Top News: Three Civilians Facing Military Trials Today

Mohamed Sabry.jpg

Al-Galaa Military Court in Ismailia will hear the cases of three civilians. 


Shura Council committee OKs parliamentary elections law ‘in principle’
The Shura Council’s legislative committee on Tuesday approved "in principle" the draft law on the upcoming House of Representatives elections, which will be discussed in the council’s general session on Wednesday, according to committee member Mohamed Toson.
The draft law is then set to be returned to the legislative committee to be discussed in detail at a Thursday meeting. [Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/8/2013]

Egypt parliamentary elections expected April: FJP spokesperson
Spokesperson of the Freedom and Justice Party Ahmed Sobie told Ahram Online Wednesday that there is a high possibility that parliamentary elections will be held in April, corroborating an earlier statement by an unnamed official to Reuters. Sobie asserted that date is "an approximate one" explaining that the parliamentary elections law, which is currently being drafted by the Cabinet, must first be examined by the Shura Council (Egypt’s upper house of parliament) and then passed to the High Constitutional Court (HCC). [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent/Reuters, 1/9/2013]

Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamist party elects new leader after split
Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamist party has named a new leader, after the former head split away to form a new party. All-Nour chose Younis Makhyoun as its new leader on Wednesday. Makhioun is a former member of the now-dissolved People’s Assembly (the lower house of Egypt’s parliament) and member of the Nour Party’s supreme board. In his first speech as the new chairman of the Salafist Nour Party, Youssef Makhioun stressed that Egypt’s Coptic Christians and Muslims are equal citizens. "They are our partners in the nation," Makhioun said during the televised meeting held in the conference rooms of Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar religious institution, located in Cairo’s Nasr City district. [Washington Post/AP, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/9/2013]

Nour Party might bury hatchet with breakaway party in parliamentary polls
The Salafist Nour Party is mulling a possible electoral alliance with several Islamist forces ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, including with the al-Watan (homeland) Party which was newly founded and joined by breakaway members of the Nour Party itself. "No final decisions have been made," spokesman Nader Bakkar, who is now the most prominent figure in the Nour Party after the recent mass resignations, told Ahram Online.  The two parties have agreed to form a committee to resolve the issues between them including financial issues and deciding on which party retains their headquarters and official websites. Al-Watan Party also began meetings with representatives of other parties on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming elections. [Ahram Online,  Daily News Egypt, 1/9/2013]

Presidency: We have received proposals from the National Salvation Front to amend the constitution
Yasser Ali, official spokesman for President Mohamed Morsi, revealed that members of the National Salvation Front sent suggestions for changes to be made to the constitution. He added that the suggestions were under consideration and that a statement would be issued the following day, after the seventh round of national dialogue. [El Watan (Arabic), 1/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian opposition groups call for protests on anniversary of uprising | Ahram Online


Egyptian tourism sector wants to amend constitution
Investors in the Egyptian tourism industry have asked for Article 17 of the recently-approved constitution to be amended. The existing Article 17 reads: “Industry is an essential asset of the national economy. The state shall protect strategic industries, support industrial development, and import new technologies and their applications.” “The dialogue recommends adding tourism to Article 17, in addition to reconsidering other articles dealing with ownership and investment,” said Minister Hisham Zazou in a press release. [Ahram Online, 1/8/2013]

Three civilians facing military trials today
Al-Galaa Military Court in Ismailia will hear the cases of three civilians. Sinai-based activist and freelance photojournalist Mohamed Sabry is standing trial for “entering a prohibited military zone and filming a military facility” following his arrest last Friday. The court is also trying Nada Fathy Nada and his son Youssef on charges of assaulting armed forces personnel. Military trials are once again on the rise, with 38 civilians facing military courts since November. [Daily News Egypt, 1/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Prosecution to review committee report on revolution killings | Egypt Independent


