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Egypt: Politicians Call for Boycott of Presidential Elections

People walk by a poster of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi from the campaign titled “Alashan Tabneeha” (So You Can Build It) for the upcoming presidential election in Cairo, Egypt, January 22, 2018

Egypt’s National Electoral Authority announced on Tuesday the preliminary list of candidates for the presidential elections scheduled for the end of March, including current president Abdul Fattah el-Sisi and the head of Ghad Party Musa Mustafa Musa.

Meanwhile, seven political parties and a number of figures including the presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi called to boycott the presidential elections because of what he considered as “a lack of guarantees of competition.”

In return, Sisi campaign denied that it was responsible for the lack of candidates and their withdrawal from the race.

During a press conference, Civilian Democratic Movement, a coalition of several movements and parties, announced they will not vote during the elections and called on voters to stay away from ballot boxes and on Egyptians not to recognize the vote’s outcome.

The parties came up with the slogan “stay home” for the boycotting campaign.

Sabahi called on other pro-democracy groups to join the coalition: “Come and let us stand together. This is a moment when the people will make their say known and, God willing, the say of the people will prevail.”

Seven parties participated in the announcement of the boycott: Reform and Development, Popular Alliance Party, al-Dastour Party, Justice Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, al-Karama Movement, and Freedom Egypt Party.

This is not the first call to boycott the presidential elections. Former presidential candidate Abdul Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, former MP Anwar Sadat, and team members of former presidential candidate Sami Anan: Hisham Geneina and Hazem Hosni called for canceling the elections that have lost all credibility.

In a joint statement, the signatories called for boycotting the elections expressing their concern of a possible change of the constitution by opening presidential terms and eliminating any opportunity for a peaceful rotation of power.

“We urge our glorious people to boycott the vote and not to recognize whatever result it would produce,” said the statement.

Legal adviser and spokesperson for the electoral campaign of Sisi, Mohammed Abu Shoka, said Monday that his candidate should not be asked about the lack of other candidates in the upcoming election.

Speaking at a press conference, Abu Shoka indicated that Sisi is not responsible for politicians’ “reluctance to engage in political life, the blame should be directed towards those who did not succeed [in meeting candidacy requirements].”

Abu Shoka indicated that Sisi’s campaign submitted 173,000 endorsement forms from citizens to the National Electoral Authority, although more than 900,000 forms were received by the campaign.

Several politicians had announced their intentions presidential election, but withdrew later, including: former prime minister of Egypt, Ahmed Shafiq, former MP Anwar Sadat, lawyer Khalid Ali, and head of Wafd Party al-Sayyid Badawi, whose party refused his candidacy and announced its support to Sisi.

In addition, Former Chief of Staff Sami Annan removed his name from the database of voters after he was accused by the “armed forces” of forging the required documents and “inciting against the Egyptian army with the aim of driving a wedge between the armed forces and the Egyptian people.”

The Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) organised an indoor rally on Tuesday for its members to back Sisi in the upcoming presidential elections in March.

The NEA announced on Monday the end of the ten-day deadline set for receiving presidential election applications.

The Authority had received applications from Sisi and Mostafa Musa, the leader of al-Ghad Party, to run for the coming presidential elections due to be held in March.

The NEA said it will examine the papers presented from the would-be candidates ahead of announcing the candidacy list on Wednesday.

Spokesman of the Authority Advisor Mahmoud El-Sherif, announced that 48 local organizations, 9 international organizations, National Human Rights Council, National Council for Women and the National Council for Disability have all been approved to monitor the upcoming elections.

Spokesman for the Presidency Bassam Radhi stated that President Sisi held a meeting with the Prime Minister Sharif Ismail and a number of minister. During the meeting, the officials reviewed the government’s efforts to provide basic food commodities in the markets with appropriate quantities and prices, and the procedures for monitoring the markets.

The spokesman added that the steps were taken to activate the National Academy for Training and Rehabilitation of Youth and activate its training programs aimed at achieving the human development requirements of the youth in all sectors and upgrading their abilities and skills to achieve comprehensive human, economic and social development.

(Source / 31.01.2018)

Report: Sisi regime killed 571 Egyptians in 2017

Egyptians security forces fire tear gas at Egyptians [file photo]

Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) revealed that the Egyptian regime killed 571 Egyptians from the opposition in 2017, including 511 killed at the hands of the Egyptians security forces, Rassd.com said on Sunday.

