Top News: Lawsuit Filed against Newly Ratified Presidential Elections Law

A long-awaited law aimed at regulating Egypt’s upcoming presidential polls was officially issued by interim President Adly Mansour on Saturday. The secretary general of the Lawyers’ Syndicate in Beheira filed a lawsuit before the State Council in Alexandria on Saturday protesting an article in the law that immunizes the final results from being challenged in the courts. 


Mehleb sets priorities for his government
In his first interview since taking office on Feb. 25, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said that his government would focus on security issues, social justice, and tackling Egypt’s subsidies. During the interview he expressed support for the interior ministry pointing to the importance of improving security throughout the country. Mehleb, who is a former member of the Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, also emphasized the need for social justice saying, “Protecting the rights of minorities, women, disabled people and the establishment of social justice are important for protecting the human dignity of all Egyptians and this is what I will be aiming for.” Before concluding his interview, he acknowledged the problem of corruption within government institutions and said that he has already referred complaints to the prosecutor general. [Ahram Online, 3/9/2014]

Lawsuit filed against newly ratified presidential elections law
A long-awaited law aimed at regulating Egypt’s upcoming presidential polls was officially issued by interim President Adly Mansour on Saturday. In a press conference held on Saturday, Mansour’s legal and constitutional affairs advisor Ali Awad indicated that the next step will be a meeting of the Presidential Election Commission (PEC)–the five-member judicial body tasked with supervising presidential polls–to prepare for the process which will see Egypt elect its second president in three years. The secretary general of the Lawyers’ Syndicate in Beheira filed a lawsuit before the State Council in Alexandria on Saturday protesting an article in the law that immunizes the final results from being challenged in the courts. This article has also come under fire from several constitutional experts, politicians, and rights activists. In a separate move, a law that would prohibit those currently in detention and those convicted of a crime from participating in public life was struck down on Saturday by the State Council. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 3/9/2014]


Activists’ lawyers withdraw over claims clients were beaten
The lawyers for three prominent activists walked out of court on Monday in protest over the alleged beating of their clients, Ahmed Douma, Ahmed Maher, and Mohamed Adel. The three activists were in court appealing a three year prison sentence and EGP50,000 fine for organizing an unauthorized protest. The activists asked the court to document the assault – which allegedly took place while they were being transferred from Tora prison – in the trial records. They also asked their lawyers to withdraw from the courtroom in protest before the verdict was read.  [Ahram Online 3/10./2014]

Court upholds sentence for policeman in Sayed Bilal torture case
An Egyptian appeals court rejected Osama al-Keneisy’s appeal of a fifteen year prison sentence for torturing Sayed Bilal to death in January 2011. Security officers arrested, questioned, and tortured Bilal in connection to the bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on January 1 2011. Although there were originally five officers sentenced in absentia in relation to Bilal’s death two officers later turned themselves in and successfully appealed their convictions. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya 3/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
Nine detainees arrested during revolutionary anniversary released | DNE
Cases against Islamist figures adjourned to April 12 | Ahram Online
Mubarak retrial to be televised again | Ahram Online


Sisi to launch $40 billion housing project in Egypt
Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will launch a new initiative to build a million housing units for low-income Egyptians, an official spokesman announced on Sunday. Military spokesman Ahmed Ali said on Sunday that the “For Egypt’s Youth” initiative will be established through cooperation between leading UAE construction company Arabtec and the Egyptian armed forces. The collaboration is planned to continue for five years. On Sunday, Sisi met with managing director of Arabtec Hassan Abdullah Smeik to discuss the details of the project, including where the units will be built, and the time frame of the work. The project will have a total value of $40 billion, according to a statement yesterday by Arabtec, with the military saying it will focus on Egyptians with “limited income,” according to statements posted yesterday on the official Facebook page. [Ahram Online, Bloomberg, AP, Mada Masr, 3/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
China provides Egypt with $24.4 million grant | DNE
Egyptian urban annual inflation slows to 9.8 percent in February | Reuters
Egypt to Miss GDP Growth Target This Fiscal Year, El-Arabi Says | Bloomberg
Ministry of Finance to focus on unemployment and energy subsidies issues | DNE
Government will not cut energy subsidies: Prime minister | DNE
Economy in a week: Egypt reclassified as frontier market | Mada Masr
Dubai retail giant to expand investments in Egypt | Ahram Online
Electricity minister denies reports on increased cost of electricity | SIS


