Top News: Egypt President Warns Opposition Against Promoting Violence

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President Mohamed Morsi has denounced Friday’s attacks on Muslim Brotherhood offices and called for action against politicians found guilty of inciting the violence.


Egypt president warns opposition against ‘promoting violence

President Mohamed Morsi has denounced Friday’s attacks on Muslim Brotherhood offices and called for action against politicians found guilty of inciting the violence. “If investigations prove politicians are guilty [of incitement], the necessary action will be taken against them despite their status,” President Morsi said. "Whoever is found to be involved in promoting violence through the media will not escape punishment," he warned. He added, “You’d be angry at me if I punished the media personalities who describe the opponents in the street, who practice violence, as revolutionaries and politicians. I’ve been patient so far.” On Friday, Morsi made several statements through his Twitter account, saying Egypt’s "enemy" abroad is trying to divide Egyptians, but will fail to do so. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, SIS, Reuters, El Watan (Arabic), 3/24/2013]

Widespread condemnation of Moqattam violence
Following Friday’s clashes surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam, several political parties and movements, as well as members of the Shura Council have condemned the violence which erupted between citizens supporting and opposing the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) condemned what the attack, and said opponents have taken to violence after proving incapable at politics, a day after vicious clashes outside the Islamists’ headquarters. The Brotherhood added it could have physically bested the ‘perpetrators’ who beat up members of the Islamic group at its main headquarters, but abstained from such an engagement "for the greater good." The Brotherhood has vowed to legally pursue all who took part in the protest. Egypt’s prominent Salafist figure and founder of al-Raya Party Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail said that protesting at the offices of liberal parties and politicians has become "an urgent necessity." Galal al-Morra, secretary general of the Salafi-oriented Nour Party, called on the National Salvation Front (NSF) to consider Egypt’s interests and not to politically support “saboteurs and killers.” April 6, Mohamed ElBaradei, the NSF, the cabinet, the Ministry of Endowments and the Shura were among those who condemned the violence. The NSF, ElBaradei and Constitution Party held the Muslim Brotherhood and presidency responsible for the violence. [DNE, Ahram Online,  Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, SIS, 3/24/2013]

NGO, Demonstrations law agreed upon ‘in principle’
The Shura Council agreed in principle during its Sunday session to the law proposal governing civil society organisations operating in Egypt. The agreed on proposal was submitted by the council’s Human Development Committee. Meanwhile the cabinet of ministers is planning to submit another law proposal for the same cause. Sunday’s session witnessed arguments between several Shura members, some criticising the cabinet for not submitting necessary laws to the council, while others insisting that the council has full authority to legislate without the interference of governmental ministries. The Human Rights Committee also announced at its meeting on Monday its agreement in principle on a draft law to protect the right to demonstrate as submitted by the government. Dr Azzedine Komy Commission Agent, that the Commission is currently preparing a report on the law, to discuss during the plenary. [DNE, SIS, Shorouk (Arabic), Watan (Arabic), 3/25/2013]

Study: 85% of women do not feel a political party represents them
A study conducted by market research company TNS shows that from a sample of 500 women from different social classes, in regards to political representation, 85% of women feel that there is no political party that represents their views and opinions. President Mohamed Morsi announced a new initiative to support Egyptian women’s rights which aims to expand the role of women and resolve their most pressing challenges. The National Salvation Front (NSF) also announced the establishment of a permanent committee tasked with defending women’s rights. The NSF did not attend the presidential initiative on women’s rights, and criticized the presidency’s initiative to support women rights for ignoring the National Council for Women (NCW), considering this an attempt to create an alternative body to the council. In related news, Salafi group al-Gabha al-Salafiya stirred controversy when it called upon the Shura Council to “quickly discuss a new law for the formation of the NCW which would put it under the [Shura] Council’s auspices”.  [DNE, Aswat Masriya, El Watan (Arabic) 3/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Shura Legislative Committee agrees to redistricting | Shorouk (Arabic)
Nour refuses to participate in NSF roundtable, says leaders incited Moqattam violence | DNE
Wasat Party leader demands ElBaradei’s Nobel Prize be rescinded | Egypt Independent
Nour Party head criticizes Shura Council, visits Azhar over sukuk law | Egypt Independent, Al Jazeera (Arabic)