In its annual report, the ECRF said that the Al-Sisi regime executed 15 Egyptians in December and 51 others died due to medical negligence, including four in April alone.

The report noted that 88 Egyptian police and army officers were killed, as well as 15 Christians and 532 Muslim worshipers, who were killed in Al-Rawda Mosque in Sinai.

Meanwhile, the report noted 602 cases of enforced disappearance, including 160 cases in which the ECRF could not find any information about them.

Among those disappeared were 17 secondary school students, one prep school student and three university professors.

Read: ‘Egypt’s January 25 rebels were united by the great revolution but later divided by conspiracies’

The report also added that 25 university professors were sacked and five others were arrested. In addition, it reported that 27 journalists were arrested and 28 others blacklisted, and 465 websites were blocked.

The report also said that 52 women were arrested, 16 of whom were sentenced and 36 of whom are in remand detention. In addition, it reported 125 women were disappeared, noting that the number of women who had been forcefully disappeared since 2013 rose to 148.

It also recorded 65 violations against children, including forced disappearance.

(Source / 22.01.2018)

Egypt sentences ex-President Morsi, 19 others to 3 years in jail for insulting judiciary

A file photo dated January 24, 2016 shows Egyptians holding portraits of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown in a military coup lead by Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, now President, next to Consulate General of Egypt in Bebek district of Istanbul, Turkey. ( Mohammed Elshamy - Anadolu Agency )

A file photo dated January 24, 2016 shows Egyptians holding portraits of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown in a military coup lead by Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, now President, next to Consulate General of Egypt in Bebek district of Istanbul, Turkey

A Cairo criminal court sentenced former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and 19 others to three years in prison on Saturday, and fined him 2 million Egyptian pounds ($112,700) on charges of insulting the judiciary.

Others tried by the court in the same case including leading Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and lawmaker and television presenter Tawfik Okasha were instead given fines ranging from 30,000 to 1 million Egyptian pounds.

The verdicts can still be appealed.

Opinion: The danger posed to life of President Morsi

Morsi, democratically elected after Egypt’s 2011 revolution, was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president, through a military coup.

He was immediately arrested and is now serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted of inciting the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012 and a 25-year sentence for spying for Qatar.

(Source / 31.12.2017)

Egypt allows routine medical check for Morsi at his expense

Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi, wearing an orange uniform while in prison on 18th August 2016 [Anadolu Agency/Facebook]

Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi, wearing an orange uniform while in prison on 18th August 2016

An Egyptian court yesterday allowed a comprehensive medical examination of former President Mohamed Morsi at his own expense.

The medical check-up results will be presented to the court at its next hearing on 3 December.

During a session of his trial in Cairo, Morsi asked the court to allow him to have a comprehensive medical examination at a private hospital at his own expense, where adequate equipment will be available for specialist tests.

“If this is not possible, I ask that the examination be conducted in a government hospital with the necessary means for these medical examinations,” he said, noting to the deterioration of his health, especially after he was diagnosed with diabetes.

Morsi is being tried on several charges including espionage and insulting the judiciary.

Read: Morsi tells lawyer of threats to his life

(Source / 20.11.2017)

Egypt: Osama Morsi jailed for 3 years

Osama Mohamed Morsi, the son of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is seen during the trial over the breaking up the Rabaa Al-Adawiyyah protests, at the police academy in Cairo, Egypt on December 10, 2016 [Moustafa Elshemy / Anadolu Agency]

Osama Mohamed Morsi, the son of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is seen during the trial over the breaking up the Rabaa Al-Adawiyyah protests, at the police academy in Cairo, Egypt on December 10, 2016

A court in Egypt has sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s son to three years in prison over accusations that he allegedly possessed weapons at the time of his arrest in 2016.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud told journalists that the ruling against Osama Morsi is not final and that he will appeal it.

No evidence was submitted to support the charges except for the alleged eyewitness accounts of the police offers who arrested him at his home 10 months ago, Abdel-Maqsoud added.

Osama was arrested on 16 December on charges of violence related to the dispersal of the Rabaa protest sit-in, which was set up in 2013 after Morsi was ousted in a military coup by current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Read: Morsi’s son being beaten in prison

After Osama’s arrest, prosecutors referred him to trial on the charge of possessing weapons.

Activists in the Muslim Brotherhood group believe that the ruling is politically motivated and that the lawsuit comes in the context of a wave of politicised rulings against the former president’s family as well as his supporters.

