Top News: Prosecutor-General Investigates ‘Kill Opposition Figures’ Fatwa

Feb 11 Protests AFP.jpg

Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of a Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Shaaban who said leaders of the main opposition coalition should be condemned to death under Islamic law for seeking to topple President Mohamed Morsi.


Salafis oppose Saudi infrastructure loan, claiming ‘usury’
Salafi lawmakers have again cast doubts over the religious legitimacy of a loan, this time from Saudi Arabia, saying that they fear that its interest rate qualifies as usury. The dispute comes just one day after lawmakers voiced opposition to a loan from the European Union for the same reason. MPs from the Nour Party got into a rancorous debate with Freedom and Justice Party MPs Monday over an agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia for the latter to fund a drinking water project in Nasser City. Nour Party members demanded that the agreement be reviewed by Al-Azhar’s Senior Scholars Authority, saying the 225 million riyal loan carried a usurous interest rate. [Egypt Independent, 2/12/2013]

Yasser Ali on Cabinet Change and National Dialogue
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali denied that President Mohamed Morsi would form a new cabinet in the imminent future. In a telephone interview on the program Masr al-Gedida with Moataz al-Damerdash on Hayat 2, Ali referred to Hesham Qandil’s government as “patriotic” and “honest.” If the president’s government is not sacked, changes to the cabinet are likely to come after elections for the House of Representatives. Ali also announced on Tuesday that the president will participate in the next round of National Dialogue talks, calling on political actors to participate in the dialogue, with the aim of reaching a national consensus and a roadmap for Egypt’s future. [DNE, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram (Arabic), 2/11/2013]

Shura Human Rights Committee: Harassment due to security vacuum
The Shura Human Rights Committee called on the government to increase punishment for the crime of sexual harassment and to accelerate the formulation of a legal framework to protect the right of peaceful protest, fight thuggery, regulate civil society organizations, among other legislation related to education reform. They also called for public hearings on the issues of sexual harassment and rape. The committee also denied reports that its members blame women who practice their right to peaceful protest. [Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram (Arabic), 2/12/2013]

Ghad Al-Thawra rejects Nour’s membership in Conscience Front
The high commission of the Ghad Al-Thawra Party has said it opposes the participation of its leader, Ayman Nour, in the National Conscience Front (NCF). In a statement published on Monday, the party said it opposed the move because it put the party on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), whereas the party should maintain a more centrist position. Deputy leader Mohamed Mohieddin said the term "conscience front" was exclusionary and suggested those who did not take part were without conscience. Political bureau chief Shadi Taha announced he would not take part in the party’s general assembly meeting due to Nour’s participation in the front. [Ahram Online, 2/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Nour Party initiative to be discussed at Egypt’s national dialogue | Ahram Online


Prosecutor-general investigates ‘kill opposition figures’ Fatwa
Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of a Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Shaaban who said leaders of the main opposition coalition should be condemned to death under Islamic law for seeking to topple President Mohamed Morsi, the state news agency said on Monday. Shaaban "will be detained for questioning over charges that he incited the death of leaders of the NSF", MENA news agency reported. Sha’aban blamed the media for distorting his statements and said he didn’t issue such decrees.[Reuters, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Al Arabiya, 2/11/2013]

Security officials acquitted of killing Beni Suef protesters to be retried
Public Prosecutor Talaat Abdallah approved an appeal against the acquittal granted to army officials and police officers accused of killing protesters in Beni Suef. On 15 January, Beni Suef Criminal Court cleared Major General Ahmed Shawqy — the governorate’s former security chief — and 11 police officers of charges implicating them in the deaths of 32 protesters in the cities of Beba, Samasta and Nasser on 28-29 January 2011. An appeal was filed against the acquittal, claiming that there were deficiencies in the case and due process was violated. With Abdallah’s approval of the appeal, the case will be referred to the Court of Cassation, which will set a date for its ruling. [Egypt Independent, 2/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Man accused of shooting police is sentenced | DNE
Prosecution appeals release of presidential palace detainees | DNE
Clashes around Mahalla court | DNE
Case against Morsi’s decree annulling the constitutional addendum postponed to April | Watan (Arabic)


Minister: Fuel crisis result of smuggling, not poor supply 
Egypt’s fuel crisis is the result of illegal trade rather than a supply shortage, Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal has said, arguing that daily diesel supplies stand at 35,000 tons, costing more than US$35 million. The ministry’s plan is to redistribute the current supply, excluding stations that smuggle fuel, the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an annual conference on petroleum industry in Arab states. The fuel shortage sparked protests in Assiut, with hundreds of demonstrators blocking the Cairo-Assiut highway. [Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/12/2013]

Egypt must keep economic reforms in line with political imperatives: IMF
The International Monetary Fund will resume talks with Egypt over a proposed $4.8 billion loan once Cairo ensures it that recent economic reform measures are in line with Egyptian "political imperatives," an IMF spokesman told Ahram Online. "We understand that the Egyptian authorities are in the process of updating their economic programme and adapting it to current economic circumstances," Wafa Amr, senior IMF press officer, said in an emailed statement.[Ahram Online, 2/11/2013]

