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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.

  • #AlJazeera English is not Al-Jazeera Arabic - but #Egypt doesn't agree gu.com/p/3n4ad/tw via @guardian
  • Egyptian political leader warns Sisi presidency a threat to democracy 

    The first woman to head a major Egyptian political party has said she saw dangers for democracy if Egypt's wildly popular army chief becomes president, without guarantees that he will not be above the law.

    Hala Shokralla, a Coptic Christian, expressed fears that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's popularity would overshadow efforts to lead Egypt to democracy and end political turmoil gripping the country since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak three years ago.

    "Will we be once again put before a personality who will not be held accountable for his actions," Shokralla asked in an interview with Reuters news agency on Tuesday. 

    Shokralla has been elected head of the Al Dostour, a party founded by Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei after the anti-Mubarak revolt to represent liberal, secular-minded Egyptians, but has yet to generate mass support.

    Sisi toppled Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in July after mass protests against his rule, and the army-backed authorities have since suppressed the eader's Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared as a terrorist group. 
  • Egypt sentences 26 to death over 'terror group': judicial sources

    An Egyptian court sentenced 26 people to death on Wednesday for plotting attacks on ships passing through the Suez Canal, a judicial source told Reuters news agency.

    Cairo Criminal Court issued its verdict on Wednesday. All defendants but one was tried in absentia.

    The prosecutors also charged the group with attacking security buildings, foreign tourists, Christians and police.

  • Egypt's army chief will remain as defence minister

    Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will keep his post as defence minister in a new government, an official source said on Wednesday, quashing speculation he was on the cusp of announcing a widely expected bid for the presidency.

    "He is expected to continue in his post until all the issues regarding the election laws are resolved," the source said. 

    Sisi is widely expected to win the forthcoming presidential election but has yet to formally announce his candidacy. He must vacate the position of defence minister in order to run.

    [Reuters]
  • Egyptian authorities should ensure a full, speedy and effective investigation into the February 16, 2014 bombing of a tourist bus in the Sinai Peninsula that killed four civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The investigation should lead to the identification and prosecution of those responsible for planning as well as for carrying out the attack. 

    The suicide bomber on February 16 boarded a tourist bus carrying a group of South Korean Christian tourists en route to Israel near Sinai’s Taba border crossing, killing three of the tourists and their Egyptian bus driver and wounding more than 13 others.

    Such wanton killings are never justified, no matter what the political or other purpose. - said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

    Read the full HRW statement here
  • Fighters blew up a pipeline in Sinai late on Tuesday that transports gas to Jordan, security officials said, in the fourth such attack this year in the restive peninsula. 

    They planted explosives under the pipeline south of the city of al-Arish in an area called Lehfen, they said. 

    The explosion sent thick flames of fire shooting into the sky, officials said, adding that fire engines and ambulances had been rushed to the site. There were no immediate reports of any casualties. [AFP]
  • Tarek Radwan, associate director at the Rafik Hariri Center in Washington DC, talks to Al Jazeera about the Egyptian government's surprise resignation.

    He said that the move is not just about the possible presidential candidacy of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, but also about the widespread economic discontent in the country.

  • First Egyptian woman elected to lead political party; Says country veering off course 

    The first woman elected to head an Egyptian political party expressed doubt over the country's transition to democracy, criticising the interim authorities' increasing intolerance of dissent.

    Hala Shukrallah, a 59-year-old Coptic Christian, condemned on Monday the security crackdown that has resulted in mass detentions and trials, in the months since the military overthrew the Islamist president last July.

    "The road map to democracy is being compromised," Shukrallah told The Associated Press on Monday in an interview at her Cairo home in the upscale district of Mohandessin.

    Shukrallah was elected over the weekend to lead the liberal Constitution Party, succeeding Mohammed el-Baradei, a Nobel laureate and former interim vice president who resigned in protest against last summer's deadly breakup of sit-in protests by supporters of the ousted President, Mohammed Morsi.

    The country has been deeply polarized since then, with security forces waging a deadly crackdown on Morsi supporters, who refuse to acknowledge the interim authorities and hold near-daily demonstrations that often end violently. [AP]

  • Egyptian Ministers of Interior, Mohamed Ibrahim (L), and Housing, Ibrahim Mihlib (R) speak during a government meeting ahead of announcing its resignation, in Cairo, Egypt, 24 February 2014. Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi announced the resignation of his military-backed government in a surprise measure. Local media had been predicting a limited cabinet reshuffle to allow army chief and Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi to resign and run for president in April. [EPA]
  • Seven Egyptian Christians found dead on Libyan beach

    Libyan police have found seven  Egyptian Christians killed execution-style on a beach in eastern Libya, security officials and local residents said.

