Top News: Three Explosions at Cairo University; at Least Two Dead

Three bombs have exploded at Cairo University, killing two and injuring at least five others.

Egypt prosecutor calls for probe against Sabbahi
Egypt’s top prosecutor called Tuesday for a probe into funds allegedly received by the only serious rival of ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an upcoming presidential election, judicial sources said. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat issued the call after a lawyer filed a complaint about funds that Egyptian businessmen allegedly provided to leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, the judicial sources said. Sabbahi’s campaign spokesman Maasum Marzouk said that similar charges were levied during the 2012 election. “But the prosecution found nothing at that time. A similar attempt to defame us is being made again,” said Marzouk. Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi issued an official statement on Tuesday criticizing violations that took place at several notary offices nationwide on Monday and Tuesday, citing a bias towards his rival. [AFP/Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 4/2/2014]

SCC appoints new chief to Presidential Electoral Commission
Judge Abdel-Aziz Salman was appointed as new secretary general to the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC), the body overseeing Egypt’s presidential elections on Tuesday. Salman, senior head of the commissioners’ authority at the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), is to succeed Hemdan Fahmy. Fahmy, who has held the post of PEC’s secretary general since December 2013, has been appointed as deputy head of the SCC. The decision came during the SCC’s general assembly held on Tuesday. Judges Tarek Shebl and Tarek Abdel-Eleim, two other heads of the commissioners at SCC, have been designated to the PEC’s general secretariat. [Ahram Online, 4/1/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Nation’s Future submits 26,000 signatures to Sisi’s campaign headquarters in Fifth Settlement | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt Muslim Brotherhood chief calls Sisi a ‘tyrant’ | Reuters
  • Presidential decree amends SCC’s law | SIS
  • Mahlab meeting with ministries of defense, interior, justice and intelligence agencies to discuss security situation | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Sisi begins candidacy procedures | Mada Masr


Four men detained for killing of Al-Dostour journalist
The East Cairo prosecution detained four men Tuesday for fifteen days, on charges of killing a journalist on Friday. Twenty-two year old Al-Dostour journalist Mayada Ashraf was shot and killed while covering clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo’s Ain Shams area. Initial investigations showed that three of the detained men took part in the protest, while the fourth “incited” it, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. The ministry of interior’s media office denied allegations that they are responsible for Ashraf’s death. [DNE, 4/1/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Judge in Mubarak trial rejects television in courtroom, citing its lack of commitment to facts | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt Prime Minister orders urgent action on power cuts
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has urged ministers to take urgent measures to reduce the frequency and length of power cuts. At an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Mahlab received written reports from the ministers of electricity and petroleum detailing the reasons for the increased number of power cuts over the last two weeks, a cabinet statement said. [Ahram Online, 4/2/2014]

Smart Card company complains of delay in Egyptian subsidy cut scheme
The Egyptian government is taking too long to roll out an electronic smart card system designed to reduce costly energy subsidies, the company contracted for the project alleged on Tuesday. Fuel subsidies account for a fifth of state spending. Motorists will eventually use cards to buy gasoline and diesel at fuel stations in a program initiated by the administration of former President Mohamed Morsi. Khaled Abdelghany of e-Finance, the Egyptian firm in charge of implementing the initiative, said the government was delaying the reform unnecessarily by waiting until all 4.5 million registered drivers have signed up for and obtained cards. [Reuters, 4/1/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • CBE: Total surplus of US$2 billion at balance of payment during first half of 2013-2014 | Egypt Independent


Dozens injured in Tuesday clashes at Egypt universities
Clashes between students and security forces continued across several Egyptian governorates on Tuesday, leaving tens injured, including a police officer. In Cairo, a police officer from the city’s security directorate, Ibrahim Boktor, was shot in the leg with bird shot when alleged pro-Muslim Brotherhood students at Ain Shams University faced off with security forces in front of the university’s campus, according to Al-Ahram‘s Arabic news website. Security forces fired teargas bombs at the protesting students who were throwing Molotov Cocktails at them, according to Al-Ahram. According to Egyptian daily Shorouk, pro-Brotherhood students on Wednesday stormed the building housing the dean of literature’s office in protest against the expulsion of two students. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic)

Also of Interest:

  • Ministry of Local Development: 625,000 new voters added to database | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Three explosions at Cairo University, at least two dead
Three bombs have exploded at Cairo University, killing one policeman and injuring at least five others. A fourth device was deactivated.  Two bombs, planted among trees outside the university near a police guard post, killed Brigadier-General Tarek al-Mergawi and wounded five other security forces who had been guarding the facility, the ministry said. The moment the second bomb exploded was caught on video. Shortly afterwards, a third blast killed one person, four security officials said, according to Reuters. Security forces closed Nahda Square after the explosion, as well as evacuating the university. Police are searching the area for more devices, according to Hesham Youssef, the head of the explosives section at Giza security directorate. Fifteen students have been arrested in the vicinity of the university and taken to Giza security directorate for questioning, a police source told Ahram Online. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic), 4/2/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Rafah border crossing shut after three days of operation | DNE
  • Four farmers detained on charges of running a weapons workshop in Minya | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Death toll of Sohag fuel store blast reaches fourteen | Egypt Independent


Muslim Brotherhood slams UK decision to investigate group
Ibrahim Mounir, secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, said “investigations by England over the Brotherhood will not convict the group.” In a phone call with the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday, Mounir said he was surprised by the British declaration over the urgent inquiry. “British authorities have the right to be cautious to preserve its national security, however, we are sure it will not reach anything that condemns the Brotherhood… We are a group that condemns violence. We do not support actions that could harm national security of the country.” he added. The Egyptian branch of the group also released a statement condemning the investigation and calling on “western states and governments to beware of the treachery of the fascist military junta in Egypt and the pressures they apply in order to falsify facts about the group and the situation in Egypt.” In related news, the British Foreign Minister William Hague spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy on the phone about the current investigation and other regional issues. [Egypt Independent 4/2/2014]

Freedom House says oppression in Egypt making free elections impossible
Vanessa Tucker, deputy director of the rights organization Freedom House, said Tuesday evening that current levels of oppression in Egypt are making the prospect of free elections impossible. Tucker’s statements came while commenting on the organization’s report assessing Egypt’s implementation of the transitional roadmap. According to the report, Egypt failed to make progress on seven of eight major indicators. Tucker also commented on the recent verdict sentencing 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death, and recent presidential candidacy of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi citing them as negative developments in Egypt’s path toward democracy. [AMAY (Arabic), 4/2/2014]