Top News: Sisi Gives Clearest Sign Yet of Presidential Run

Egyptian armed forces chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sent the clearest signal yet that he will run for president, saying he cannot ignore the demands of the “majority,” the state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday. 


Sisi gives clearest sign of presidential run
Egyptian armed forces chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sent the clearest signal yet that he will run for president, saying he cannot ignore the demands of the “majority”, the state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday. Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony for military students Sisi said that “as a man who loves his country and loves the Egyptian [people]” he cannot “ignore the desire of many of them or turn his back on their will,” according to the official spokesman of the armed forces. The spokesman said that Sisi stressed that he is “currently working within the framework of his job as the minister of defense and there are many procedures and commitments that he must complete under the current difficult circumstances and challenges that Egypt is going through.” [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, AP, DNE, Mada Masr, 3/4/2014]

Egypt’s elections law submitted to interim president
A new law governing Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections has been revised and was sent on Monday to interim President Adly Mansour for a final review. A particularly contentious aspect of the law, which has been maintained, concerns an article allowing politicians and citizens to file appeals against the election’s official results as announced by the High Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC). Another divisive point in the law is the legal immunization of the decisions of the High Elections Committee. Magdy al-Agaty, the head of legislation at the State Council, the body tasked with reviewing amendments to the law, told the privately-owned ONtv channel on Monday that he had previously demanded that the committee’s decision not be immunized. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 3/4/2014]

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Morsi presidential palace trial postponed to March 6
The trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and fourteen other leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood on incitement charges has been adjourned to March 6 to give the court time to accommodate demands from the Brotherhood’s defense team. Mohamed al-Damaty, the defending lawyer for leading Brotherhood member Essam al-Erian, has demanded that one of the trial’s sitting judges, Ahmed Abou al-Fotouh, be replaced. Abou al-Foutoh recently appeared on state TV and gave a statement expressing his views on the case, a breach of Egyptian law which prohibits judges from discussing trials in public. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 3/4/2014]

Prominent activist Khaled al-Sayed released by prosecution
Egypt’s prosecutor-general on Tuesday ordered the release of three prominent activists arrested on 25 January in demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising. Khaled al-Sayed, Mohamed al-Sayes and Nagy Kamal, all leading leftist activists during the 2011 revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, were arrested for unauthorized protests, as per a law issued in November banning demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities. Last month, Sayed released a letter from prison detailing accounts of alleged torture and ill-treatment that he and Kamal along with other detainees had faced while in detention. [Ahram Online, 3/4/2014]

Two journalists released, third has detention extended fifteen days  
Feras al-Shamsan, a Yemeni blogger, and Karim Al-Behairy, journalist from Al-Badil newspaper, were released from custody Monday while fellow journalist Ahmed Fouad had his detention renewed for another fifteen days. Shamsan was originally detained while photographing the Cairo book fair in early February. Fouad, who was arrested on January 25, had his detention extended today according to the human rights group Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. The group released a statement that said prosecutors in the case allegedly have evidence that Fouad was among the organisers of the protest. He is being charged with “joining a group that aims to disrupt the law, demonstrating without a permit, blocking a road, and possession of a weapon.” [DNE, 3/4/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Court releases twenty Ultras Zamalek fans involved in Cairo stadium clashes | Aswat Masriya
  • Twenty-nine detained Egyptian students released | Ahram Online
  • Egypt prosecutor releases another twenty-two students | Aswat Masriya
  • Trial of Brotherhood supporters accused of killing taxi driver postponed | Egypt Independent


Egypt renews efforts to attract foreign tourists to its shores
Egypt’s tourism minister has opened the door for security delegations from other countries to assess the safety of touristic areas across the country, part of a continued effort to convince the international community that Egypt is safe for visitors. The announcement from tourism minister Hisham Zaazou on Sunday at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest annual trade fair, comes in the wake of a recent bombing of a tourist bus in the South Sinai resort town of Taba that killed three South Korean tourists and their Egyptian bus driver. Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, and Switzerland all issued warnings against travel to Egypt’s Sinai, and hotel occupancy rates in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh have slid to 48 percent. [Ahram Online, 3/3/2014]

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Rights group decries lack of women in new cabinet
The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) Sunday condemned the lack of female representation in the newly formed government, saying that it violates the constitution and suggesting the implementation of a quota. “Despite women participating in all aspects of life in Egypt, women are strikingly absent from decision making roles,” the group said in a statement. “This is in clear violation of Article 11 of the new constitution, which stipulates that women should be properly represented in senior positions.” The current cabinet, headed by newly appointed interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, includes four women, two of which are continuing their posts from the last government. [DNE, 3/4/2014]


Policeman killed, another wounded by unknown assailants in Aboul Nomros  
Attacks on security personnel continued on Tuesday in Cairo as unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle pelted a police car with bullets in the ​​Aboul Nomros district south of Cairo. The attack left one policeman dead, and another injured. [Egypt Independent, 3/4/2014]

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Court orders freeze on Hamas activities in Egypt
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has banned all activities in Egypt by Hamas pending a court verdict in an espionage case involving ousted president Mohamed Morsi and members of the Islamist Palestinian group. The court also banned all “organizations or groups branching from, financed or supported by Hamas,” a judicial source told Ahram Online. The court also ordered the closure of Hamas offices in Egypt, one of the judges overseeing the case told Reuters. The judge stopped short of declaring Hamas a terrorist group, saying the court did not have the jurisdiction to do so. Hamas was prompt to criticize the ruling, saying that it “strongly condemned” what it described as an “unjustifiable” and “highly political” decision that was based on “fabrications and false news.” Bassem Naim, a senior official in Hamas, told AFP the decision “serves the Israeli occupation.” [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Mada Masr, DNE, 3/4/2014]

Code Pink activist alleges Egypt police abuse
Medea Benjamin, cofounder of protest organization Code Pink, on Tuesday accused Egyptian police of breaking her arm after they detained her in Cairo airport while she was on her way to a humanitarian visit to neighboring Gaza. “Help. They broke my arm. Egypt police,” she tweeted. She said she was now in Turkey after being held in poor conditions in a cell at Cairo airport. An Egyptian airport official denied any abuse and said she had been deported after twenty hours. The official told Reuters that Benjamin was on a watch list for “involvement in acts harmful to Egyptian national security.” [Reuters, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, Mada Masr, 3/4/2014]

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Image: Photo: Egypt Armed Forces