Top News: Parties Condemn State’s Violent Practices

The Muslim Brotherhood’s responsibility for escalating violence and terrorizing citizens should not implicate security forces in practices that violate the newly passed constitution, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) said Wednesday. In a press statement, the party condemned alleged torture that took place at detention facilities where those arrested on the backdrop of the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary are kept.


Parties condemn state’s violent practices
The Muslim Brotherhood’s responsibility for escalating violence and terrorizing citizens should not implicate security forces in practices that violate the newly passed constitution, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) said Wednesday. In a press statement, the party condemned alleged torture that took place at detention facilities where those arrested on the backdrop of the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary are kept. Of the 1,079 people the Ministry of Interior arrested on January 25, at least seventy-nine are being held at Abu Za’abal Prison. All seventy-nine have reported being subjected to torture, their lawyer Mahmoud Belal said. The ESDP called for an immediate investigation into the torture reports, which have been backed by a number of human rights organizations, warning that such “illegal” practices could “threaten the process of building a state that respects the law.” The Strong Egypt Party also condemned the state’s violent practices in a statement released Thursday. The party said Egyptians are living in a “republic of fear” and experiencing “the worst human rights violations Egypt has ever witnessed in its modern history.” Khaled Daoud, a spokesman for the Dostour Party, decried the security situation in Egypt, calling for the ministry of interior to be held accountable for its actions. He added that the constitution included provisions for national reconciliation and a charter for the media, neither of which have been implemented. The ministry of interior has denied torture allegations reported by those in detention. [DNE, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/14/14]

Also of Interest:
Alexandria Security Director: We do not have any political detainees or criminals in prison | Shorouk (Arabic)
Strong Egypt: Nour Party did not advise Aboul Fotouh not to run for president | AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
Tamarod: Opens door to volunteers to support Sisi, form political parties after presidential elections | AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Prosecution refers 170 Brotherhood supporters to criminal court
The South Assiut Prosecution has referred 170 Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Assiut to a criminal court on charges of damaging and torching a prosecutor’s office, a court, a police station, and a registration office. Among those referred to the court are head of the Brotherhood’s administrative office, Galal Abdel Sadek, and a number of the Brotherhood and al-Gamaa al-Islamiya and leading figures, judicial sources told Aswat Masriya on Thursday. The prosecution also charged the arrestees with smashing and setting ten police vehicles on fire and damaging two police checkpoints as well as the city council. [Aswat Masriya, 2/14/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian, German suspects referred to court over stealing artifacts from King Cheops pyramid | Egypt Independent
First session of Morsi trial set for Sunday | Tahrir (Arabic)


Egypt’s Araby: Economic plan to be subject of public dialogue
The Ministry of Planning intends to submit a national economic plan for public dialogue as soon as it is completed, according to Minister Ashraf al-Araby. The plan is to be implemented over three years starting in April. Araby explained that the new plan encompasses seven areas in Sinai, Upper Egypt, Wadi Gedid, and the northern coast. [Cairo Post, 2/14/14]

Egypt government allocates EGP 157 million to meet the demands of textile workers
In an attempt to placate the anger of thousands of textile-sector workers the economic committee of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Hazem Al-Biblawi agreed to pay the last batch of bonuses to the workers at an estimated cost of EGP 157 million. Minister of Investment Osama Saleh also revealed plans to develop the spinning and weaving companies at a cost of up to EGP 6 billion during the next 33 months. Thousands of workers at five public-sector textiles companies started a strike on Monday asking for the payment of their bonuses and calling for the application of the minimum wage and the dismissal of the chairman of the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving. [Al-Ahram, 2/14/14]

Also of Interest:
Cairo Tower shut down, workers laid off | Egypt Independent


Independent count puts January death toll at 265; MOI says 445 police killed since January 2011
Egypt’s death toll for the first month of 2014 is 265, including 108 killed on the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary, according to the independent statistical database Wiki Thawra. The number is almost double the official death toll for the revolution’s anniversary, which stands at sixty-six, according to Forensics Authority Spokesman Hisham Abdel Hameed. Throughout January, 198 people were killed in political clashes, twenty-nine in military campaigns conducted in an effort to combat terrorism, twenty-eight as a result of terrorist operations (including twenty-two security officials), five due to excessive use of force by security officials, and four inside detention facilities, according to Wiki Thawra. Meanwhile, a ministry of interior source told Aswat Masriya that 445 policemen, including ninety-three officers, have been killed since January 25, 2011.  According to the source, 223 were killed since June 30 alone. [DNE, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 2/14/2014]

Two killed in clashes at Pro-Morsi Friday protests
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has called for a week of protests to commemorate the six-month anniversary of the violent dispersal of the Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda Square protest camps on August 14. Clashes broke out in Cairo’s Nasr City on Friday when police forces attempted to disband a pro-Muslim Brotherhood march on Abbas al-Aqqad Street, said an Aswat Masriya witness. One person was killed in clashes that broke out between residents of a Damietta village and Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Osama Ahmed Farahat was killed when Tabl Village residents stood up to a march for Muslim Brotherhood supporters after the Friday noon prayer, said a security source. A 12-year-old child was killed in Minya when he was struck by a stray bullet while standing in a balcony at his home in Samalout, as a pro-Brotherhood march passed by. Police dispersed several protests in Minya with teargas, while clashes also broke out in Fayoum. In Alexandria, police dispersed a pro-Brotherhood protest, where at least twelve were arrested in possession of weapons, molotov cocktails, fireworks, according to daily newspaper, Tahrir. Egyptian security forces had fortified their presence around the capital and in neighboring Giza ahead of planned demos called for against the interim authorities by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  [Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Online, 2/14/2014]

