Top News: Egypt Vows to Pass Anti-Terrorism Law after Cairo University Blasts

Senior Egyptian ministers said they would pass legislation on Thursday “connected to confronting terrorism,” in a statement released hours after three explosions killed two people in Cairo.

Sabbahi campaign members arrested; Sisi campaign collects 27,000 recommendation forms  
Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi’s campaign announced on Wednesday its members are being arrested and assaulted, among other violations nationwide. Students Ahmed Teama and Mohamed Refa’i, who were working as part of Sabbahi’s campaign at Mansoura University, were arrested in front of the university “among random arrests during students protests inside the university,” according to a campaign statement. Four campaign coordinators, Amali Mohamed, Ibrahim Mohamed, Sohair al-Barbari, and Islam Nabil, were assaulted in Heliopolis court while they were helping citizens file signatures supporting Sabbahi. Supporters of former defense minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stole and tore up the signed documents they had collected, tore the campaign’s banners, smashed their cameras, and erased photographs from their memory cards. In Kafr al-Sheikh, Sisi and Sabbahi supporters argued at the office of the local public notary offices where they were submitting their endorsements of the candidates. The campaign for Sisi announced that it had collected 27,000 signatures endorsing his candidacy for president. According to Egypt’s electoral law a candidate must collect at least 25,000 endorsements in order to run. [Ahram Online, 4/3/2014]

Egypt vows to pass anti-terrorism law after Cairo University blasts
Senior Egyptian ministers said they would pass legislation on Thursday “connected to confronting terrorism,” in a statement released hours after three explosions killed two people in Cairo. The statement from a high-level security committee including the prime minister and ministers of defense and interior, did not go into further details on the contents of the law. It said the bill would be presented to the cabinet for approval. [Reuters, 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ibrahim Mahlab meets with various party heads | DNE
  • Mubarak’s lawyer denies media report on statements about Sisi | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, AMAY (Arabic)
  • Mu’nis: Supporting Sabbahi is support for the revolution | Shorouk (Arabic)


Verdict date set for April 10 for RNN journalists in ‘Sisi leaks’ trial
The verdict session of the military trial of five civilians accused of involvement in the leaks of video and audio recordings of former minister of defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been set to April 10. The decision was made after the trial resumed on Wednesday. The first trial session was held on February 26. The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) on Tuesday called on the Military Criminal Court to acquit the two Rassd News Network (RNN) journalists facing trial. The human rights organization called for an end of the journalists’ trial in the case that includes three other defendants, one of whom is the chairman of the board of directors of the news network and the other a former soldier. All five defendants on trial are being charged in relation to a series of leaks RNN released over the past few months, containing audio and video footage of comments made by Sisi. [DNE, 4/2/2014]

Seventy-six minors charged with illegal protesting released on bail
An Alexandria juvenile misdemeanor court on Wednesday ordered the release of seventy-six minors on bail pending trial. The underage defendants were charged with violating a protest law issued in November which bans all demonstrations that are not pre-approved by the interior ministry. A court verdict for the defendants will be issued on April 9. The seventy-six were arrested in different clashes that took place between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces in November, December and January. The children were also charged with possession of Molotov cocktails and vandalism. [Ahram Online, 4/3/2014]

Two of 529 defendants sentenced to death in absentia arrested
Egyptian security forces apprehended two men accused of participating in an attack on a police station that resulted in the death of a police officer shortly after the dispersal of two large sit-ins at Raba’a al-Adaweya and al-Nahda squares in Cairo on August 14. The two men were previously sentenced to death in absentia last week along with 527 others in a case that sparked international criticism of the Egyptian justice system. During the security campaign resulting in the capture of the two men, authorities also seized a sizeable weapons cache that included guns, ammunition, and fireworks, according to the state run EGYNews. [EGYNews (Arabic), 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Trial of Mubarak, sons, former minister postponed | DNE
  • Trial of Badie, Hegazy, others postponed to April 8 | DNE
  • Judicial source: Turkish citizen sentenced to three years appealing verdict | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Trial against Bassem Youssef’s al-Bernameg to begin April 8 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Trial of thirty-eight Brotherhood supporters accused of storming metro stations begins | Ahram Gate (Arabic)
  • Hegazy, Beltagy Raba’a torture trial resumes Thursday | Ahram Gate (Arabic)


