Top News: Violations against Detained Protesters and Lawyers on January 25, say NGOs

Human rights groups and NGOs condemned the lack of transparency and violations related to the illegal detention of protesters, and restrictions on lawyers who tried to represent them. The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) issued a report Tuesday criticizing the lack of clarity on the number of arrests on January 25, and the whereabouts of arrested protesters. 


Fourteen governors to be replaced by month’s end
Fourteen local governors are expected to be replaced by the end of January, Minister of Local Development Adel Labib announced in a press conference Tuesday. He added the announcement will be made during the weekend or upon President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s return from the African Summit on January 31. Labib had earlier met with Sisi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, to discuss and choose suggested candidates, a presidential statement said on Tuesday. [DNE, 1/27/2015]

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Egypt court approves former army chief of staff Anan’s party, rejects Tamarod
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court rejected on Wednesday Tamarod’s appeal to form a political party ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections. The court, however, accepted an appeal by former military Chief of Staff Sami Anan, giving the green light for the formation of his Masr al-Orouba party. The political parties committee had previously rejected applications from the Tamarod movement and Anan’s party in December. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 1/28/2015]

Journalist Fatma Naout blasphemy case adjourned to February 25
The trial of columnist and poet Fatima Naoot for “contempt of religion” was postponed to February 25, after hearing the first session on Wednesday. Naoot is facing trial because of comments she made on Facebook in October, criticizing the Islamic ritual of sacrificing animals on the day of Eid al-Adha. Legal adviser of the Press Syndicate, lawyer Sayed Abu Zeid, who attended the session on Wednesday on behalf of the syndicate, said the syndicate “very strongly stands with Naoot” because she expressed her opinion in a joke on Facebook. Abu Zeid said this case is specifically related “to freedom of expression and opinion.” [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 1/28/2015]

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  • Qena trial of forty Brotherhood members adjourned to March 25 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Twenty Ultras Zamalek members sentenced to three years prison | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt on a mission to restore confidence in its economy
According to Egyptian Finance Minister Hany Dimian, Egypt will push ahead with plans to phase out a costly energy subsidy, as Cairo seeks to boost spending on social programs and bring down its budget deficit. Further cuts to fuel subsidies would be implemented “at the latest” during the fiscal year beginning in July, after the halving of oil prices since the summer provided “room to maneuver.” Cairo aims to almost completely end fuel subsidies within five years and use the savings to raise spending on health and education. [FT, 1/28/2015]

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Security forces close Matariya main road as protests continue
Security forces blocked a main road in the lower-income northern Cairo district of Matariya on Tuesday night, in anticipation of more protests after two days of clashes in the area left at least fourteen people killed. Military armored vehicles, along with central security forces, closed al-Horreya Street in both directions. Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim paid a ‘surprise’ visit to the area Tuesday night to inspect security conditions and tell officers to be “direct” and “decisive” in the elimination of any further unrest in the neighborhood. Protests had continued for a third day since the January 25 anniversary in Matariya, Daqahleya, and Fayoum. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 1/28/2015]

Women to protest at site of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh killing
A protest has been called for to honor an activist, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, killed on the eve of the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. A group of non-affiliated women have called for the stand to celebrate Sabbagh and protest against what they referred to as the government’s ongoing, excessive abuse of force. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party said Tuesday that security authorities cancelled a funeral planned for Sabbagh in Cairo. Meanwhile, an official autopsy report revealed Sabbagh died from three birdshots wounds fired by an unidentified weapon. The shots that killed her were fired from eight meters away, the report added. The Qasr al-Aini prosecutor has also announced the creation of a committee from the ministry of interior’s department that handles records and notarizations to identify all those within ten meters of Sabbagh when she was killed. [DNE, Ahram Online, 1/27/2015]

Violations against detained protesters and lawyers on January 25, say NGOs
Human rights groups and NGOs condemned the lack of transparency and violations related to the illegal detention of protesters, and restrictions on lawyers who tried to represent them. The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) issued a report Tuesday criticizing the lack of clarity on the number of arrests on January 25, and the whereabouts of arrested protesters. The Front of Defense for Egyptian Protesters’ lawyers also filed a report Monday to the prosecutor general, compelling Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim to reveal the whereabouts of detained “political activists.” The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) filed a report saying Kasr al-Nil prosecution prevented lawyers from attending investigations. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) similarly filed a report to the top prosecutor protesting what they described as “extreme violations” by the prosecution, as it started investigations with seventy-nine detained in a CSF camp, which is considered an illegal detention place. They also reported that lawyers were prevented from attending investigations. El Nadeem Center for the Management and Rehabilitation of victims of violence reported that sixty-three persons out of 132 detained in CSF camps were released. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 1/28/2015]

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Eleven injured in blasts in Qalyubeya, Nile Delta
Seven security forces personnel and two civilians were injured in an explosion at a security checkpoint in Qalyubeya governorate on Tuesday afternoon, the health ministry has said. All the injured were transported to local hospitals. The bomb detonated in Mostorod near a mosque complex. Unknown assailants on a motorbike threw a primitive bomb at the security checkpoint. A series of explosions also rocked the Nile Delta city of Sharqiya on Wednesday, injuring two people and damaging a number of electrical transmission units. An IED exploded inside the Kom Ombo court in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan on Wednesday, leaving no casualties. Meanwhile, Tahrir Square was opened to traffic after being temporarily closed following the dismantling of an explosive device in the nearby Abdel Moneim Riyad Square. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 1/28/2015]

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  • Interior ministry announces arrest of ‘terrorist cell’ in Alexandria | SIS
  • Three injured in Kafr al-Sheikh shooting by unknown gunmen | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt condemns ‘acute deterioration of human rights’ in Turkey
Egypt’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amr Ramadan, expressed concerns towards the “deteriorated” human right situation in Turkey during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday. Mohamed Abdel Qader, a political analyst specialized in Turkish affairs at al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, said, “Egypt’s speech was a snap back to Turkey’s interference in Egyptian affairs.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/28/2015]

Egypt to participate in AU meeting on Libya after initial boycott over participation of Qatar, Turkey
Egypt announced it will participate in an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa after the African Union Commission withdrew invitations to both Qatar and Turkey, according to the foreign ministry spokesman. Earlier today, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt will not attend the morning session of the Libya Contact Group meeting because the African Union Commission, which acts only as a facilitator, invited Qatar and Turkey without consulting the member states. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/28/2015]

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  • New Qatari-funded channel sparks media controversy | DNE
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