University guards to be trained by ministry of interior to secure campuses
The Supreme Council of Universities (SCU) plans to initiate a “cooperation protocol” with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to guarantee the “stability of the educational process in the upcoming semester,” the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Thursday. Under the protocol, civilian administrative university guards would be trained by the MOI to ensure the stability and security of campuses with minimal intervention from state security forces. The council reportedly decided to launch the cooperation after agreeing in its Thursday meeting that police forces should be kept off campuses. They should only be allowed into universities if the campus was attacked by “outside assailants” at the request of the university’s presidents or their deputies, the council agreed. [Mada Masr, 2/13/2014]

Also of Interest:
Spanish team finds 3,600-year-old mummy | AP
An account of torture from Wadi al-Natrun prison | Mada Masr


Gunmen kill two police officers in Egypt’s Giza district
Two police officers were killed in a drive-by shooting in the Saqqara district of Giza, west of Cairo, Al-Ahram reported on Thursday. The policemen were part of a force securing the Giza archeological area. Policemen Hadi Hosni Hassan and Mohamed al-Sebai were stationed at the archaeological area when unidentified gunmen shot them dead, a security source told Aswat Masriya. Security bodies immediately cordoned off and swept the area to find the perpetrators, a source at the Interior Ministry has said. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 2/13/2014]

Army arrests suspects in helicopter attack; Sinai raids continue
Egyptian troops have arrested two suspected militants in Sinai, one of whom was involved in a deadly rocket attack on a military helicopter last month. The Egyptian army said that two “extremely dangerous” militants were arrested Thursday while in hiding in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, where Egypt’s army is waging a campaign to quell months of militant violence directed at security forces. One of the men was involved in the downing of an Egyptian military helicopter in the peninsula in January, army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement. Both men were injured in a gun battle with army forces during the arrest. The Armed Forces also  declared that it killed and injured a total of 112 armed militants during a raid in northern Sinai on Thursday, reported the state-owned news site EgyNews. Those killed were allegedly takfiri (hardline fundamentalist) jihadists, the military said. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, SIS, AMAY (Arabic), 2/14/2014]

Ministry of interior releases video of Brotherhood arrests
The Interior Ministry released a video Thursday evening showing the arrest of five men accused of killing a police officer. The men, who the ministry claimed were “Muslim Brotherhood elements,” are suspected of stabbing police sergeant Ahmed Gharib Soleiman to death while he was guarding the Virgin Mary Church in Ain Shams, the video said. One of the suspects gives his testimony in the video, but the footage appeared heavily edited, skipping between questions posed by an off-screen interrogator. The video also included footage of three other alleged Brotherhood members implicated in a separate incident. The three men, who were bandaged and bloodied in the footage, are accused of unlawful possession of 116 Molotov cocktails, shotgun ammunition and materials for manufacturing explosives. [Mada Masr, 2/13/14]

Also of Interest:
Terror attacks spike in Arab Spring countries during 2013 | DNE
Foreign Ministry: Security presence in Sinai decreases human trafficking | SIS
Three imprisoned from ‘Waraq terrorist cell’ for fifteen days, seven more arrested | AMAY (Arabic)


US criticizes Russia comments on Sisi; Report says Egypt Russia near $3 billion arms deal
United States Department of State Deputy Spokesman Marie Harf in a statement Thursday criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement endorsing Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for presidency. “We don’t endorse a candidate and I do not think it is, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr. Putin to decide who should govern Egypt. It’s up to the Egyptian people to decide,” Harf said during a daily press briefing. She added that the United States has urged the government to continue to advance an inclusive transition that includes all groups and all parties. She asserted that growing ties between Cairo and Moscow won’t impact “historical” relations between Washington and its key Middle East ally. When asked about the Egyptian-Russian joint communiqué condemning “foreign interference in domestic affairs of any country,” which could be read as a criticism of United States foreign policy, the Deputy Spokesman said she found it ironic that a foreign country issued a statement saying that other foreign countries should not get involved. In his first trip outside the country since ousting former president Mohamed Morsi, Sisi met with his Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss a planned $2 billion arms deal. A report issued Friday states that Russia and Egypt are nearing a $3-billion arms purchase agreement that will be financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The two sides have already either “initialed or signed” contracts for Egypt’s purchase of Mig-29 fighters, air and coastal defense systems, Mi-35 attack helicopters and smaller arms, the Vedomosti daily quoted two Russian government sources as saying. The Egyptian ambassador to Moscow has described Sisi’s reception in Moscow as very festive with a spirit of friendliness. [DNE, AFP/Ahram Online, 2/14/14]

Also of Interest:
Irrigation Minister: We will not recognize the Entebbe Convention | Egypt Independent
Egypt: Erdogan statement on Egypt presidency ‘unworthy of response’ | World Bulletin, Aswat Masriya (Arabic)