(Source  / 27.10.2017)

Brotherhood leader demands Sisi regime be prosecuted

Essam El-Erian, senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood [File photo]

Essam El-Erian, senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

A senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam El-Erian, who has been imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities, yesterday asked the court to allow him to meet with international lawyers to file lawsuits against the government regarding human rights violations in prisons.

El-Erian said he wished to meet with lawyers Ramsey Clark from the US, Mustafa Al-Ramid and Khaled El-Sufayani from Morocco, Ali Abu El-Sukkar from Jordan, Asaad Harmoush from Lebanon and Mubarak El-Mutawaa from Kuwait.

He requested the men be allowed entry to Egypt and not be stopped at the airport in order for them to meet with him and file lawsuits in international courts.

The defendant, who was in court for a session in the case on the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in dispersal, explained that his family is banned from visiting him and are treated badly by security officials and prison guards.

Meanwhile, attorney Essam Sultan announced during the court hearing that he will go on hunger strike until a UN committee visits him and discusses the authority’s failure to investigate his arrest and torture on 28 July 2013.

The court postponed the session until next Tuesday.

Read: Brotherhood prisoners refuse to meet government-appointed delegation

(Source / 18.10.2017)

Egypt arrests well-known singer in restaurant

Egyptian singer Rami Sabry [Youtube]

Egyptian security services arrested a well-known singer on Friday morning while he was eating in a Cairo restaurant, local websites have reported. Rami Sabry was picked up following the issue of an arrest warrant.

Although Sabry’s family did not comment on his arrest, according to Al-Arab he was taken away after trying to avoid military conscription.

Masrawi news website said that the singer was handed over to the military for him to start his compulsory service in the armed forces.

(Source / 14.10.2017)

Egypt extends state of emergency for 3 months

Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi [File photo]

Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi extended yesterday Egypt’s countrywide state of emergency for an additional three months.

The renewed three-month state of emergency will start today, according to a presidential decree.

“The state of emergency will be applied across the country, effective as of 1:00 am on Friday, for an additional three months, due to ongoing security concerns,” the presidential decree read.

“The armed forces and the police will take the necessary measures to confront the dangers of terrorism,” the decree added.

The Egyptian parliament is yet to approve the presidential resolution.

Read more: Notorious emergency courts return in Egypt

Egypt first imposed the state of emergency in April after two church bombings, which Daesh claimed responsibility for, killed at least 45 people. It was then extended in July for a further three months.

The state of emergency allows authorities to carry out additional security measures, including the referral of terrorism suspects to state security courts, the imposition of curfews and strict control over newspapers.

(Source / 13.10.2017)

Egypt court sentences Morsi to 25 years in Qatar spy case

Morsi was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president of Egypt

Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi during a court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood to 25 years in prison in a final ruling over a case accusing him of spying for Qatar, judicial sources said.

Morsi, democratically elected after Egypt’s 2011 revolution, was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president, following mass protests against his rule. He was immediately arrested.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced Morsi’s sentence in the Qatar case to 25 years in its final ruling, from an original 40 years.

Morsi is already serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.

Since toppling Morsi, Sisi has clamped down on dissent. Mass trials have been held for thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, and hundreds have received death sentences or lengthy prison terms.

In 2014, Egypt charged Morsi and nine others with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Egypt’s relations with Doha were already troubled by Qatar’s backing of Morsi.

Egypt is one of four Arab nations in a Saudi-led bloc that cut relations with the Gulf state on June 5, accusing it of backing militant groups and cooperating with their arch-foe Iran, allegations Doha denies.

(Source / 16.09.2017)

Egypt’s court media ban limits public access to trials

CAIRO — Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) decision No. 1308 published on Aug. 14 to ban media coverage of all trials via audiovisual devices has stirred much controversy in human rights, media and judicial circles.

Some see it as a means to prevent citizens from knowing what is happening in trials and a major restriction of freedom against journalists covering Egypt’s judicial issues.

In the first implementation of this decision, just one day after its issuance, the head of the Criminal Court of Cairo, Judge Hassan Farid, banned photojournalists from attending the hearing of 20 defendants in case No. 239 of 2015. They are accused of joining a terrorist cell in Marsa Matrouh that is affiliated with the Islamic State in Libya and with slaughtering 21 Egyptians in Libya.

