Top News: Twenty-Five Dead, Fourteen Arrested Amid Aswan Tribal Clashes

At least twenty-five people have been killed in clashes between rival families in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan since Friday.

Egypt parties and activists call for open lists in parliamentary elections
Liberal and leftist parties as well as political activists have asked interim President Adly Mansour for the country’s next parliamentary elections to be based entirely on open party lists, which they argue would offer more “representational justice” than the polls in 2011-2012. Closed party lists in Egypt’s parliamentary elections have previously accounted for two-thirds of the available seats. Under this system, a vote for the party meant a vote for all of the candidates on the list – voters were unable to choose an individual. However, in the request submitted to Mansour, the political groups asked that this closed party list system be changed to allow voters to select individual candidates from the list. An open list system, they argued, would combine the advantages of the bloc system (individual candidates) and the closed party system, while still giving more representative results. Another advantage to the open list system, the signatories said, is that it would ensure that candidates from the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood wouldn’t be allowed to run on individual tickets. According to Al-Ahram Masai newspaper, the signatories include: Hala Shukrallah, president of Egypt’s Constitution Party; Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party; Mohamed Abul-Ghar, head of the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party (in his individual capacity) and Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party. [Ahram Online, 4/7/2014]

Mortada Mansoura announces presidential bid; Wafd Party to back Sisi
Mortada Mansour, Head of Zamalek Sporting Club, announced on Sunday he will run for president in the election due next month, the third candidate to formally enter the race.  Mansour said in a televised press conference that he aimed for Egypt to be “Strong and capable of maintaining its status as a nation after it had lost it for internal and external reasons.” The potential candidate demanded that all sit-ins and strikes be halted for one year so that “Egypt recovers.” In other news, Egypt’s oldest liberal party has announced its support for the presidential bid of former defense minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Wafd Chairman Al-Sayed al-Badawy urged Sisi  in a press conference on Sunday to respect human rights and meet the demands of Egyptians and asked him to “turn the constitution into a national project.” According to Justice Ministry spokesperson Abdel Azim al-Ashri, signatures endorsing presidential candidates exceed 300,000 in one week. “Some 50,800 signatures have so far been documented at the registries,” he added. Candidates have just two more weeks to submit their paperwork for candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections.[Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 4/6/2014]

Also of Interest:


Media barred from Morsi trial Sunday; Defendants request new judge in Raba’a control room trial
A Cairo criminal court adjourned on Sunday the trial of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and fourteen others over presidential palace clashes to April 12. The trial was adjourned in order for several witnesses to present their testimonies in private, including Yasser Hassan Eweda, who was head of presidential palace security, and other members of the former president’s security staff. The court barred the press from attending any of the eyewitness hearings in this case to prevent manipulation or threats to national security. A judicial source told Ahram Online the decision was made to protect the confidentiality of witness testimonies heard during the session.  In related news, the trial of fifty-one Muslim Brotherhood leaders, among them the Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie and spokesperson Gehad al-Haddad, was suspended Sunday pending an enquiry into one of the defendant’s requests to replace the main judge for the case. Salah Sultan presented an official request for the removal of the head of the court, after he told him to “shut up” when he tried to talk. The defendants are accused of forming an operations room through which they instructed members of the group to confront the state and spread chaos following the dispersal of the Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins in August last year. On Saturday, a Cairo Criminal Court also adjourned to April 12 the case against Salafist figure Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail on charges of forging his mother’s nationality in official documents. Meanwhile, Egypt’s public prosecutor on Sunday ordered the referral of sixty-eight persons, including prominent jihadist-Salafist Mohamed al-Zawahri, to a criminal court on accusations of orchestrating terrorist attacks in the country. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, 4/6/2014]

Case calling for ban of April 6 Movement postponed to April 28
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday adjourned a case on banning the April 6 Youth Movement to April 28, when the verdict in the case will be delivered.  A lawyer earlier filed a complaint demanding that the president, prime minister, minister of interior, minister of defense and the general prosecutor move to ban the activities of the April 6 Youth Movement, arguing that the group is “tainting the image of the state and spying for foreign countries.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 4/5/2014]

Egypt court upholds three-year sentence for Maher, Adel and Douma
The Cairo Misdemeanour Court of Appeals upheld on Monday a three-year sentence and EGP 50,000 fines against activists Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma, rejecting their appeal. Mahmoud Belal, a lawyer with the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, told Mada Masr that the verdict is final but that they can file an appeal at the Court of Cassation, adding however, that this process may take up to two or three years, by which time they would have completed their sentences anyway. The three men appeared in court on Monday inside a metal cage wearing blue prison suits and chanting: “Down down with the army rule, our country will always be free.” They were convicted for protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval under the controversial Protest Law, rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen Courthouse security personnel and possessing melee weapons. Ahead of the Monday trial, Amnesty International had issued a statement calling for the “immediate and unconditional” release of the activists. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, AP, Mada Masr, 4/7/2014]

Appeals court acquits twenty revolution anniversary detainees
The Maadi Misdemeanour Court of Appeals acquitted on Saturday twenty defendants arrested on January 25 against the backdrop of the 2011 revolution’s third anniversary. Twelve of the defendants were sentenced March 5 to two years in prison and two years of probation. The court set bail at EGP 100,000. The remaining eight, tried in absentia, were only fined; five men were handed an EGP 50,000 fine and three women were fined EGP 100,000. They were released from custody two days after their detention. The women included Nazly Hussein, a prominent human rights activist who worked with the No Military Trials for Civilians group. [DNE, 4,6,2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Police captain sentenced to death | DNE
  • Adly’s lawyer says military stepped in following interior minister’s request | Egypt Independent
  • Trial of activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and twenty-four others postponed to May 10 | Ahram Online


