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Egypt Blog

Keep up with all the latest developments in Egypt as unrest continues to cripple the country following the military's removal of Mohamed Morsi as president on July 3.

  • An Egyptian filmmaker who was detained along with a translator last month has said he has been released, but still stands accused of spying and spreading rumors against the military government.

    Hossam Eddin el-Meneai, a 36-year-old Egyptian documentary filmmaker from the Sinai Peninsula, was arrested along with his American roommate Jeremy Hodge on January 22 at their apartment in the Dokki neighborhood of Cairo.

    Hodge, a translator, was released four days later. 

    Meneai, who denies the charges, said by telephone that while he was held police beat him repeatedly on his knees, and one officer threatened to shoot him with a pistol. 

    He said police treated him harshly him after learning he was from Sinai, and moved him to a cell reserved for hard criminals.

    [AP]
  • A Cairo prosecutor has ordered the detention of an Egyptian accused of altering photographs before sending them to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network and of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

    Hassan El Banna is accused of belonging to a terrorist group, an apparent reference to the Brotherhood, and of doctoring pictures to damage the image of security forces, a
    judicial source said on Sunday. 

    Banna was arrested on Saturday and ordered detained for 15 days pending investigations, two judicial sources said. 

    A security source said his movements had been monitored before his arrest and that he had supplied Al Jazeera's Egyptian channel with manipulated photographs, but was not an employee of the channel.

    A judicial source said he was not a professional photographer and did not officially work for Al Jazeera.

    The man arrested on Saturday shares his name with the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood who was assassinated in 1949, but there was no suggestion that the two were related.

    [Reuters] 
  • Egypt's Interior Ministry has accused the ousted president's Muslim Brotherhood group of forming a military wing to stage attacks on the security forces.

    In a televised statement, the ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif named 12 people he said belonged to the alleged military wing.

    He said five were arrested and aired what he said was one of their confessions.

    He said the group, headed by the Brotherhood province's leader, killed five policemen in a drive-by shooting last month in the southern province of Beni Suef.

    [AP]
  • A former Egyptian presidential candidate has said an ongoing crackdown by the military-backed interim government has turned the country into a "republic of fear".

    Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, reiterated his decision that he will not contest upcoming presidential elections expected for the spring, denouncing the vote as a "farce" since it will come amid "suppression". 

    "You created the republic of fear'', said Abolfotoh in a Sunday news conference.

    [AP]


  • Sabahi is the leader of the Egyptian National Salvation Front and a former presidential candidate [EPA]

    Egyptian dissident to stand in presidential election

    A popular Egyptian dissident leader under ousted president Mohamed Morsi has said he will stand in upcoming elections, in a contest likely to pit him against Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to the AFP.

    The announcement on Saturday by socialist activist Hamdeen Sabahi, however, signals growing concern among some Egyptians over a return to military rule if Sisi wins.

    Although the widely popular Sisi has yet to announce his candidacy, the field marshal is expected to contest and win the election, scheduled to be held by mid-April.

    Sabahi had placed third in the 2012 elections that Morsi won.

    After a year of turbulent rule Morsi was overthrown by the military following massive protests demanding the Islamist's resignation.

    Sabahi was a leader of the National Salvation Front which organised protests under Morsi.

    He was also a leading dissident against veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, a former army man who was overthrown in an early 2011 uprising after three decades in power.

    In a speech to his supporters, broadcast on live television, Sabahi announced his nomination to chants of "our vote is for Sabahi."

    He denounced both Morsi and Mubarak, whose regime critics say is being resurrected by the military installed government.

    "We will wage a clear battle," Sabahi said. "I hope my decision has pleased the youths and respected their demands."

    Sisi and the interim president he appointed after overthrowing Morsi have both pledged there would be no return to Mubarak-era practices, in which thousands of political prisoners were detained and freedom of speech was stifled. [AFP]


  • Egypt army kills 16 suspected armed fighters in Sinai

    Egypt's military spokesman has said airstrikes in the northern Sinai Peninsula have killed 16 men with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said on Saturday the airstrikes targeted hideouts of "terrorist, extremely dangerous takfiri" armed fighters late Friday in the eastern border town of Sheikh Zuweyid. 