Human rights lawyer Mukhtar Munir described the decision as totally unfair and told Al-Monitor in a telephone interview that it contradicts the established principle of publicity of court hearings.

“The State Council’s Supreme Administrative Court issued a judgment in 2010, conferring to itself, and not to the Supreme Judicial Council, the power to ban TV broadcasting of hearings and trials. The ban decision violates and invalidates this judgment, stripping it of its binding force,” he said.

Munir, who works for the nongovernmental organization Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, said that citizens have the right to attend trials and hearings. “But in reality, all proceedings of public opinion cases are held at police headquarters, which citizens cannot enter without a special permit,” he added.

Indeed, all public opinion and terrorism-related trials are held at police headquarters, while other trials are held in ordinary courts allowing the entry of the public but banning audiovisual devices.

Munir noted that Article 268 of Egypt’s Code of Criminal Procedure states that hearings shall be public unless in exceptional cases determined by the court itself. “The Supreme Judicial Council cannot issue an absolute ban,” he said.

On Aug. 13, SJC submitted a complaint to the public prosecutor against Egyptian websites Al-Mesryoon and Al-Omah, accusing them of publishing false news concerning the judiciary, including the publication of remuneration of judges.

Munir said that Egypt’s current regime sees any large government apparatus as a sovereign authority, and therefore such authorities may not be put under media spotlights as this would threaten Egypt’s national security. “How will the publication of the salaries of judges affect national security?” he wondered, noting that this type of news has nothing to do with national security.

He added, “The problem is that the Justice Ministry does not have an information office, which makes it difficult for journalists following up on judicial matters to perform their job. This is not to mention the recent crackdown on journalists.”

Meanwhile, a judge in the Egyptian Court of Appeal told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that the decision does not conflict with the principle of public hearings. “Allowing journalists to attend hearings is in line with the principle of publicity of trials and hearings, and banning TV broadcasts and photography does not negate this principle,” he said.

The judge added that the decision was issued to protect the rights of the accused and the judges, saying, “Taking photos of judges may expose them to potential future assaults. National security officers may also be subject to assassinations if their identity is revealed since they are the main witnesses in most terrorism-related cases.”

He said that the ban is limited to audiovisual coverage and that journalists are given free access without their cameras, adding that the decision came after some media outlets published false information regarding judges’ remunerations. This undermines the standing of judges and the judiciary as a whole.

Mustafa Shaat, a legal researcher at the American University in Cairo’s law and society unit, told Al-Monitor, “Judges are strongly sensitive about broadcasting hearings, especially in cases related to terrorism, where the defendants are placed in glass cages and can barely communicate with their lawyers or hear the judges clearly. The trials held at the police headquarters violate the Code of Criminal Procedure. This is why judges prefer not to have trials and hearings documented with audiovisual devices.”

Shaat noted that most terrorism-related cases are politicized. He explained that “several facts revealed that some judges follow their own ideology and this was documented by the photographers’ cameras. Filming of trials allows documenting judges’ violations, and this is why they want to ban TV broadcasts of all hearings. The principle of publicity of trials and hearings has harmed judges. This principle is directly related to the public image of the court and judges.”

A number of judicial authorities had issued several decisions banning judges from giving statements about judicial cases to media outlets and preventing them from posting about them on social media.

Indeed, Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek had banned all public prosecution members on May 10, 2016, from expressing political opinions on social media or making statements to the media. The Administrative Public Prosecution also issued instructions Aug. 16 to its members not to speak to the media during the course of their inspections and to refrain from giving press statements in general.

Shaat added that these decisions confirm beyond any doubt that there is an official crackdown on journalists, stressing that “a ban on filming contradicts the principle of public hearings. It is mainly aimed to cover up for the mistakes that judges may make during hearings, which may tarnish their image in the eyes of the citizens.”

He noted that the job of journalists covering judicial affairs may be harder than that of other journalists, saying, “This happened several times, such as when journalists published news contrary to the statements issued by judicial authorities and when articles tackled the remuneration of judges. On May 8, a journalist from the Al-Fajr newspaper was accused of offending the public image of the judiciary by publishing offending materials.”

Shaat added, “The ban allows journalists to attend hearings but prevents them from bringing in any audiovisual devices. They could be subject also to prosecution depending on the angle from which they choose to tackle their articles.”

In addition to the general freedom restrictions preventing them from having access to information, Egyptian journalists covering judicial issues face continued threats of prosecution.

(Source / 26.08.2017)