Egypt’s prosecutor-general investigates violence at Brotherhood HQ
Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah ordered Saturday the opening of investigations into a complaint filed by lawyers representing the Muslim Brotherhood against 14 political figures, parties, and managers of social media pages accused of inciting violence against the Islamist group, totalling 169 complaints. In a press statement, Abdullah’s office condemned the calls for protests by the opposition on Friday, saying it caused "several skirmishes that led to the injury of citizens and property damage." The prosecutor-general summoned Brotherhood lawyers to hear their arguments. Those summoned include former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, former lawmaker Ziad al-Oleimi and several iconic figures from the pro-democracy movement behind the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak. These include Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Nawara Negm, daughter of Egypt’s best known satirical poet, and senior opposition politician Mohammed Aboul-Ghar. Egypt’s Salafist Front also lodged a complaint with the prosecutor-general on Sunday against 38 prominent opposition figures, including Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei. [Ahram Online, AP, DNE, Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic), 3/25/2013]

Egypt court postpones verdict on parliamentary election
The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) on Sunday postponed its verdict on appeals against the suspension parliamentary elections until 7 April. The verdict was delayed to enable the presidency, the head of the Shura Council and the justice ministry time to show they had authorised the Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority to submit the appeal on their behalf. The appeals were submitted by the Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority on behalf of the presidency, and by former MP Mohamed al-Omda. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 3/24/2013]

Courts set verdict sessions for ‘slander’ cases
The Supreme Administrative Court has set 6 April to consider a lawsuit demanding that Bassem Youssef’s popular comedy show "al-Bernameg" be banned. The plaintiff, lawyer Mahmoud Hassan Abu al-Enin claimed that the show is “against Islamic ​​and Arab values, and against the principles of organizing satellite broadcasting, which obliges [one] not to negatively influence social peace, national unity and public morals” and violates Articles 31 and 81 of the Constitution. In a related case, the “NileSat” Company had halted the broadcast of some satellite television channels according to reports from the Media Ministry saying its content should be censored, yet the Administrative Court suspended the decision on basis of the lack of jurisdiction. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 3/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sabry military trial verdict postponed a third time | DNE
Eight accused of attacking police to be tried on May 13 | Aswat Masriya
Mubarak’s family reimburse ‘illegal gifts’ | Ahram Online
Organization sues Ministry of Information for lack of transparency | DNE
Court orders re-trial of Fahmy and Salem in Egypt-Israel gas case | Ahram Online
Lawsuit filed against Amr Hamzawy for espionage and attempting to overthrow Morsi | El Watan (Arabic)
Salafi leader’s son detained, faces murder charges | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent


Egypt raises tariffs on ‘luxury’ goods, customs on foodstuff, accessories
President Morsi has issued a decree raising customs tariffs on 100 ‘luxury goods’, including shrimps, caviar and chewing gum. The move comes as the Egyptian government struggles to reduce its balance of payment deficit and raise state revenues to bridge the government funding gap. The decree issued on Sunday raises customs tariffs by 5 percent to 40 percent on items including sunglasses, watches, nuts, boats and video games. [Ahram Online, AP, Reuters/Aswat Masriya, SIS, Egypt Independent, 3/25/2013]

Energy subsidies to be lifted in three years: Hatem Saleh
Energy subsidies will be gradually lifted in the coming three years, raising the price of energy except for factories that have a social dimension, said Hatem Saleh the minister of industry and foreign trade. “The state bears a heavy bill in supporting the energy sector and it is seeking to restructure it through multiple agreements with different economic sectors in order to put forward a plan aiming to reach a fair price for energy,” Saleh said. [DNE, 3/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Al-Beltagi: Real risk to Egypt’s economy is exodus of investors | DNE
Al-Sharif: Egypt set to attract record levels of investment | DNE
Egypt telecom minister flies to Silicon Valley for investments | Ahram Online
Egypt accepts bids for $38.4 mln at forex auction on Monday | Reuters
OCI to pay $1bn in tax settlement: Minister | Ahram Online
Seventeen PPP projects to be financed using sukuk: Panel | DNE
Ministry of Finance promotes PPP agreements | DNE
Egypt to spend $1.6 billion on local wheat purchases | Reuters
CBE raises rates by 50 points basis to support the economy | DNE, Egypt Independent