    He described the targeted armed fighters as affiliated with the "terrorist" Brotherhood group.

    It was the fourth such airstrike with a high death toll since armed fighters downed a military helicopter in a nearby area on January 24, killing all its crew members.

    The military has been waging a wide offensive in Sinai. The area has been a hotbed for attacks on the military since the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July. [AP]
  • 'Health scare' interrupts Egypt's Mubarak retrial

    An Egyptian security official has said the retrial of Egypt's deposed President Hosni Mubarak was abruptly halted because of a sudden health scare.

    The official did not give details of Mubarak's condition during the resumption of the retrial on Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

    Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Mubarak had suffered high blood pressure.

    Mubarak, overthrown in a 2011 uprising, is being retried over charges of failing to stop the killings of protesters after his earlier life-imprisonment sentence was canceled on appeal. 

    The development comes at a time his successor, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, faces several trials after his overthrow in military coup.

    The 85-year-old Mubarak was treated in 2010 for cancer of the gallbladder and pancreas. [AP]
  • @JamjoomCNN At #freeAJstaff demo in #Beirut, #Lebanon, @hananakhal's sign reads, "#Egypt, why are you doing this?" instagram.com


  • Lebanese activists and journalists take part in a demonstration in support of the Al-Jazeera staff, who have been detained by Egyptian authorities since last year, in the Lebanese capital Beirut on February 8, 2014. Egyptian prosecutors have referred to trial 20 journalists allegedly working for Al-Jazeera after accusing them of portraying Egypt as being in a state of "civil war" and "airing false news." [AFP] 
  • New group claims bomb attack in Giza

    A newly formed group has claimed it carried out a bomb attack targeting a police checkpoint in Cairo's twin city of Giza that wounded six people.

    In a statement posted late on Friday on a website, Ajnad Misr, Arabic for Egypt's Soldiers, said its "soldiers reached the heart of the criminal apparatus ... to send a message to them that they are not safe from retribution."

    The two homemade bombs hit a police vehicle on a bridge earlier on Friday. 

    The group issued its first statement last week, claiming responsibility for several such bombings. It vowed to continue its attacks on policemen, urging them to defect and repent.

    The authenticity of the statement could not be verified, but it was posted on an al-Qaeda- affiliated website frequently used for militant claims. [AP]
  • Satirist Bassem Youssef's show, which returned on Friday to airwaves after being taken off air in November,  continued to mock media and Egyptians who were caught in a frenzy of idolizing army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

    Youssef is regarded by many activists to be their sole mouthpiece on local television channels, both state-run and private-owned. The heart surgeon's show garnered applauds by his fans on social media platforms.
     
     

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  • Egypt's top satirist returned to television on Friday for the first airing of his show since it was pulled three months ago, and he skewered the public and media for lionizing the army chief widely expected to be the country's next president.
      

    In taking aim at the frenzy of support for Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Bassem Youssef went further in his criticism of the army-backed political order than anyone else currently allowed on the airwaves.

    Pledging not to discuss political issues that got his wildly popular show "The Program" yanked by private broadcaster CBC in November, Youssef showed that all topics in the country lead back to
    Sisi, who overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi 
    last year.

    After attempting in a mock game show to explore subjects ranging from cooking to sports, Youssef asked with exasperation, "So what are we going to talk about?" [Reuters]

  • A street vendor sells posters of Egypt's army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a protest supporting Sisi in front of the state television building in Cairo [Reuters]

  • Amnesty International is calling on Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release three women arrested last November at a protest at Mansoura University.

    Read Amnesty's full report here



  • Clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of toppled president Mohamed Morsi have resulted in the death of an 11-year-old boy in the southern province of Minya .

    Security forces moved to disperse demonstrators in the village of Dalga as hundreds of mostly young demonstrators marched in the streets and hurled stones at the
    police.