    A police officer told Reuters news agency on Monday that the bodies were found with gunshots to the head outside Benghazi in the east, where assassinations, kidnappings and car bombs are common and Islamist militants are active. [Reuters]
  • Government spokesman Hany Saleh told AFP news agency that Monday's decision was taken because there was a "feeling that new blood [was] needed".

    "Egypt is moving forward. This decision will not affect foreign relations or internal stability," he said, adding it was still unclear which ministers from the outgoing cabinet would keep their posts.

    [AFP]


  • To read Al Jazeera's updated article click here.


  • To read Al Jazeera's full article click here.
  • Egypt's military-backed government resigns

    El-Beblawi announced the resignation of his government on Monday on TV [AP] 

    Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi says his cabinet has resigned.

    His government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after the army ousted then President Mohammed Morsi.

    The government's surprise resignation, announced by el-Beblawi in a live Monday TV broadcast, comes amid a host of strikes, including one by public transport workers and garbage collectors. 

    [AP]
  • Proceedings in the trial of Morsi and 130 others over jailbreak charges have been put on hold until a petition to recuse the court's panel is ruled on, according to Al Jazeera's Egypt desk.





  • Egypt's government has resigned, according to state-run Al Ahram's website. 

    The newspaper, citing an unnamed source, said the decision was made after a 15-minute meeting of the cabinet. 

    More to come.


  • Egypt police officers acquitted of 2011 killings
    Nearly 850 people died during the 18-day revolt, most of them on January 
    28, 2011, when protesters battled the then-despised police [AFP] 


    An Egyptian court has acquitted six police officers Saturday on charges of killing 83 protesters during the country's 2011 uprising, something rights activists say could allow toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak to walk free on similar charges.

    It's the last case in a string of acquittals for nearly 100 officers charged in the killings of more than 840 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt. That's as Mubarak's successor, ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, finds himself entangled in multiple court cases that carry the death penalty.

    "The sequence of events show that Mubarak will most probably get acquitted" 
    Mohsen el-Bahnasi, human rights lawyer


    "The sequence of events show that Mubarak will most probably get acquitted," human rights lawyer Mohsen el-Bahnasi told the AP news agency, who also represents the families of 83 protesters killed in Alexandria.

    Mubarak and his top security official Habib el-Adly were sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012 before a court overturned the verdict on appeal.

    They also face a retrial with others for failing to stop killings of protesters.

    Rights groups say the military-backed interim government is trying to scrub the image of the country's police, notorious for the torture and abuse that sparked the 2011 uprising. That's as pro-government media outlets depict anti-Mubarak revolutionaries as foreign agents who orchestrated chaos.

    Meanwhile, security forces routinely use a new protest law to target Morsi supporters and others protesting against the interim government. 

    A Cairo court on Saturday sentenced 15 youth protesters to two years in prison and 50,000 Egyptian pound (nearly $7,100) fines for protesting without a permit in January.
    [AP]
  • Egyptian court acquitted 6 policemen in charges of killing 80 protesters during the 18-day protests in January 2011 protests against former President Hosni Mubarak. 
  • Founding member of Egypt's liberal Constitution Party Hala Shukrallah succeeds Mohamed ElBaradei as the party's president.

    Friday's elections were the first elections for the party's presidency. Shukrallah won 108 out of 189 votes. [Ahram]

  • The US Department of State alerts US citizens to the risks of traveling to Egypt due to continuing political and social unrest.

    This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on January 30, 2014, and will expire on May 22, 2014.

    Based on an assessment of the security situation in Egypt, the Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for US Embassy personnel on November 6, 2013.

    The State Department lifted ordered departure status for US Consulate General Alexandria on December 16, 2013. However, Consulate General personnel are based out of the US Embassy in Cairo while required facility security upgrades are made.

    The security situation in North Sinai, including the major east-west coastal highway and the towns of El Arish, Shaykh Zuwayd, El Gorah and Rafah, has been marked by ongoing violent attacks on Egyptian security personnel and by continuing and frequently intense security operations against the sources of violence. The US Department of State strongly urges US citizens to avoid travel to North Sinai.

    The security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, the Luxor-Aswan Nile cruise routes, and Red Sea/Southern Sinai resorts such as Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh remains calm. However, on February 16, a bomb was detonated on a tourist bus, killing four people in Taba, a Sinai resort near the Israeli border.

