Top News: Egypt’s Army Took Part in Torture and Killings, Report Shows


 Egypt’s armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings across the country – including in the Egyptian Museum – during the 2011 uprising, even as military leaders publicly declared their neutrality, according to a leaked presidential fact-finding report on revolution-era crimes.



Egypt’s army took part in torture and killings during revolution, report shows
Egypt’s armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings across the country – including in the Egyptian Museum – during the 2011 uprising, even as military leaders publicly declared their neutrality, according to a leaked presidential fact-finding report on revolution-era crimes. The report, submitted to the president, Mohamed Morsi, by his own hand-picked committee in January, has yet to be made public, but a chapter obtained by the Guardian implicates the military in a catalogue of crimes against civilians, beginning with their first deployment to the streets. The chapter recommends that the government investigate the highest ranks of the armed forces to determine who was responsible. [Guardian, AMAY (Arabic), 4/10/2013]

Endowments Ministry bans political sermons, suspends popular sheikh
After issuing repeated warnings, the Endowments Ministry has ordered religious leaders to prevent political discourse in mosques, according to the minister. The instructions encompass any political discussions, whether they are for or against the government, Endowments Minister Talaat Afify said in a phone-in with the 90 Minutes talk show on Mehwar Channel Tuesday evening. On Tuesday the ministry suspended popular Sheikh Mazhar Shaheen, the imam of Omar Makram Mosque who often gives sermons in Tahrir Square. Afify said the ministry had received video evidence of Shaheen tackling politics in his recent Friday sermons. [Egypt Independent, AP/Ahram Online, 4/9/2013]

Shura set to vote on election laws Wednesday
Shura Council members voted down the formation of electoral districts for Egyptians abroad in the upcoming elections for the House of Representatives in its Tuesday session. The council is set to vote on the new House of Representatives elections bill and the political participation bill, which together form the legislation governing the electoral process for the upcoming lower house parliamentary elections. The committee approved the bill in its session and submitted it to the Shura Council ahead of scheduled debate and voting in plenary on Tuesday. [DNE, AMAY (Arabic), 4/10/2013]

Al-Dostour approves Gameela Ismail’s internal restructuring plan
Al-Dostour Party announced a new plan to complete the organisational structuring of the party within six weeks. The party’s high commission voted to approve Organisation Secretary Gameela Ismail’s proposed plan to hold elections within the coming six weeks in all governorates where branch positions are yet to be filled. Ismail also proposed the formation of a committee tasked with resolving internal conflicts within the party, a committee to handle structuring, and another to serve as an overseeing body. [DNE, 4/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Presidency holds workshop on women’s rights | DNE
Citizens reject the position of the opposition, say missed opportunities for reform | Shorouk (Arabic)
Ahmed Shafiq ‘not welcome’ in Egypt opposition bloc: NSF leaders | Aswat Masriya, Watan (Arabic)
Erian accuses ElBaradei of treason | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Salafi leader: We need to "empower religion instead of the people" | Aswat Masriya


Judiciary to investigate complaints against ex-Brotherhood supreme guide
Judicial sources claim the Supreme Judicial Council is investigating complaints filed against Mahdi Akef, the ex-Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide, over accusations he insulted the judiciary. The complaint includes a video clip of Akef alleging suggesting the dismissal of 3,500 judges following the next round of parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, the Judges Club announced it was also pursuing a legal case against Akef for his remarks. “Akef is stalking the judges,” said Judges Club Undersecretary Abdallah Fathy. “But we will continue to defend our independence.” [Egypt Independent, 4/9/2013]

Bassem Youssef faces new probe for ‘insulting Pakistan’
The Public Prosecution is probing new complaints against popular satirist Bassem Youssef, this time for "insulting Pakistan" and "spreading atheism," judicial sources told AFP on Tuesday. The wildly popular Youssef — whose weekly political satire program Al-Bernameg has spared few public figures of merciless critique —¬¬ is currently on bail pending investigation into charges of insulting President Mohamed Morsy and Islam. The new lawsuits accuse Youssef of "insulting the state of Pakistan and causing tensions in its relations with Egypt." He is also accused of insulting religion and "spreading atheism." [AFP/Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 4/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Libyan national charged with killing two police officers | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Court jails former MP for stealing LE22 mln in public funds | Egypt Independent, DNE