    An eye witness said police responded by firing birdshot.

    The 11-year-old died after being shot in the head and chest, they said.
    [Associated Press]
  • Clashes between Egyptian security forces and Islamist protesters left one
    person dead on Friday
    .

    In the town of Fayoum, 80km southwest of Cairo, clashes with security forces erupted during a rally by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mohamed Morsi hails.

    Hospital officials said one person was shot in the back and died immediately. It was not clear whether he was a demonstrator or a resident of the area.
    [Associated Press]
  • Anti-government group Walla' is claiming responsibility for the bombing in that injured six people in the Giza district of Cairo.

    The group posted on their official Facebook page that the attack was the first in a series against the state

    Walla' defines itself as an anti-government group that has no political or religious affiliations.



    The group made the announcement on their Facebook page. 

  • Two explosions hit Giza district near Cairo

    Read Al Jazeera's full report here




  • State-owned newspaper Al Akhbar alleges Khairat el-Shater, a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood who is currently detained by Egyptian authorities was a spy for the US and the Vatican. 


  • BBC correspondent and anchor Lyse Doucet speaks out against the continued detention of Al Jazeera Journalists.

    Today I join our friends in Canada who call for
    our fellow Canadian Mohammad Fahmy as well as Peter Greste and Mohamed Baher to
    be released from prison in Cairo



  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay speaks on the detention of Al Jazeera staff.

    Journalists trying to carry out their work in Egypt are now confronted by an extremely difficult and dangerous environment. They should be protected not prosecuted.

    Al Jazeera in particular has been targeted to an extraordinary degree, with the Prosecutor-General saying he intends to bring to trial 20 people alleged to have worked for the company’s three channels. 

    It is not a crime to carry a camera, or to try to report the truth. It is not a crime to criticise the authorities, or to interview people who hold unpopular views. 

    Journalists should not be arrested, or beaten up, or sacked, for reporting on sensitive issues. They should not be shot for trying to report or film things we, the public, have a right to know are happening.
     
    I have urged the Egyptian authorities to promptly release all journalists and other media employees imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities, including Mohamed Fahmy , Peter Greste and Bahar Mohammed.

    Crushing independent reporting will only hinder Egypt’s efforts to come through this period of social and political turmoil.” 
  • Mohamed Badr, a cameraman for Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr is seen holding his newborn son after being released by Egyptian authorities where he was detained for more than five months.


  • Two explosive devices detonated on Friday near a police checkpoint in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, wounding six people, the government and security sources said.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

    The Interior Ministry said four policemen were wounded.
    [Reuters]
  • Former BBC news presenter and journalist Robin Lustig has spoken out against Egypt's continued detention of Al Jazeera Journalists in a blog post titled: I am Peter Greste.

    I appreciate that it's not always easy to love journalists, but that should not detract from an eternal truth: it is always essential to value journalism. - Robin Lustig.


  • Egypt urged to free Al Jazeera staff
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

    Al Jazeera Media Network held a news conference in Canada, demanding the immediate release of its journalists. 

    Journalists at the conference urged PM Stephen Harper to break his silence on Al Jazeera Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy's case. 

    It has been 41 days since Egypt's interim government detained three of its staff.  Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports from Toronto.
  • Two explosions have been heard in the space of two minutes in a busy district near Egypt's capital. 

    Al Jazeera sources, quoting the security directorate, said the two blasts were in Giza and went off on Giza Bridge near where Central Security Forces vehicles were parked.

    Read more to get updates on the story.
  • A press conference is underway in Toronto in support of the Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt. One of them, Mohamed Fahmy, is Canadian-Egyptian. Follow Al Jazeera's Fox Deatry Carraway on Twitter for updates from the event: @FoxyBD

    And don't forgot to follow - and tweet - the Twitter hashtag: #FreeAJstaff
  • UK Foreign Secretary concerned by arrest of journalists in Egypt

    In a press release by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) William Hague is said to be concerned by press restrictions in Egypt, and urges the interim government to demonstrate commitment to free expression.