    The US Department of State strongly urges US citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse.

    Foreign journalists, credentialed or not, have also been increasingly targeted by both security forces and Egyptian citizens while attempting to cover demonstrations or gain access to restricted areas. Several have been detained for prolonged periods as a result of their activities, and others have been subjected to verbal or physical assault by citizens suspicious about the reason for their presence.

    Depending on the current security situation, the US Embassy may restrict the movements of its employees and their families within Cairo itself. We continue to urge US citizens to stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

    [US Department of State]
  • Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei posted the following tweet: "To the youth of the Constitution (party) and the revolution: you are now the source of light amid the darkness of injustice, ignorance, extremism and oppression. Unite, reclaim principles and listen to the voice of reason."

  • Local newspaper "Egypt Independent" reports that former presidential candidate Khalid Ali is announcing soon" his plans to run in the next presidential elections.

    The leftist lawyer is director of the domestic human rights watchdog, Egyptian Centre of Economic and Social Rights, and is renowned for taking on legal cases in the defense of workers seeking better conditions as well as fighting corruption.

    His presidential bid failed to garner enough votes in 2012, which saw the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi emerge as victorious.
  • Strikes challenging government spread across Egypt

    In this photo taken on Saturday, February 15, textile workers strike to demand a minimum wage, the removal of their company's head and the head of the firm's holding company, and back pay of yearly bonuses in Mahalla al-Kobra, Egypt.  

    Egypt's state news agency says that worker strikes have spread across the Nile Delta and southern Egypt, increasing pressure on the country's military-backed interim government. 

    Notaries in the Delta province of Kafr el-Sheikh went on strike on Thursday, joining pharmacists, doctors and factory workers who have been protesting across much of the country for the past month, calling for higher salaries. 

    In the Southern city of Assiut, security officials said police officers briefly went on strike to protest a decision to extend the work day from eight to 12 hours. 

    Police officers face a growing threat as attacks on police stations have spiked following the July ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. 

    Security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists. [AP]

  • Bel Trew, an Egypt-based print and broadcast journalist working for the times of London, among other publications as well, live-tweeted earlier today on the emotional scenes that surrounded the trial of Al Jazeera journalists in Tora Prison:
     
     
     

    1 of 10


  • Pictures from outside Tora prison earlier today where the trial of Al Jazeera journalists were being held:

    Andrew Greste, a brother of Australian journalist Peter Greste, waits with Australian diplomats outside court as his brother and 19 other Al-Jazeera employees went on trial [AP] 
    Egyptian army soldiers on a tank are positioned outside Cairo's Tora prison, where the trial of Al Jazeera journalists and other foreign media took place,- [Reuters]  
    Foreign journalists and relatives of Al-Jazeera journalists walk near a police vehicle outside Cairo's Tora prison [Reuters] 
    Prosecutors allege that the defendants, including award-winning Australian Peter Greste and Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, manipulated footage and supported the Brotherhood [AFP] 
    Since their arrest, journalists have staged protests worldwide demanding their release, and rejecting claims the three have links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's former ruling party which has since been designated a "terrorist" group [AFP]
    The trial was later adjourned to the first week of march to give defence lawyers time to examine the case documents, according to the court [EPA] 
     
     

    1 of 6


  • Global Day of Action called in support of journalists in Egypt:

    Al Jazeera has expressed disappointment that their three staff on trial in Egypt were not released today.
     

    Al Jazeera is asking people worldwide to participate in a global day of action next week on February 27, to continue applying pressure for the release of the journalists. 

    Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English said: 

    We truly appreciate the solidarity from journalists and individuals right around the world. The pressure has continued to build since they were taken into custody. We must keep this up, so we ask everyone to contribute to the Global Day of Action on Thursday 27th February. Journalism is not a crime.

  • Lawyer for the defence, Farag Fathy: 

    We asked they be released pending investigations, and we also asked to question all witnesses, and demanded to question the technical committee that had examined the equipment which was seized. We requested that the evidence be examined in front of the defendants and the trial will most likely be adjourned after the session of the remaining ten Muslim Brotherhood journalists is finished.


    Head of news gathering at Al Jazeera English, Heather Allan:

    We believe we will be acquitted. The lawyers are fully on board with us, they fully believe in our case, they fully believe that we were just operating as journalists, we don't have an agenda, we have nothing against Egypt, we certainly don't lie or do biased reporting. So, we believe that we are innocent.



