Top News: Officer Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison in Abu Zaabal Case

An Egyptian court sentenced a police officer to ten years in prison, with labor, on Tuesday, over the killing of thirty-seven detainees who were described as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.


Sisi reshuffles top army posts
In a move that observers say might be a final step before he resigns from his military post, Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved several new appointments in the ranks of the Armed Forces leadership on Monday, newspaper state-owned Al-Ahram reported. Second Army Commander General Ahmed Wasfy is now head of the Armed Forces Training Authority, while General Mohamed al-Shahat, who used to be the Second Army’s chief of staff, is now its commander. Commander of the South Military District General Mohamed Arafat is now head of the Armed Forces Inspection Authority. General Yehia al-Gebaily, who was chief of staff of the South Military District, is now its commander. General Khairat Mohamed is now head of the Officers’ Affairs Authority instead of General Mostafa Sherif, who has been sent into retirement and appointed assistant to the defense minister. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 3/17/2014]

Police raid National Alliance to Support Legitimacy conference
Egyptian authorities raided a conference of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy in Cairo’s Garden City on Tuesday and held the attendees, Essam al-Sawy, from the Building and Development Party, told Aswat Masriya.  The conference was meant to discuss the dispersal of the Raba’a sit-in which was held in August in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. An eyewitness said that trucks and police forces have spread out in the area surrounding the headquarters of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party where the conference was being held on Tuesday. [Aswat Masriya, 3/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Head of Cairo appeals court meeting with African rights delegation to discuss preparations for elections | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Presidential candidates to undergo medical examinations | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission issues regulations for upcoming polls | Ahram Online


Court turns down request to replace Ittihadeya case judge; Erian acquitted in one case
An appeal court has refused to replace a judge in a trial involving Mohamed Morsi and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Mohamed al-Damaty, the lawyer for Brotherhood figure Essam al-Erian, had demanded that Judge Ahmed Abul-Fotouh be replaced. The case was suspended while the matter was dealt with. Abul-Fotouh gave a statement on state TV expressing his views on the case, a breach of Egyptian law which prohibits judges from discussing trials in public. Meanwhile, five Muslim Brotherhood members, among them Erian, were acquitted on Sunday by the Third Misdemeanor Court in Ismailia while ten others were sentenced for six months to three years for violence, destroying state property, and possessing firearms during a September march. On Monday, Freedom and Justice Party General Secretary Mohamed Beltagy and Muslim Brotherhood supporter Safwat Hegazy were set to stand trial for the torture of two police officers at the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-in at Raba’a al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 3/17/2014]

Officer sentenced to ten years in prison in Abu Zaabal case
An Egyptian court sentenced a police officer to ten years in prison, with labor, on Tuesday, over the killing of thirty-seven detainees who were described as supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Three other officers were given one year suspended sentences. The detainees suffocated to death while being kept in a police truck on their way to Abu Zaabal Prison last summer following Morsi’s overthrow. [Aswat Masriya, 3/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Former Minister of Industry referred to criminal court | DNE
  • Ten Egyptians jailed over anti-constitution vote protest | DNE
  • New lawsuit calling for FJP dissolution postponed to May 6 | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt’s GDP grew 1.2 pct in first half 2013/14: Minister

Egypt’s economy grew 1.2 percent in the first half of fiscal year 2013/14, the minister of planning said on Monday. Ashraf al-Arabi said Egypt had spent 25 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.59 billion) of 64 billion pounds pledged in stimulus packages, with much of that money coming in aid from the United Arab Emirates. “We aim to achieve a growth rate in the third quarter of more than 2 percent,” al-Arabi added. Egyptian gross domestic product in the last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, was up 2.1 percent. Egypt’s finance minister last week revised down the growth target for the current fiscal year to between 2 and 2.5 percent from 3 to 3.5. Economists polled by Reuters in January saw 2 percent growth for the year ending June 2014. Three years of political unrest since a popular uprising ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have scared away many investors and tourists, weighing on economic growth. [Ahram Online 3/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • In search of an energy vision | Mada Masr
  • Mubarak-era trade minister to face corruption charges | Ahram Online