    Speaking today about increasing restrictions placed upon journalists and the media in Egypt, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

    “I am very concerned by restrictions on freedom of the press in Egypt, including reports of the recent charging of Al Jazeera journalists, two of whom are British, Sue Turton and Dominic Kane.

    “We have raised our concerns about these cases and freedom of expression at a senior level with the Egyptian government in recent days. I will discuss these concerns with other European Foreign Ministers at the European Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, and we will continue to monitor the situation of the journalists very closely, and raise them with the Egyptian authorities.

    “The UK believes a free and robust press is the bedrock of democracy. I urge the Egyptian interim government to demonstrate its commitment to an inclusive political process which allows for full freedom of expression and for journalists to operate without the fear of persecution.

  • An Egyptian court has ordered a retrial of 62 people who have faced court before over the worst football disaster in the country's history. Seventy-two people were killed after a pitch invasion in 2012 in a case that shocked the nation and led to uproar, protests and more deaths in riots. Some of the 62 had been convicted, others acquitted. 

    Read our story here.



  • Egypt says Sisi misquoted on presidential bid

    Egypt's army has said that a Kuwaiti newspaper "misinterpreted" remarks by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in which he said he would seek the presidency, saying he would only announce such a decision to the Egyptian people.

    Kuwait newspaper Al-Seyassah ran an interview with Sisi on Thursday in which he was quoted as saying he would run in the presidential election due to be held before mid-April.

    "What was published by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah is nothing but journalistic interpretations that are not direct declarations from Field Marshal Sisi," army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement.

  • Egyptian authorities have started the removal of barricades which were put up almost three years ago in side roads leading to Tahrir Square, to cut off the flow of almost-daily protests into the revolution's iconic venue.
    Tweet by @Rouelshimi shows the wall in Kasr El-Einy wall being taken down.

  • The list of people being pursued by the Egyptian authorities in the case involving Al Jazeera English’s detained journalists has finally been officially served, allowing the network to comment on the case for the first time.
     
    Nine network staff are on the list of twenty, meaning most of those named are not employees of Al Jazeera. Three have been in detention since December 29th – Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste.
     
    Added to their names are British journalists Sue Turton and Dominic Kane. Turton is a seasoned former Sky News, ITN and Channel 4 journalist, who has reported from Afghanistan, Libya, and most recently, Ukraine. She has won two Royal Television Society Awards during her 25-year career. Kane joined Al Jazeera English in April 2012 after more than a decade at the BBC. He is an alumnus of Cardiff University’s School of Journalism. Both reported from Cairo in the aftermath of Morsi’s ouster.
     
    Others named are Egyptian producers and engineers working for the network in Doha, all of whom refute the charges against them.
     
    Yesterday, Dutch journalist Rena Netjes posted on Twitter that despite never having worked for Al Jazeera, she believed she was implicated in the case by the Egyptian authorities because she once spoke to Mohammed Fahmy in a hotel lobby.
     
    Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said:

    “The allegations and actions of the Egyptian authorities are extraordinary, unjust, and unacceptable. Journalists exist to cover and challenge all sides of every story, so the idea we would broadcast “false news” is not only totally wrong, it is also a challenge to journalism itself and the critical role journalism plays in informing people worldwide what is really going on.   

    “All of our Egypt videos are available to view online, and everyone that watches them can see clearly they are accurate, comprehensive, balanced, and underpinned with quality and integrity. The reports tell all sides of the complex story in Egypt. The charges should be dropped, and all of our journalists who are in prison in Cairo should be freed immediately.
     
    Commenting, Sue Turton said:
     
    “I am astounded that a warrant is out for my arrest because of my reporting in Egypt last year. I didn’t treat the situation there any differently to every other story I’ve reported on in almost 25 years as a TV reporter. I have no allegiance to any political group in Egypt or anywhere else and no desire to promote any one point of view.

    “I find it quite extraordinary that my stories on everything from Cairo pollution and TV satire to protests from all sides of the fence could be seen as assisting a terrorist group. Myself and the Al Jazeera English team in Cairo did all we could to provide balanced coverage in what had become very difficult circumstances on the ground.
     