Egypt farm bank launching retail Islamic services, NBD to finance electric grid using Islamic finance
The National Bank for Development (NBD) announced on Monday that it has signed on to finance US$110 million in improvements for the East Delta Electricity Company, which will be the first public project financed according to principles of Islamic Sharia, according to a bank statement. Additionally, Egypt’s main agricultural bank is launching Islamic retail services this month to meet increasing demand in rural areas, a bank official told Reuters. "We are launching sharia-compliant retail banking this month with a portfolio of 50 million pounds ($7.5 million) and can raise that to 100 million" next June based on demand, said Abdel Rahman Al Kafrawi, head of Islamic transactions at Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit (PBDAC).[Reuters, Egypt Independent, 2/11/2013]

Also of Interest:

Incentives to attract companies away from the grey economy | DNE
Contractors abandon businesses in Egypt due to sharp recession | Ahram Online


Hundreds of police stage rare protests, CSF on strike in Daqahliya
Hundreds of low-ranking policemen in Egypt are holding protests to demand they not be used as a tool for political oppression in the country’s ongoing turmoil. Dozens of policemen rallied Tuesday outside local security administration headquarters in at least 10 provinces. Some of them carried signs reading, "we are innocent of the blood of the martyrs." They are also protesting the disregard of their demands, which include the arming of low-ranking police, providing them and their families with medical treatment services at police hospitals, as well as issuing a law to develop the police apparatus. In Daqahliya, hundreds of Central Security Forces of the Gamasa camp went on strike Monday to protest the Shura Council holding them responsible for recent violence, objecting to having to protect Morsi’s home.   
[AP, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/12/2013]

Egypt, US discuss Bright Star military exercises
Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met on Monday with US Central Command chief James Mattis to discuss Egypt-US military cooperation. The meeting was also attended by Mattah’ delegation, US Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Sedqi Sobhy and other military officials. The attendees focused on the two countries’ joint military exercises, “Bright Star,” soon to take place in Egypt. [Egypt Independent, 2/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Maj. Gen. Abdeen Yousef appointed first deputy for the Ministry of Interior | Shorouk (Arabic)


Violence and politics on the day Mubarak’s toppling is remembered
The commemoration of the second anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s abdication in Egypt was centered around calls for the current president to step down, in a scene indicative of the tough time ahead for authorities. Tens were injured and 21 arrested, after peaceful protest marches turned into violent clashes between protesters and Central Security Forces outside the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace, on Monday night. Another 18 protesters were arrested in Tanta.  Around 10,000 angry protesters marching from downtown Cairo, Tahrir Square and Nasr City, descended upon Mohamed Morsi’s presidential palace in Heliopolis to commemorate Mubarak’s toppling — and demanded the abdication of the new regime. The Interior Ministry blamed protestors for the violence, saying that protests "started peacefully.” In Mohandessin, hundreds of members of the Mubarak Sons movement assembled in front of Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque to honor the ousted president. [Egypt Independent, Reuters, SIS, Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/12/2013]

U.S. State Department: YouTube ban, a violation of freedom of expression
The U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Monday at the press briefing that the the United States rejects the ban on YouTube in Egypt. "As a general matter, we reject censorship as a response to offensive speech. That kind of action violates the universal rights of citizens to exercise their freedom of expression, association, and assembly," said Nuland. Human rights organisations, online activists and users of online video-sharing platform YouTube were among those who decried the administrative court decision to block website in Egypt for one month. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, State Department Press Briefing, 2/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Protesters block entrance to Cairo’s Mogamma for third day | Ahram Online
Pope set good example for all leaders: Egypt Catholic Church official | Egypt Independent
Preachers Union accuses Endowments Ministry of politicized appointments | Egypt Independent


UN Secretary General: Egypt needs ‘meaningful aid’ 
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for "meaningful aid" to Egypt and Libya in order to help both countries steer out of their transitional phases. The secretary general said that  that “current troubles in Egypt and Libya should not be seen as proof that the old order was a better one,” adding that history has always proved that post-revolutionary periods of turbulence are temporary. [Egypt Independent, 2/11/2013]

Egypt, Turkey sign tourism partnership agreement
A partnership agreement has been signed between Egypt’s Federation of Tourism Chambers (EFTC) and the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) to boost cooperation in the field of tourism and to promote Egypt and Turkey as key tourist destinations in the region, Elhamy al-Zayat, the head of the EFTC, announced on Monday. It has also been agreed that Egypt will be the "country of the year" in Turkey for the year 2014 as part of a series of marketing campaigns aiming to promote tourism in Egypt and cultural exchange between the two countries, al-Zayat added. “In the spirit of fraternity, Turkey will be the country of the year in Egypt for the year 2015," asserted al-Zayat. [Ahram Online, 2/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State leaves Cairo after meeting with Foreign Minister Amr | Shorouk (Arabic)

Egyptian protesters stand on the tracks of the metro in Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square after demonstrators closed it down on 11 February 2013. (Photo: AFP)

Image: Feb%2011%20Protests%20AFP.jpg