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March 1-8, 2014

Weekly Media Monitoring report for Egypt
Posted on March 28, 2014

Contents

Compiled by Vanessa Bassal, MIGS Desk Officer for Egypt

  1. Abdel Fateh al-Sisi to announce presidential candidacy shortly (by the end of the week)
  2. Increase in human right abuses thus far in 2014 
  3. Members of Egypt’s political facade released from prison
  4. Hamas (Palestine) activities banned in Egypt 

General Sisi to Announce Official Run for President
Private Owned Media

Egypt Independent (04/03/2014)

  • General Sisi has hinted at his run for presidency in April 2014, the supposed date for the elections. He has cited the Egyptian citizenry as being overwhelmingly in favour of his person as future President of Egypt.
  • It is rumoured that his official announcement will come following the declaration of voting procedures for the elections in 2014. 
  • One of his opponents, Hamdeen Sabbahi, who was a candidate in the 2012 elections, has officially announced his run for office but it is very likely that he will lose the presidency as most Egyptians will vote for Sisi, thus re-instituting a military government in Egypt.
  • The United States is against Russia’s backing of General Sisi as Presidential candidate for it believes it is up to Egyptians to decide their fate and mentioned that it is ready to hep Egypt in becoming a democratic state.
Privately Owned Media (Arabic)

Al Masri Al Youm (04/03/2014)

  • General Al-Sisi strongly believes that the majority of Egyptians will support his run for Presidency
  • Noting that the country is experiencing difficulties, General Sisi preached for all members of Egypt to come together and unite in order to get passed the difficult times the country is facing. 
State Owned Media

Al-Ahram (01/03/2014):

  • The article speculates whether General Sisi will run for office as a result of a new decree making the Minister of Defence the head of SCAF and not the President, thus ensuring a complete separation of the Army from the Executive body. Despite some speculation, it would be a bold move if Sisi did not run as his electoral campaign has been under some preparations since last week.
  • Despite the new constitutional law, Sisi has chosen to remain in his position as Defence Minister in order to assure that Members in charge of the Defence of Egypt are on the same page as he is, therefore assuring a smooth presidency.
  • Ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates strengthened following the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. The United Arab Emirates want General Sisi to remain the Defense Minister rather than becoming President of Egypt to avoid Islamist uprisings in Egypt. It is supposed that the opinions of both states will be a dominating force in General Sisi’s overall decision as both states provide financial help to Egypt. 

Increase in Human Rights Abuses
Privately Owned Media

Daily News Egypt (04/03/2014)

  • Some of the human rights violations include the increasing use of force projected onto protestors resulting in their deaths, restrictions on freedom of association, restrictions on freedom of expression, restrictions on freedom of assembly, restriction on academic freedom
  • Human Rights Watch has mentioned that the Egyptian government needs to comply by its Human Rights obligations towards its people if the country is to progress. The government needs to keep account of Human Right abuses.
  • An example of lack of accountability visible following the overthrowing of President Morsyv at pro-Morsi sit in which resulted in the death of 969 civilians, rather than 650, as announced nationally by the government.
  • Basic human rights also need to be granted to prisoners (see following section for more detail)
  • Example of recent human right offense: Sinai bus attack (Human Rights Watch) 
    • South Korean Christian tourists going to Israel through the Sinai Peninsula. The bus driver and three tourists were killed. Thirteen other people were injured.
    • Motivation behind the attack was to “paralyze” the Egyptian government
    • Attack by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis responsible for two more attacks both in August and December 2013.
    • Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/02/25/egypt-investigate-lethal-attack-civilians-sinai
Social Media and Human Right Abuses
  • Twitter: @Sarahcarr’s video post about a bus driver being shot in the neck by the police on January 31, is a further depiction of human right abuses taken place in Egypt. The police closed off a road using small stones to signal its closure. However, the bus driver, who is not from the area where the killing took place, failed to realize that the road was closed off and was shot. This proves that people are being shot randomly without any excuse in Egypt. 

Members of Egypt’s Political Facade Released from Prison
State Owned Media

Al Ahram (04/03/3014)

  • Prominent members of the January 2011 revolution have been released, among them important members of the Leftist Movement, including: Khaled El-Sayed, Mohamed ElSayes, and Nagy Kamal. The three leftist members were arrested for unauthorized protests, which went against Egyptian law.
  • Kaheld El-Sayed cites torture and bad treatment as the fundamental obstacles he faced in jail. EL-Sayed is reputed for having released a letter from jail mentioning continuous beating of detainees and over crowdedness in prison cells. Many of those in jail in Egypt are stripped down and splashed with cold water for hours as well as being electrocuted on various parts of their bodies, including their genital areas. 
  • Unfortunately the number of arbitrary arrests and incidents of torture are unknown in Egypt because citizens are too afraid to testify.
  • As always, the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior has denied all accusations.
  • On March 3, 2014 the ministry of the Interior released from jail 29 students detained for having attacked security forces at a protest which marked the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution. 
Social Media and the Releases:
  • An active member of the Twitter community @TheBigPharaoh has strongly stated that General Sisi will continue to release many political prisoners as “acts of kindness,” similarly to what Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak had done previously. Releasing many prisoners from jail will 

End of Hamas Activities from Egypt
Privately Owned Media

Egypt Independent (04/03/2014)

  • The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has banned all activities of Hamas undertaken in Egypt. The main argument given for this relates to the close ties between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been labelled by Egypt as a terrorist organization.
  • A spokesperson for Hamas is astonished by the decision and clearly indicates that Egypt’s image around the Arab World will be damaged as these actions demonstrate Egypt’s lack of interest in Palestinian resistance, which is what the Hamas movement is initially founded on. 
State Owned Media

Al Ahram (04/03/2014)

  • Not only are Hamas activities banned in Egypt, but all groups branching out of the organisation as well as those who are financed and supported by Hamas are also banned from the country.
  • Egyptian officials have stated that Hamas is responsible for helping in creating many of the attacks undertaken by the Islamists in recent months, which have shaken the entire country. They have also cited security attacks on officers in the Sinai Peninsula as one of the motivating factors for the sudden ban on the organization. However, Hamas believes these rulings to be based on false fabrications 
  • Hamas has been accused of orchestrating many of the jail breaks which occurred back in January 2011, freeing my prisoners and letting them out on the streets. 
  • Important economy tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt have also been destroyed by Egyptian authorities. These tunnels are vital for inhabitants of Gaza because they provide them with goods that are not found in Gaza, including food supplies and gas. What then does the future hold for Gaza? 
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