Friday sees Brotherhood offices under attack across Egypt

Protests against the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, sparked violence in a number of cities across the country on Friday. The Brotherhood’s main office in the Cairo district of Mokattam was the epicentre of events, and the area surrounding the premises saw prolonged violence between anti-Brotherhood protests and members of the Islamist group. Police repeatedly tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas. Attacks also took place in Alexandria, Mansoura, Mahalla, and Zagazig. One of the Black Bloc groups in Cairo claims responsibility for attacking the Muslim Brotherhood office in Manial district during the ‘Friday of Restoring Dignity’ demonstrations. Two hundred people were injured nationwide in the anti-Brotherhood clashes, including former presidential candidate and rights lawyers Khaled Ali. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 2/24/2013]

Also of Interest:
Police hit the streets of Port Said again | DNE
Egypt Sinai kidnappers seek to trade foreign hostages for detained relative | Ahram Online
Ministry: 21,000 prisoners who escaped during revolution arrested | Egypt Independent
Egypt confiscates shipments of military uniforms | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya


Human rights groups condemn Moqattam violence

Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the clashes that took place in Moqattam on Friday. The council called on Egyptians to denounce the events at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters, which the council described as: “Unjustified attacks on citizens who have been targeted on the basis of physical appearance and political identity.” The Maspero Youth Union and Free Egyptians Party accused the FJP of detaining and beating members of the party. At least a dozen journalists were injured while covering the clashes. [DNE, 3/25/2013]

Islamist protesters besiege Egypt media city
Hundreds of Islamist protesters converged outside Egypt’s Media Production City (MPC) on Sunday to protest perceived anti-Islamist bias in Egyptian media organisations. Several media figures were reportedly assaulted by Islamist protesters at the Media Production City (MPC) in Sixth October City on Sunday. Hundreds of Islamist protesters returned to Media Production City Monday to continue surrounding the facilities after earlier leaving the area. Altercations between protesters and reporters broke out at the city’s fourth gate as 20 Central Security Forces teams and 14 armored vehicles were deployed to secure the facility and employees within. The Egyptian Popular Current condemned on Sunday the siege of the MPC by the Islamist protesters. It also held the president responsible for what it described as the crime of besieging the city. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/25/2013]

Also of Interest:
Journalists Syndicate to distribute uniforms | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s Brotherhood loses Pharmacists Syndicate polls to secular list | Ahram Online, DNE
Youth group calls for anti-Morsi protests on 6 April | Ahram Online, DNE


Libya to give Egypt US$2 bn; Egypt to extradite ex-officials
Libya is in the process of giving Egypt US$2 billion to support its economy, the new Libyan ambassador to Cairo, Mohamed Fayez Gibril, told the Turkish news agency Anadolu. The money would be a deposit to the Central Bank of Egypt. Meanwhile, Egypt’s prosecutor general decided Sunday to extradite to Libya two former regime officials wanted on charges of corruption, a judicial source told AFP. The move is part of a prisoner swap deal under which Egypt is expected to trade four members of the Muammar Gaddafi regime for Egyptians detained in Libya. The Libyan government has agreed to provide Egypt 1 million barrels of oil per month to be refined in Egypt, granting it a portion of them to provide much-needed diesel fuel. Libya is also considering granting Egypt a share of Libyan reconstruction projects. Egypt’s Arab Contractors Company is competing for Libyan projects worth LE3 billion. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, SIS, Asharq al-Awsat (Arabic), 3/25/2013]

US State Department, EU ‘worried’ about violence in Egypt
Spokesperson of the US Department of State Victoria Nuland expressed worry over recent violent clashes between the opposition and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nuland said that the US had encouraged the Egyptian government to lead a comprehensive dialogue to deal with “popular frustrations” in the political and the economic spheres. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said on Saturday that she is concerned at reports of renewed violence in Cairo and at the general climate of increased domestic instability in Egypt. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/23/2013]

Also of Interest:
British envoy discusses political situation with Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide in Cairo | Ahram Online
For Egypt and Iraq, economic cooperation overshadows political talk | Egypt Independent
Cairo will not lose Arab League HQ: Egypt FM | Ahram Online
Senior Iranian figure arrives in Cairo | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Morsi in Qatar Monday for Arab League Summit | Ahram Online
UK hands over new info on smuggled funds | Egypt Independent
Mekki: EU will issue law on restoring stolen funds | SIS

Photo: Egypt Presidency

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