Four arrested as police clash with students at Cairo University on Sunday
Police fired teargas at a student protest organized by a pro-Mohamed Morsi grouping at Cairo University on Sunday.  The teargas was reportedly fired after a vehicle owned by TV channel CBC was torched. Like much of the Egyptian private and state media, CBC has taken a strongly anti-Morsi line in its coverage of Egyptian politics. Police forces arrested four alleged assailants following the clashes. State-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported that they are students at an Al-Azhar institute in the district of Imbaba, and were involved in disrupting traffic and setting CBC’s broadcasting van on fire. The pro-Mohamed Morsi Students Against the Coup (SAC) distanced itself from the clashes, with coordinator Adam Mohamed saying he was “surprised” to discover a TV news van had been set on fire. In the wake of the clashes, Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education Wael al-Degwy stated on Monday that police will not enter campuses unless requested to by university presidents, assuring that only administrative security guards will be stationed inside. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, DNE, 3/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Alexandria public transport workers begin strike | Ahram Online
Friday protests leave three dead, twenty-seven injured across nation | DNE
Doctors, dentists and pharmacists start open ended strike | DNE
Maspero must stop ‘muzzling’ voices of dissent: ANHRI | DNE
Bassem Youssef: Morsi era was more democratic | Egypt Independent
MBC Misr signal jammed while airing ‘El-Bernameg’ | DNE, Mada Masr
Egyptian journalists protest lack of access to trials | Ahram Online


Security forces arrest ‘terrorist’ suspects in Mansoura, Alexandria, Sinai
Authorities in Alexandria have arrested a “terrorist cell” that they said has committed a number of crimes against state institutions and police forces, an official said. In a Facebook statement, the official said that the network, which includes three individuals, was funded by the Muslim Brotherhood. The supreme state security prosecution also decided on Sunday to detain twelve suspects pending investigation, on charges of allegedly belonging to a Mansoura ‘terrorist cell.’ Investigators also say that the cell was funded by the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, Egypt’s armed forces arrested thirteen suspects on Saturday in a security operation in Sinai’s Arish City, Egypt’s military spokesman said. Spokesman Ahmed Ali also told the state news agency that a workshop that was used to create explosive devices was demolished in Saturday’s operation. [Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 3/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
Sound bomb explodes in Heliopolis | DNE, Mada Masr
Shootout in Zagazig critically injures two policemen | DNE


UAE supports Saudi decision to blacklist Brotherhood
The United Arab Emirates has thrown its support behind neighboring Saudi Arabia’s decision to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, increasing Gulf Arab pressure on the Islamist group. The Western-allied UAE, a seven-state federation that includes the cosmopolitan business hub of Dubai, said it will cooperate with Saudi Arabia to tackle “those terrorist groups through liquidating all forms of material and moral support.” Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision to list the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, the pro-Mohamed Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy denounced the Saudi Arabian government’s support of “the bloody treacherous coup” in a statement released on Monday. The Muslim Brotherhood released a separate statement expressing its surprise at the move. [AP, DNE, 3/9/2014]

Egypt foreign ministry criticizes Geneva report on freedoms violations
Twenty-seven nations on the United Nations Human Rights Council released a joint declaration on Friday expressing “concern about the escalating violence” in Egypt. While the nations, which include Denmark, the United States, Japan, Turkey and several other European countries, were careful to “strongly condemn the reprehensible terrorist attacks” perpetrated by insurgent groups, the report concentrated on repression and human rights abuses committed by the interim government. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty criticized the declaration, describing it as inaccurate. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 3/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
Threat of terrorism still present in the region: Foreign minister | DNE
No Palestinian reconciliation without Egypt sponsorship: Hamas | DNE
Egypt presses Libya on expatriate safety | DNE
FM urges Arabs to work for uprooting terrorism | SIS