Top News: EU to Monitor Upcoming Presidential Vote

European Union observers will monitor Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections under an agreement concluded Thursday between visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, a joint statement said.

Governor forced to resign after endorsing Sisi’s presidential bid
The New Valley governor, Mahmoud Khalifa, resigned from his position on Thursday after publicly supporting Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s presidential campaign. Khalifa filed a recommendation form supporting Sisi’s presidential candidacy, defying governmental instructions to officials to remain neutral in the presidential elections set for May. Accepting the resignation, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said: “The government should insist on its commitment to complete neutrality and on proving this neutrality to the whole world, in order to have fair and free elections.” The campaign of presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi praised the decision, saying it is evidence of the government’s desire to remain neutral in the electoral process. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 4/11/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Hossam al-Qaweish appointed official cabinet spokesperson | SIS
  • Salafi Call undecided on support of presidential candidate; Decision will be based on religiosity | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Egyptians voting outside home district must register beforehand: Elections body | Ahram Online
  • 474, 300 endorsements issued to support presidential candidates so far: Official | SIS


Egypt military court jails two, acquits one over leaked Sisi video
A military court on Thursday convicted two people of divulging military secrets for their involvement in leaking videos of former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Rassd network said on its website that the court sentenced the network’s social media manager, Islam al-Hommosy, to one year in jail on the charges. Also convicted according to Rassd was military conscript Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, who was sentenced to three years in jail. Another journalist and a co-founder of the network, Amr Salama al-Qazzaz, was acquitted, the network added. [Ahram Online, 4/10/2014]

Prosecutor orders arrest of forty over Aswan violence
Prosecutors in Aswan have ordered the arrest of forty people over their involvement in tribal clashes that left twenty-seven dead since last Friday. State run EGYNews also reports that security forces in Aswan arrested a teacher belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, along with two other suspects, on charges of inciting the violence. According to EGYNews, the three suspects were arrested in possession of weapons and Molotov cocktails. [Egypt Independent, 4/11/2014]

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Egypt cabinet approves draft law barring challenges to contracts
Egypt’s cabinet approved a draft investment law on Thursday that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made between the government and an investor, two government officials said, a move that could boost the struggling economy. Since the 2011 revolt, Egyptian courts have issued at least eleven rulings ordering the state to reverse deals signed by the former president’s administration. The lawsuits have been brought by activists and lawyers who allege that companies were sold off too cheaply in deals that were representative of corrupt business practices during the Mubarak era. [Reuters, 4/10/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt stocks end week up as investor appetite returns | Ahram Online


Secular Egyptian groups demonstrate against protest law
Egyptian anti-government groups on Thursday held a march in central Cairo in protest against a law that imposes strict limits on public demonstrations. The march, organized by the Way of the Revolution movement, started with a press conference at the Journalists Syndicate, where they announced the launch of a campaign involving graffiti, human chains, a marathon, and more, culminating in a protest at the Presidential Palace on April 26. Protesters called for the release of those detained at previous illegal demonstrations. According to the activists, more than 1,000 people have been arrested for breaking the law since it was issued.  Groups supporting the protest included the April 6 Youth Movement, the Freedom for the Brave movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Popular Current, the Egyptian Current Party, the Strong Egypt Party and the Bread and Freedom Party. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 4/10/2014]

National Alliance to Support Legitimacy calls for week-long protests
Several Egyptian cities witnessed protests against the transitional government and the military after the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called for protests all week under the name “the coup continues to destroy.”  Egyptian security forces intensified their presence around several prominent squares on Friday in response to NASL’s call for demonstrations. In Mounifeya security forces arrested two students while clearing a rally against the military. A similar scene occurred in Alexandria where police arrested five supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. Security forces also clashed with demonstrators at al-Azhar University and Mohandeseen. In Alexandria supporters of presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gathered around Qa’id Ibrahim Mosque holding banners and chanting slogans in support of the former defense minister.  [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 4/10/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Al Jama’a al-Islameya launches campaign against killing of demonstrators and bomb attacks  | Shorouk (Arabic)


Two Brotherhood members killed in gunfight with police in Gharbiya
Two Muslim Brotherhood members were killed during a gunfight with security forces in the Nile Delta, north of Cairo, state news agency MENA reported on Friday. The two men, along with others, attempted to torch a traffic checkpoint, and opened fire on police forces guarding a highway connecting the cities of Tanta and al-Mahalla al-Kubra in the northern governorate of Gharbiya, MENA said. One assailant has been arrested while the others escaped, the reported added. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 4/11/2014]

Two explosions in October 6 City
Two explosions hit Hossary Square in October 6 City, west of Cairo, less than three hours apart on Thursday. The first bomb exploded in a busy area, leaving a police officer with minor injuries. No one was injured in the second blast. Security forces closed the street where the bombs detonated and cleared the area in fear of a third attack. The first bomb was planted  by an unknown assailant planted under security Thursday evening under a car that belongs to a Giza traffic officer who was organizing traffic in the busy Hossary Square in October 6 city, an interior ministry spokesperson said. [Ahram Online, 4/10/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • One militant killed in clashes with army in Sinai | Aswat Masriya
  • Five arrested in Mounifeya on terrorist charges; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis cell discovered in Fayoum | EGYNews (Arabic)


EU to monitor Egypt upcoming presidential vote
European Union observers will monitor Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections under an agreement concluded Thursday between visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, a joint statement said. The statement added that Ashton welcomed the expected signing of the necessary agreements with the country’s electoral committee and foreign ministry “allowing the unobstructed movement of EU observers throughout the country and access to all legal political parties.” “The mission will undertake its work and make assessment of the election process impartially and neutrally,” the statement continued, asserting that “both sides are looking forward to a transparent and credible vote”. [Ahram Online, 4/11/2014]

UK foreign office’s 2013 human rights report concerned by violations in Egypt
With a case study on Egypt, the 2013 Foreign and Commonwealth Report on Human Rights and Democracy was released on April 10 by William Hague, the British foreign secretary. Commenting on Egypt, the foreign secretary said “A draft new constitution in December offered greater protection for women’s rights and minorities. But in the last year we have also seen the use of excessive force against protesters, hundreds of death sentences handed down after inadequate trials and worrying restrictions on political participation. We are also deeply concerned by the harassment and detention of journalists.” [Ahram Online, 4/11/2014]

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