Egypt may ask for larger IMF loan, Qatar throws Egypt $3 bn lifeline
Egypt might ask the International Monetary Fund to increase a previously requested $4.8 billion (LE3.1 billion) loan to cover its budget deficit, the country’s planning minister said on Wednesday. "It’s very possible that we will increase the request but so far we are talking about $4.8 billion," Ashraf al-Araby told reporters during a visit to Qatar led by Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil. Qatar threw Egypt another unconditional financial lifeline on Wednesday as the Arab world’s most populous nation struggles to secure an IMF loan to ease its deepening economic crisis. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said after talks with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil that Qatar would provide an extra $3 billion on top of some $5 billion the Gulf state has already given Cairo, and would extend gas supplies to Egypt this summer as needed. [Reuters, Egypt Independent, AP, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 4/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s urban consumer inflation eases to 7.6 percent in March | Reuters
Diesel crisis forces 300 Kafr al-Sheikh fishing boats to halt activities | Egypt Independent


Mansoura University clashes leave 12 injured
Mansoura University clashes between members of the Free Islamic Movement and other students left 12 injured Tuesday, four of whom reported being shot. The rest suffered bruises and abrasions. A bus belonging to FIM was also damaged in the fights. In response, the university’s President Sayyed Abd el-Khaleq announced the campus will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday with the exception of students taking exams, reported state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Police arrived two hours after the fight broke out and dispersed crowds by firing into the air. Eyewitnesses said the FIM students were armed with shotguns. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, 4/10/2013]

Private security firms attempt to fill a gap left by a weakened security apparatus
A new draft law on private security companies currently on the table is an attempt to regulate a sector that for more than 30 years has operated with almost no oversight. This past week, students at Misr International University, who were engaged in a sit-in to demand increased safety measures on the highway and a road leading to campus, were attacked with excessive force by the university’s private security. Police refused to intervene in the clashes, highlighting a troubling security dynamic in Egypt’s post-uprising streets. [Egypt Independent, 4/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Official: CSF prevented ‘catastrophe’ during cathedral clashes | Egypt Independent
NSA: Libyan militias abducting Egyptians for ransom | Egypt Independent
Guards strike paralyzes Sharm Al-Sheikh airport | Aswat Masriya


Pope cancels weekly sermon, Hundreds march over church attack
Pope Tawadros II announced Tuesday that he has cancelled his weekly sermon and postponed mourning for the victims of recent sectarian violence. The pope’s secretary said the religious leader is angered following the Sunday attack on St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbasseya district over the weekend. Tawadros criticized police during a phone interview aired on the Marmorqos Coptic Channel Tuesday morning, accusing them of failing to secure the cathedral and funeral procession. Hundreds of people marched in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday to condemn sectarianism and call for unity between Muslims and Christians. At Tuesday’s protest, angry crowds condemned President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist-led government, the Muslim Brotherhood and the interior ministry. [Egypt Independent, SIS, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 4/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
‘Women on Walls’ campaign empower women via street art | Egypt Independent


Britain’s foreign office condemns cathedral clashes
British Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt has condemned violence that took place outside Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday. “I offer my condolences to the families of the victims, and urge all to show restraint,” Burt said, adding,  “Freedom of religion and belief is a vital component of a democratic society, and it is important that individuals are able to visit their places of worship safely and peacefully and that security forces act effectively to protect them.” The foreign minister said his government has welcomed the news of a thorough investigation in the case. [Aswat Masriya, 4/9/2013]

Cairo promises to ease travel at Rafah border
Cairo has promised to make crossing at the Rafah border easier during a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, according to a Hamas official Tuesday. Maher Abu Subha, head of the border authority in Gaza, said border traffic at the crossing is normal and denied reports Egyptian authorities had imposed restrictions on Palestinians traveling. He said the Palestinian side of the crossing had received a grant from the Islamic Development Bank through the Islamic Relief Foundation to improve infrastructure and facilitate border travel. [Egypt Independent, 4/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt-Iran tourism plan still alive, says Egyptian minister | Egypt Independent
U.S. embassy in Cairo denies Patterson called out for inappropriate behavior | Shorouk (Arabic)
Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister arrives in Cairo to discuss cooperation | Shorouk (Arabic)

Photo: Jonathan Rashad


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