Top News: US State Department Calls for Transparency in Egypt’s Courts

US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf has stressed that Egyptian courts must provide fair, transparent trials. Civilians should also be tried in civilian courts, Harf suggested, following months of controversy in Egypt that civilians could continue to be tried and convicted in military courts. 


Egypt deviated from democratic path under Morsi: Deputy PM
Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin said in an interview with CNN Monday that Egypt had deviated from the “proper path to democracy,” linking the deviation to ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s tumultuous year in power. “Egyptians are suffering,” Bahaa-Eldin said in the interview. “But let’s make no mistake about this: Egyptians are suffering as a result of the policies that were adopted particularly during the year of the reign of ex-president Morsi.” Bahaa-Eldin urged all political players in Egypt not to lose sight of “what is essential” to the people, which he said included an “economic recovery and the preservation of the democratic path.” As he reiterated his calls for an inclusive political process that embraces “various political parties,” the senior official clarified that “those who committed crimes” would be excluded, in reference to Brotherhood members currently facing multiple charges of incitement to violence. Meanwhile, Bahaa-Eldin has suggested a referendum on the new constitution could be put forward as early as December or early January next year, to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Cairo Post 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Campaign aims to develop slums | Cairo Post
Free Egyptians: Sisi does not need presidency | Cairo Post


Pro-Morsi alliance praises former president’s ‘resistance’ during trial; Political forces call for more transparency  
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy praised what it described as deposed president Mohamed Morsi’s “resistance in the face of the coup’s judges,” during the beginning of his trial in court Monday, which the former president has refused to recognize. “The alliance asserts the president’s rejection of these invalid trial proceedings… [and] carries a message to the people to continue defending legitimacy, [against] the bloody coup leaders until they are defeated,” the alliance said in a statement on Monday. Hussein Ibrahim, secretary general of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), on Monday said that Morsi has become a symbol of the free world and an icon of democracy. Alaa Abul Nasr, secretary general of al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party, claimed that the trial is an attempt to tarnish Morsi’s elected legitimacy with a criminal conviction. “The trial is not of the president but of the will of the people,” he claimed. “The regime wants to consolidate its legitimacy with a constitution whose Constituent Assembly was not elected by the people,” he added. “But demonstrations will not stop because we are not defending a certain individual or faction.” The Nour Party’s media committee member, Abdel Ghafar Taha, said that Morsi trial lacks transparency as the ousted president has been jailed in an unknown place since his ouster. Meanwhile, a number of revolutionary movements demanded trial be broadcast in order to assure its credibility to the Egyptian people. Member of the National Salvation Front Youth Shady al-Adl told Youm7 that broadcasting the trial will let the people see the fate of “tyrants.” Revolutionary Forces Coalition member Tamer al-Qady said that there is no excuse for not broadcasting the trial session live since there is no danger in listening to Morsi’s hallucinations. April 6 Youth Movement member Mohamed Kamal said the absence of transparency in Morsi’s trial gives room for doubt. In Egyptian media, a distinct lack of sympathy was shown for the ex-president, who was described as behaving “hysterically” by several dailies. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Cairo Post, BBC, 11/4/2013]   

Nour Party opposes gender equality in Egypt constitution; Constituent Assembly removes “civil” and “Al-Azhar reference” from articles
The Nour Party objects to an article in the draft constitution which defines equality between men and women, Salah Abdel-Maaboud said on Monday. In a statement, Abdel-Maaboud said the subcommittee finalizing articles on the basic elements of the state had agreed on ten out of eleven articles, but disagreed on the one related to gender equality. Article 11 states: “The State is committed to achieving equality between women and men in all the rights stated in this constitution. The State is obliged to take the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate and balanced representation of women in parliaments and local units, as organized by the law, and enable them to reconcile the duties of family and work, and protect them from all forms of violence. The State is committed to providing special care for motherhood and childhood and women who are poorest and most in need.” However, Abdel-Maaboud said his party objected to the phrasing as it would open the door for a women’s quota in parliament, which it is against. Meanwhile, the fifty-member Constituent Assembly has removed two controversial wordings from articles in Egypt’s constitution. The committee removed the term “civil” from the constitution’s first article and the term “Al-Azhar reference” dealing with Sharia articles from the fourth article. The wording in articles two and three remain unchanged. Committee member Mohamed Ghoneim said all materials on the “identity” of the state have been approved. [Ahram Online, Ahram Gate (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, Cairo Post, 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Suez military court gives six Morsi supporters three years in jail | Ahram Online
Morsi’s suit and statements in court cause controversy | Ahram Online
Official: Eight injured in clashes over Morsi trial | Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent


Total investments dropped 3.7 percent during Morsi’s era, report
Total investments slipped to EGP 248.6 billion, registering a 3.7 percent decline, under the rule of former President Mohamed Morsi, according to the Economic Performance Follow-up Report, released on Tuesday. According to the report, which was issued by the Ministry of Planning, the general investment rate also declined to 14.2 percent, compared to the 16.4 percent in the year before, with no foreign investments at all. The saving gap hit 7 percent during 2012-2013, with the domestic saving rate dropping  to 7.2 percent compared to 8 percent the year before and 13 percent during 2010-2011. [Cairo Post, 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Bad weather blamed for Egypt’s shortage of cooking gas | Ahram Online
Stock market gains EGP 1 billion on Monday | Egypt Independent
Egyptian Finance Sells EGP 3 billion T-Bonds | Amwal al-Ghad
Tourism minister sounds optimistic about Egypt tourism | Cairo Post


Brotherhood supporters call for global demos to celebrate Morsi appearance
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has called for demonstrations in Egypt and outside Egyptian embassies across the world to salute Mohamed Morsi’s “steadfastness” in court on Monday. The alliance also called for a popular trial of the “coup leaders” in Egypt’s streets. Published on an official Brotherhood website, the official statement said, “The Alliance also deeply appreciates the diligence and determination of the millions of people who turned out Monday morning as the false trial of the elected President began.” It added that the court delayed the trial for two months in fear of the great numbers that would rally to support the ousted president. [Egypt Independent, Ikhwanweb, Aswat Masriya, 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ten students arrested in Al-Azhar and Assuit universities | EGYNews
Four university students suspended, others forbidden from taking exams | DNE
AFTE express concern over ‘security control over universities’ | DNE
Yousri Fouda returns to TV before end of month | Egypt Independent


Egypt captures terrorist networks with plans to attack
A State Security prosecutor ordered on Tuesday seventeen extremists detained for fifteen days pending investigations into allegations that they participated in terrorist activities or had plans to, Al-Shorouk newspaper reported. Some of the defendants had planned to launch attacks on Monday in light of ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s trial. Investigations revealed that some of the defendants are responsible for bombing gas lines in the past and facilitating the entry of terrorists through the Gaza Strip to receive training, Al-Shorouk said. [Aswat Masriya, 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Three militants killed, nine arrested in North Sinai | EGYNews (Arabic)
Egypt’s Sinai on the edge: An Interview with Mosaad Abu Fagr | Ahram Online


US State Department calls for transparency in Egypt’s courts; Congress delegation in Cairo
US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf has stressed that Egyptian courts must provide fair, transparent trials. Civilians should also be tried in civilian courts, Harf suggested, following months of controversy in Egypt that civilians could continue to be tried and convicted in military courts. At a daily State Department press briefing in Washington, Harf said the United States has to make sure that Egyptians are tried in fair and transparent courts, and before ordinary judges, not military ones. Harf added that the United States has called on Egyptian authorities to release political prisoners. Meanwhile, Al-Shorouk newspaper reports that a US congress delegation arrived Cairo on Tuesday to discuss several issues, including aid and the political roadmap, with Egyptian officials. [Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 11/5/2013]

HRW sounds alarm on UAE Brotherhood trial
Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement on Monday raising concerns about the upcoming trial of twenty Egyptians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Egyptians, who are accused of running an Abu Dhabi-based branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned group in the UAE, are slated to stand trial alongside ten Emiratis on November 5 in a UAE state security court. The defendants have accused the UAE authorities of subjecting them to torture in detention, and denying them access to legal assistance for several months, according to the statement. HRW links the trial to a UAE court’s verdict last July, when sixty-nine people were found guilty of attempting to overthrow the country’s political system. [Mada Masr, AP, 11/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Turkey calls for Morsi’s release | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
Tunisian Nahda condemns Morsi’s trial | Shorouk (Arabic)
Fahmy travels to Senegal to strengthen ties | DNE
Egypt agrees to collaborate on Ethiopian dam | AMAY (Arabic), Mada Masr  
UN official urges Egypt to release Morsi, political prisoners | Egypt Independent

Image: Photo: US Department of State