypt Independent


Victim of police torture changes testimony, accuses officers; Second video provokes anger
An Egyptian man captured on video being beaten and dragged naked by security forces during Friday’s clashes outside the Presidential Palace in Cairo changed his testimony while speaking to prosecutors on Sunday, accusing police of stripping him naked and assaulting him. Hamada Saber had earlier told investigators that police had not been responsible for stripping him naked and beating him, prompting many observers to suspect that he had been pressured by security officials into giving false testimony. A police officer and 15 Central Security Forces conscripts are under investigation. Prosecutor-general Talaat Abdullah commissioned a north Cairo court judge to continue investigations into the case, while judicial sources said on Sunday that the Public Prosecution can refer Saber’s case to a criminal court even if he reaches a settlement with the security forces. The Egyptian presidency released a statement Saturday condemning incident. The Shura Council’s National Security Committee convened Sunday to address Saber’s case, while Shura Council member Maged Aqad resigned in protest of Saber’s treatment. A second video of Central Security Forces (CSF) beating a citizen was broadcast on Saturday night. It showed CSF beating and dragging a girl around the presidential palace and has provoked anger among several political groups and activists. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 2/4/2013]

Clashes renew briefly around Ettehadiya Palace, at least 25 arrested on Friday
Clashes between protesters and security forces briefly flared up around Ettehadiya Palace on Monday morning. The two sides hurled stones at each other as security forces chased the protesters off onto side streets, arresting several of them. However, security forces did not use tear gas. Calm eventually returned to the area. At least 25 detainees were referred to prosecution, Saturday, following their arrests on Friday during clashes between protesters and security forces. In Alexandria, the vicinity the security governorate saw fierce clashes after protesters locked horns with police forces on Saturday evening.  [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, 2/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Rights group says prime minister had no right to pass student bylaws | Egypt Independent
Signature campaign to oust Morsi | DNE


Defense minister praises growing military cooperation with US 
Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised the growing military cooperation between Egypt and the US Sunday after receiving four aircraft from the US. At a ceremony for the F-16s received from the US, Sisi said Egypt looks forward to further cooperation to build and develop the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces. The four aircraft are part of a group of 20 F-16s that are expected to be delivered to Egypt this year. They are part of the US$1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, SIS, 2/3/2013]

Ahmadinejad to make first Egypt visit by Iran head in decades
Ahmadinejad will head Iran’s delegation to a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, said Amani Mojtaba, head of Iran’s interest section in Cairo, which it maintains in the absence of an official embassy. "I hope that Iranian-Egyptian relations return to the full diplomatic level," he told Reuters. [Ahram Online/Reuters, DNE, 2/3/2013]

Photo: Funeral of the two martyrs Mohamed El-Gendy and Amr Abdel Reheem Sa’ad in the Mosque of Omar Makram at Tahrir (DNE)

Image: Mostafa%20El%20Gendy%20Funeral%20DNE.jpg