  • Ruth Vandewalle, a Cairo-based freelance journalist & producer for Dutch/Belgian TV, was inside the courtroom where three Al Jazeera English journalists were on trial today. The following are a series of updates Vandwalle tweeted during the trial: 

     
     

    1 of 12



  • Egypt adjourns Al Jazeera journalists' trial: 

    The trial of three Al Jazeera English journalists in Egypt has been adjourned until March 5 after they appeared in court in Cairo and pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

    Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed are accused of joining, or aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation. 

    After opening the trial, the Cairo court said it will hear prosecution witnesses and consider the evidence at the next hearing.

    Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are being tried for allegedly having links to a "terrorist organisation" and spreading false news.

    Read more here: aje.me

  • Dutch journalist, among the journalists facing trial today, tweets about charges she is facing. She has never worked for Al Jazeera Network. 

  • An Egyptian criminal court sentenced former information minister Anas al-Fekky to a suspended sentence of one year in prison on Thursday and fined him 1 million Egyptian pounds over charges of illicit gains. [Aswat Masriya]

  • Families of Al Jazeera's reporters wait outside the court where Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are to stand trial today. 
     
     

    1 of 3



  • A sample of reports posted on twitter on awaited trial of Al Jazeera detained reporters. 

     
     

    1 of 4


  • Journalists have been demonstrating in London for the release of the Al Jazeera team being held in Egypt. The protest took place outside the Egyptian embassy and was organised by the National Union of Journalists.

    They are not only demanding the release of Al Jazeera staff, but are also demonstrating against the treatment of the press in Egypt. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports from London.

  • The trial of nine Al Jazeera journalists is set to begin in Cairo on Thursday.

    Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been in prison for 53 days.

    Six other staff will be tried in absentia.

    They have been charged with having links to a terrorist organisation and spreading false news.

    Al Jazeera rejects all the charges and continues to demand the unconditional release of its staff.

    Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports.

  • NUJ demo in London to protest against detained journalists in Egypt. #FreeAJStaff @AJStream http://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bg1ah43IAAEgjlv.jpg

  • Egypt's Mubarak faces new trial over corruption

    Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are appearing before a Cairo court, facing charges that they wasted millions of dollars in public funds allocated to renovate presidential palaces.

    Wednesday's session is the first in the case after months-long pause.

    The trial initially opened in August, but the court sent it back to the prosecutor general who added four new defendants. The state media said they held management positions in the project.

    Last year, the ailing president was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of failing to stop the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that forced him from office. His sentence was canceled on appeal and he is now facing a retrial.

    He appeared in court sitting in a wheelchair next to his sons. [AP]
  • Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appears in court on corruption charges with two sons and other defendants. [Reuters]
  • Egyptian armed group warns tourists to leave or face attack

    An armed group in Egypt has warned tourists to leave the country and threatened to attack any who stay after February 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fast-growing insurgency in the biggest Arab nation.

    The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, made the statement on Tuesday on an affiliated Twitter account.

    "We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline," read the tweet, written in English, which Egypt's prime minister said is aimed to undermine the political process begun after an army takeover in July.

    Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has said that it does not post statements on social media sites, but statements that appeared on the Twitter account in the past have afterwards surfaced on websites of other armed groups, which the group says it does use.

  • Tourists from India arrive in Egypt after crossing the Taba Land Port on February 18, 2014, two days after a tourist bus exploded in the Egyptian south Sinai resort town near the border with Israel. Egypt's Prime Minister  Hazem el-Beblawi
    said Sinai-based group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is a threat to tourists
    and undermining security in his country. [AFP] 


  • Egypt charges two "Israeli agents", two Egyptians with spying

    Egypt's public prosecutor has charged two men it said were Israeli intelligence agents and two Egyptians with conspiring in Israel's interests, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office.

    "The public prosecutor ordered Ramzy Mohamed, Sahar Ibrahim, Samuel Ben Zeev and David Wisemen - two officers in the Israeli Mossad - to be sent to a Cairo criminal court for spying for the interests of the state of Israel," read the statement issued on Tuesday.

    The two Egyptians are already in jail pending investigation, the statement said, according to the Reuters news agency. 

    The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the two Israeli officers. It was not clear from the statement if the Israelis were in Egypt. There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

    The Egyptians are accused of providing information about Egypt to the Israeli officers with "the intent of damaging national interests in exchange for money and gifts and sex."

    It accuses Mohamed of "sleeping with women who work in Israeli intelligence."

    The Egyptian is also accused of recruiting the accused woman, Ibrahim, to work for Israeli intelligence.

    The statement said that the two Egyptians had admitted that they had "committed the crime of spying for Israel" during investigations.
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