Egyptian law shielding state deals set to go to cabinet
A law banning third-party challenges to contracts signed by the Egyptian government will be sent to the cabinet by next week, trade and investment minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Sunday. The law is intended to reassure and attract investors unnerved by a host of legal challenges made in particular to sales of property and companies by the Mubarak government, some of which have left those firms in legal limbo. “There won’t be a third-party appeal. The appeal will be left to parties to the contract,” Abdel Nour told reporters at a news conference. He said there would be exceptions, but declined to give details. [Reuters, 4/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Smartcard subsidy system to be implemented in Port Said next week | DNE
  • EGP 500m capital allocated for Egyptian Company for Road Projects: Minister | DNE
  • Egypt issues 2 million fuel smart cards | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s gas production and exports drop significantly’ predict shortages | Ahram Online
  • Egypt forecasts gas shortage next fiscal year | Reuters
  • Kuwait in talks to renew contracts on supplying oil to Egypt | Reuters


Twenty-five dead, fourteen arrested amid Aswan tribal clashes
At least twenty-five people have been killed in clashes between rival families in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan since Friday. Fourteen people have been arrested over the clashes, while some sources say the clashes have also wounded at least fifty-six people. The violence erupted late Friday after students from the feuding families had scrawled insulting graffiti on the walls of a school, security sources said. One family is from the Nubian ethnic group and the other from the Arab Beni Helal clan, the sources said. Army spokesman Ahmed Ali said on his official Facebook page the army had helped to “contain the crisis” and there were “signs of involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood in the strife between the two tribes.” The prime minister and interior minister travelled to Aswan on Saturday afternoon to meet the governor and discuss plans to quell tensions, MENA reported. Meanwhile, Egyptian state television reported Monday that the tribes had reached a truce. Aswan Governor Mostafa Yousry told the state news agency that things are calm now in the Upper Egypt governorate.  [DNE, Ahram Online, Reuters, 4/7/2014]

April 6 calls for detainees release on six year anniversary  
Hundreds of April 6 Youth Movement members attended a press conference at the Lawyers Syndicate downtown on Sunday, demanding the release of political prisoners. Dozens more marked the occasion by demonstrating outside the Press Syndicate and chanting slogans against the military and police while holding pictures of detainees. A march that was planned to commence around 7 pm was canceled amid a heightened security presence in downtown Cairo. Security forces closed all entrances and exits around Tahrir Square Sunday afternoon in anticipation of violence surrounding the protests. Talaat Harb and Mohamed Mahmoud streets, as well as parts of Qasr al-Aini leading to the square, were completely closed to cars and pedestrians. The move followed an announcement from the April 6 Youth Movement, which called on members to protest on the anniversary of its establishment, privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 4/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Doctors accused in Egyptian scriptwriter’s death referred to disciplinary committee | Ahram Online
  • Human Rights organization calls on cabinet to ‘restore’ contested lands to Nile University | DNE, Egypt Independent, SIS, Mada Masr
  • Dutch tourist accuses hotel worker of attempted rape in Marsa Alam | DNE
  • Azhar and Ain Shams students clash with police | Mada Masr
  • Police stop art festival in Alexandria, arrest organizers | DNE
  • Al-Dostour editor in chief resigns in wake of reporter’s death | DNE
  • University security, administrative violations ‘killing space for freedom of expression’: AFTE | DNE


Interior ministry accuses Brotherhood of using foreign mercenaries in Egypt
A spokesman for Egypt’s interior ministry claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has been using mercenaries from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in all recent terrorist attacks in Egypt, according to state-run news agency MENA. Hani Abdel-Latif told MENA that police forces have been trying to eliminate “terrorism in all its forms” by freezing monetary funds and locating explosives through information from intelligence services. He added that there are two kinds of terrorism in Egypt. The first type, he said, are militant groups with fighters who have previously worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The Brotherhood is responsible for the second kind of terrorism in Egypt, he said, which consists of youth members from the Islamist group who are responsible for violence and unrest at the country’s universities. Abdel-Latif said he expects terrorist attacks to increase in the near future, in an attempt to hinder the electoral process in the country’s upcoming presidential elections. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 4/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Security forces defuse homemade bomb in Qalyubiyah | Mada Masr


EU’s Ashton to visit Egypt ahead of presidential elections
European Union (EU) Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton is expected to visit Egypt this Wednesday, ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential polls, state-run news agency MENA reported. Ashton is scheduled to meet with high ranking officials and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. Discussions will involve bilateral relations with the EU as well as the situation in Egypt during the presidential elections – due to take place on May 26 and 27, as announced by the Presidential Election Commission (PEC). [Ahram Online, 4/7/2014]

HRW calls on United States to delay military aid to Egypt
Human Rights Watch cautioned Washington against resuming military assistance to Egypt until its military-backed government ends alleged rights abuses and holds violators accountable. The New York-based advocacy group on Friday released a letter it had sent earlier in the week to US Secretary of State John Kerry, following comments indicating that he would make a decision on aid resumption in the coming weeks. Washington cut assistance to Cairo in October, withholding deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft and other military equipment, as well as $260 million in cash aid after authorities used violence to put down protests following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy acknowledged the troubled  state of US-Egyptian relations on Monday and proposed that the United States and Egypt should open a strategic dialogue to strengthen relations between the two countries.[Reuters, Ahram Online, 4/4/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Libyan gunmen free detained Egyptian trucks | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Saudi Arabia releases thirty-five Egyptian fishermen | Aswat Masriya
  • African Union delegation arrives for third visit | DNE