Officials announce plans to reduce blackouts; Cabinet approves use of coal for cement industry
Following two days of increased power cuts, Egypt’s government on Wednesday announced plans to increase the country’s supply of electricity by importing natural gas and diesel in the short term and beginning construction on three new power plants.  Gaber al-Dessouki, chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company said at a press conference there would be “gradual improvement during the next two weeks,” adding however that while the cuts would decrease, no one should expect them to end anytime soon. Meanwhile, minister of electricity and renewable energy Mohamed Shaker said on Thursday that there is a 10 percent deficit in the fuel required to fully operate the nations’ power stations, which translates into power cuts of two to three hours daily. If the shortage reaches 20 percent, power outages may last for up to six hours until July, Al Masry Al Youm reported him saying. Egypt’s cabinet, meanwhile, on Wednesday announced on Facebook the approval to use of coal for power generation by the energy-intensive cement industry, after a fierce debate within the government over whether the highly pollutant fuel should be permitted for use. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • World Bank grants Egypt $300 million SME loan | Amwal al-Ghad
  • Egypt’s unified license details announced in the absence of mobile operators | Ahram Online
  • Stock market loses EGP 45 million Tuesday as result of Cairo University blasts | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s stocks rise on Wednesday despite Cairo University bombings | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian foreign reserves edge up in March: Central Bank head | DNE
  • Fourth mobile license to be proposed at EGP 2.5 billion | Egypt Independent
  • CBE governor says $3 billion paid to Qatar in December | Egypt Independent


Police to enter universities during exam time if necessary: Minister
Egypt’s higher education minister said that security forces might enter university grounds to ensure security during the end-of-year exams if unrest continues on campuses nationwide. Police might be enlisted to secure the exams, slated for late May, as was the case in the first semester, when violence at universities reached its peak, higher education minister Wael al-Degwy said in a televised interview on Wednesday. Degwy added that there is no plan to postpone exams. [Ahram Online, 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Journalists leave press conference after no show from Egypt, UAE ministers | Ahram Online
  • April 6 fronts coordinating joint protests on movement’s sixth anniversary | DNE
  • April 6: We reject Brotherhood exploitation of protests for lack of a common goal | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Death of student wounded in Cairo University clashes last week | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Activist says Cairo University blast is part of “Islamic resistance”
A series of three bombs that went off Wednesday outside Cairo University, killing a police general and wounding seven people, introduces a new level of violence to the almost daily battles at campuses fought by Egyptian police and students loyal to the ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. The blasts targeted a post of riot police deployed outside Cairo University in case of protests, in apparent retaliation for police assaults. Islamist activist Abdel Rahman Ezz described the blasts in a Facebook post as “suicide attacks against (occupation) police and military.” Ezz described the attack as part of the “Islamic resistance,” adding that the attack was in retaliation for the deaths of Al-Azhar and Cairo University students in the past seven months. The militant group, Ajnad Misr, claimed responsibility for the attack later in the day. Following the attack, spokesman of Salafist Nour Party Sherif Taha said, in an oblique reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, that there are key demands to be met, if they are serious about rejecting violence. Khaled Daoud, spokesperson for the liberal Constitution Party said, “These terrorist attacks have no place in political life.” The ultraconservative al-Jama’a al-Islamiya, said the country needs a “political solution” rather than tackling every problem with a security mindset. Finally, Egypt’s leading Islamic authority Al-Azhar condemned the attacks, expressing its concern over a rise in insurgency. [AP, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Twenty arrested on charges of attacking eleven Sinai checkpoints | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt reiterates call for international cooperation against terrorism
The Egyptian presidency has called on the international community to take a “clear stance” against terrorism, hours after three bombs exploded at Cairo University. “[The international community] must take clear a stance, through full cooperation, to drain the sources of terrorism,” read the statement. “These dark forces are not targeting the guardians of the nation – the army and the police – they are targeting Cairo University and its students,” added the statement. Meanwhile, Abdel Aziz Bin Ali Sherif, a spokesperson for the Algerian foreign ministry said that Algeria condemns the Cairo University attacks, as well as all forms of terrorism in Egypt. His statement also underlined Algeria’s commitment to counter-terrorism.  [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 4/3/2014]

Muslim Brotherhood to challenge any attempts to restrict UK activity in British courts
The Muslim Brotherhood has urged Britain not to bow to foreign pressure in conducting a review of the group over concerns about possible links to violence, following its designation by Egypt and Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization. In a statement, the movement said that it would “openly engage” with the review ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron but it would challenge in the British courts “any improper attempt to restrict its activity.” The Brotherhood said it was concerned that Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Jenkins, would be leading the review, the statement issued late on Wednesday said. When asked why Jenkins was leading the review, a spokeswoman for Cameron said on Tuesday it was because it would focus on the group across the region, not just Egypt, and Jenkins had deep knowledge of the Middle East. [Reuters, 4/3/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • UN chief tells Egypt he is concerned by mass death penalties | Reuters
  • Egypt calls for fairer representation of African, Arab and Islamic countries in UNSC | DNE
  • Fahmy, Ban Ki-moon discuss Egypt peacekeeping role | DNE
  • Fahmy speaks at International Conference for the Prevention of Genocide | DNE
  • A look at Syrian refugees in neighboring countries | AP
  • Libya deports thirty-one Egyptians with illegal visas | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Egypt and Ethiopia’s FMs discuss Renaissance dam in Brussels | Ahram Online
  • US State Department delegation leaves Egypt after two day visit | Ahram Gate (Arabic)