Egypt central bank reduces amounts offered at daily dollar auctions
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) reduced the size of its offering in its daily foreign currency auction on Wednesday, a day after Qatar threw Egypt an economic lifeline by sending $2.5 billion in aid to help the country contain an ongoing currency crisis. It is the second reduction since the bank introduced a new regime for buying and selling the Egyptian pound after its recent statements that Egypt’s foreign reserves had fallen to a critical minimum. The bank offered $50 million to banks on Wednesday, less than the $60 million offered on Sunday and Tuesday and the $75 million offered at each of four auctions last week. Both 1 and 7 January were bank holidays. [Ahram Online/Reuters, 1/9/2013]

Egypt stocks up for second day
Egypt’s stock exchange maintained its upward trajectory on Wednesday after presidential spokesman announced Tuesday that the country expects a visit in the next few weeks from the International Monetary Fund technical committee. A delegation from the IMF visited Egypt on Monday to resume talks over a proposed $4.8 billion loan. The benchmark index rose by 1.08 per cent to 5,866 points. Daily turnover was slightly higher than last session reaching LE640.5 million. Speaking about the loan, the IMF’s Christine Lagarde told Reuters, "The IMF needs to have the commitment of the political authorities that can actually endorse the program, own it, and propose it to the population as theirs." [Ahram Online, 1/9/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt struggles to buy oil as currency crisis deepens | Ahram Online/Reuters


Protest in solidarity with journalists
Journalists gathered in their dozens outside the Press Syndicate in Tuesday, in objection to what they consider persecution.The protest was held mainly to show solidarity with two journalists, Mohamed Sabry, who was arrested last Friday and is facing military trial, and Walid Ismail who was surprised to learn that he had been sentenced to prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer. The protesters were chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ministry of Interior, and the Chairman of the Press Syndicate, Mamdouh Al-Wali. Among the protesters was Gamal Abdel-Rehim, a board member of the syndicate. [Daily News Egypt, 1/9/2013]

Also of Interest:

Two new censorship cases reported this week | Egypt Independent
Presidency files a complaint against journalist Gamal Fahmy | Shorouk (Arabic)


Report released into death of alleged torture victim
A toxicology report into the death of alleged torture victim Sa’ad Said released on Tuesday has ruled out drug overdose as a cause of death. Said’s family claim he was tortured to death in a police station following his arrest in November last year. A forensic pathologist working on Said’s case told Ahmed Shawky, Said’s brother-in-law and lawyer for the family, that the report found no traces of drugs or toxins in the body, ruling out drug overdose as a cause of death. “We can’t confirm the true cause of death until the full medical report is released,” Shawky said. He was told that the medical report won’t be published for another two weeks. [Daily News Egypt, 1/9/2013]

Unknown assailants firebomb Arab League headquarters
Unknown assailants attacked the Arab League headquarters in downtown Cairo late Tuesday evening, state-run media reported. Al-Ahram newspaper said on its website that two individuals hurled Molotov cocktails at a building, setting one window ablaze, and then ran away. The report added that security forces put out the fire and no injuries were reported. Nabil al-Araby, secretary general of the Arab League condemned the attack.[Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/9/2013]


Iranian FM to discuss Syria with Egypt’s Morsi
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi will meet Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to discuss the Syrian crisis during his visit to Cairo on Wednesday, Tehran’s ambassador to Cairo told pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat. Ambassador Mojtaba Amani said Wednesday that Salehi’s visit, which follows similar appointments in Qatar and some African states, will involve meetings with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and UN Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, as well as a meeting with al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/9/2013]

US Middle East peace envoy in Cairo
The United States envoy for Middle East peace was in Cairo on Wednesday for meetings with Egyptian officials ahead of a meeting of the Quartet on Thursday. Spokesperson for the US embassy in Cairo David Linfield said Hale’s visit is “part of our ongoing consultations with Egypt on a full range of issues, in this case advancing peace in the Middle East.” He added that Hale was scheduled to meet with President Mohamed Morsy’s assistant on foreign relations Essam El Haddad, intelligence chief Mohamed Refaat Shehata, Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives for Israeli-Palestinian affairs and Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby. [Daily News Egypt, 1/9/2013]

Also of Interest:

Qatar mulls boosting assistance to Egypt | Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt

Photo: Mohamed Sabry faces a military court today (DNE)

Image: Mohamed%20Sabry.jpg