NCHR releases full report on Raba’a sit-in dispersal
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) officially released on Monday its full report on the forcible dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-in at Raba’a al-Adaweya. The report concluded that clashes began during the dispersal of the sit-in when armed protesters shot and killed a policeman. It also concluded that the majority of protesters who took part in the sit-in were peaceful protesters, adding that such peaceful demonstrators constituted the majority of the death toll at the dispersal, estimated by the council to be 632. In addition another 1,492 protesters were injured during the dispersal. The report also mentioned reprisal attacks on churches and police stations in at least twenty-two governorates, which lasted four days and left 686 killed, including 64 policemen. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr 3/17/2014]

Cairo University incident sparks sexual harassment debate
A female student at Cairo University was sexually attacked by dozens of her colleagues from the law faculty for wearing black trousers and a pink sweater on campus, an outfit that the university’s head has referred to as a “mistake.” Speaking to private ONTV channel on Monday, Cairo University head Gaber Nassar said that the girl had been wearing a long garment over her clothes when she entered the campus gates but later took it off, “which led to the incident occurring.” “The girl’s mistake doesn’t justify [the male students’] behavior,” said Nassar, adding that the university does not allow students to wear “unusual or inappropriate” outfits on campus. Nassar said that Monday that the harassers had been monitored by security cameras and would be investigated. Fathi Fareed, spokesman for the “I Witnessed Harassment” campaign, told ONTV in a separate interview that he had been shocked by Nassar’s comments saying “This morning the university had denied the incident, until the video went viral,” Fareed added. “This is a social disaster of sexual violence that the state needs to confront.” This comes as Egypt’s National Women’s Council is demanding that the government criminalize harassment in Egypt. [DNE, Aswat Masriya 3/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • April 6 launches ‘Free Egypt’ calling for release of prisoners and rescinding the protest law | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Thirteen injured in clashes between security and Azhar University students in Dakahliya | Egypt Independent
  • Children’s rights centre calls for protection of children in schools | DNE
  • Doctors refuse Egyptian PM’s request to suspend strike | Ahram Online
  • Workers strike at Ain Sokhna electrical station demanding designation | Aswat Masriya (Arabic) 


New Egypt militant group claims killing policemen
A little-known militant group that recently surfaced in Egypt says it has killed more than two dozen policemen and soldiers in attacks in three provinces. The al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar al-Shariah Brigades claims it was behind the slayings of twenty-six Egyptian troops in what it describes as “the first phase of a campaign to punish traitors.” Egyptian authorities have not confirmed the killings of the twenty-six troops, though dozens of soldiers and policemen have died in escalating militant attacks following the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July. The authenticity of the statement, which was posted on militant websites on Tuesday, could not be independently verified. [AP, 3/18/2014][

Also of Interest:

  • Military: 43 individuals arrested during security campaigns in several governorates | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Eight Brotherhood students detained in Kafr al-Sheikh for possession of molotov cocktails and firearms | AMAY (Arabic)


Egypt throws support behind Abbas
Egypt has expressed its full support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the ongoing final status negotiations with Israel. The ministry statement pointed out that Abbas and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) have expressed their commitment to the “principles upon which the peace process, the Madrid Conference and the Arab Peace Initiative” and stressed Egypt’s support for all these initiatives. The ministry said this displays the PA President’s “real commitment and genuine will for peace based on the two-state solution.” In a similar story Egyptian activists slammed the return of Mohamed Dahlan to Cairo, criticizing the former leader in the Palestinian Fatah movement and former security chief in the Gaza Strip for meddling in Egyptian politics as well as past abuses of power. [DNE, Mada Masr 3/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Dick Cheney leaves Cairo, Congressional delegation arriving Wednesday | AMAY (Arabic)