    Dominic Kane said:
     
    “I was deeply concerned to hear of the arrest of my colleagues and dismayed by the accusations against them. No-one should doubt the harshness of the conditions they have been held in for the past five weeks and counting. They should be released immediately. They were doing a difficult job as well and impartially as they could in trying circumstances. I have always sought to cover the events I witness with impartiality and accuracy. I trust that all who watch my reports will see that.
     
    Al Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah Elshamy is currently in the third week of a hungerstrike against his ongoing detention by the Egyptian authorities which began last August.
     
    The case of the detained journalists went viral on the internet yesterday, with people around the world posting pictures of themselves with their mouths taped, holding up signs with the hashtag #FreeAJStaff. Their release has been supported by media outlets, press freedom organisations, and yesterday was also backed by the White House.
     
  • An Egyptian court has adjourned the murder trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to March 1st to review video evidence against him, AFP news agency reports.

    Morsi and 14 co-defendants, some of them former aides, are charged with inciting the killings of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace  in December 2012.


    Read more here.

  • US urges Egypt to free Al Jazeera staff
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

    The Egyptian prison authorities have released one of the Al Jazeera staff members in detention since July last year. 

    Cameraman Mohamed Badr has been acquitted, and is now free.

    But four Al Jazeera journalists still remain in custody. 

    The White House has now joined international calls for their release. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.
  • The Egyptian foreign ministry summoned on Tuesday the  the Qatari Charge d'Affaires in Cairo asking him to convey another message of protest over what it called "Qatari excesses", asserting the need for a positive Qatari response to Interpol’s demand for handing in wanted Egyptians.

    "Qatar should openly state its position over Egypt’s issues and concerns" spokesman for the Egyptian FM Badr Abdul Aati said at a news conference in Cairo.

    Abdul Aati said that there are a number of fugitives living in Qatar wanted for investigations by the Egyptian attorney general's office.

    "We have a number of fugitives living in Qatar and wanted by the Arab and the Egyptian Interpol for investigations by the attorney general’s office,” he added.

    The Egyptian foreign minister also added that his ministry had also also handed over to the Qatari diplomat formal letter of complaint over "the provocative statements recently made by  Qatar-based preacher Yusif al-Qaradawi".
  • Mohammed Badr, Al Jazeera's cameraman in Egypt, has been acquitted of all charges and was released in the early hours of this morning. 


  • International pressure has snowballed against the Egyptian government to release detained journalists working with Al Jazeera network, the latest of which was a condemnation by the White House, as well as protests, on ground in Nairobi, and online by journalists worldwide.

    To read the whole story, click here
  • Egypt's interim government has summoned Qatar's charges d'affaires in
    Cairo. 
    It's demanding that Qatar extradite wanted persons it says
    are in Doha. 

    "The Qatari representative was summoned again to the foreign ministry
    headquarters to convey a message of protest and to reaffirm the need to carry
    out Egypt's requests, and to stress the importance of responding to the prosecutor general, Arab Interpol and international Interpol's requests to
    deliver the wanted persons, and to intervene to stop these infringements on
    Egypt."

    - Badr Abdelatty, spokesman for the Egyptian foreign minister.

  • Here's a clip of Christiane Amanpour's support for the Al Jazeera staff held in Egypt.

    Amanpour covers #FreeAJStaff
    by JFhsfohhMN via YouTube
  • CNN's Christiane Amanpour has thrown her weight behind the #FreeAJStaff campaign. The renowned foreign correspondent and interviewer held up this sign live on air.


    To see who else is supporting the campaign search the #FreeAJStaff hashtag on Twitter. And why not make one yourself? Our journalists were simply doing their jobs.
  • White House spokesman, Jay Carney, has called for the release of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt. He said their rights should be respected "regardless of affiliation."
  • The campaign to #FreeAJStaff detained in Egypt is going viral. The Stream has collected some of the best tweets and put together a Storify. Have a look at it here






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