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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.


  • Three Al Jazeera journalists have been remanded to 15 more days in custody in Egypt, according to the prosecutor.

    Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, producers, and Peter Greste, correspondent, of Al Jazeera English have been held in custody in Egypt since December 29, 2013, accused of "spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist organisation".

    The Doha-based broadcaster denies the accusations against its Cairo team and has expressed outrage at the continued detention of the journalists without charge.

    To read Al Jazeera's full report, click here.

  • Next week Egypt will hold a referendum on a new constitution - replacing the one that was brought in by deposed President Mohamed Morsi. But Egyptians in Britain, as well as their compatriots around the world, are preparing to vote on the new constitution almost a week before people in Egypt.

    UK Egyptians start voting on new constitution
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube


  • Students of Al-Azhar University, who are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, clash with riot police and residents of the area at the university campus in Cairo's Nasr City district on Wednesday. [Reuters]


  • Egypt's top satirist prepares return

    Bassem Youssef, Egypt's most popular satirist often compared to U.S. comedian Jon Stewart, has said Wednesday his team is preparing to bring back their widely watched  television show poking fun at politics in a country still beset by turmoil  following a July military coup.

    Private broadcaster CBC suspended the show, called "The Program" in Arabic, last fall after the season's first episode, which was highly critical of the military and the nationalist fervor gripping  the nation after the popularly backed overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    With a military-backed interim government in place and sensitivities high, Youssef said his team of writers and comedians face a tough challenge. But they are not planning to hold back.

    "We never self-censor,'' Youssef told The Associated Press in an interview from his  Cairo studio. 

    "It's not what we say about the government or don't say, it is how to make people laugh and have a good time. In times like these this is a huge challenge.

    "If people laughed, if people think we are respecting their mentality that would be great. Given the circumstances, the panic, the violence, the hatred, the split (in the country), everybody wants you to say exactly what they want. It's very difficult.'' [AP]
  • Morsi trial delayed due to 'bad weather'

  • After decades of being an underground group, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood finally got its chance to realise its dream of mainstream appeal, and rise to power through the country's first presidential elections, which followed the 2011 toppling of Hosni Mubarak.

    "In pictures: Mohamed Morsi's rise and fall" illustrates the main moments of Morsi's one-year tenure, which has led to him currently facing trial on several charges that could lead to him receiving a death sentence.

    To see the full photo gallery, click here.

  • Security forces dispersed a rally in the country's second biggest city, Alexandria, where students protested the trail of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram Gate.

    Riot forces used tear gas to break the crowd, and several were arrested, according to the newspaper.

    The protest was hindered because organizers did not attain permission as mandated by a law passed by the government, cheif og Alexandrian police, Major General Nasser Abed, told Al-Ahram. 

    Those arrested allegedly distributed leaflets inciting against the army, he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

  • Police and security forces detain a man, supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, outside a police academy where Mursi's second trial session was due to take place, on the outskirts of Cairo. [Reuters] 


  • An Egyptian court on Wednesday adjourned the murder trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi to February 1, citing "weather conditions" that prevented Morsi's transport to court from his prison.

    "Because of the weather conditions, Mohamed Morsi could not be brought, so the trial will be adjourned to February 1," said presiding judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef. [AFP]
  • The trial of Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members has been postponed until February 1st, after Morsi could not attend due to bad weather, reports Egyptian State TV.

  • What is deposed president Mohamed Morsi and the 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members being accused of?

    While Morsi faces tens of accusations, this trial is related to only one of them, inciting the killing of anti-Brotherhood protesters on December 5, 2012 at the presidential palace in Cairo.

    The 15 defendants are divided into two groups:
    • The first group is accused of owning arms and ammunitions, killing a journalist and others, and using force. This group includes some of Morsi’s top presidential aides, such as Ahmed Abdel Atti and Ayman Ali.
    • The second group - which includes Morsi, Essam ElErian, and Mohamed ElBeltagy - are accused of (1) inciting to kill and (2) all the other crimes mentioned above.
  • Egyptian TV channel Alhayat reports that Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed elBeltagy fainted in court and was treated by paramedics. He has been on huger strike for two weeks. 

  • Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi's arrival at a Cairo court where he was due to stand trial on Wednesday was delayed by poor weather, state TV reported.

    Mursi was due to be flown to the Cairo police academy where the court was due to convene. Mursi is currently in a jail near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. 

    State media had earlier reported that Mursi, who was deposed by the army on July 3, had arrived at the court for the second session of his trial on charges that he incited the killing of protesters during his time as president. [Reuters]
  • Morsi's flight to Cairo court delayed by bad weather, according to the State News Agency. [Reuters] 
  • The head of security in Alexandria says the helicopter airlifting Morsi to court has not taken off from his prison yet. 
  • Osama Morsi, the son of the deposed president and a member of the defence team, has been banned from entering the court where his father's trial is due to take place.
  • Our correspondent is reporting clashes between Pro-Morsi protesters and security forces in Cairo's Nasr City district.
  • Deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has arrived at the Cairo police academy for his court trial. He was airlifted by helicopter, State media reports. 




    Click here:

  • Egypt's Mursi on trial for inciting violence relating to deaths of protesters

    Deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is due to stand trial on Wednesday for the incitement of violence relating to the deaths of protesters outside the presidential palace, during clashes in December 2012.

    The trial is set to take place at Cairo's police academy.

    In 2013, A state prosecutor charged Morsi and 14 other Brotherhood members with "committing acts of violence, and inciting killing and thuggery", the state news agency reported.

    The charges relate to violence in which around a dozen people were killed outside the presidential palace in December 2012, after Morsi had ignited protesters' rage with a decree that expanded his powers.

    The charges against Morsi include inciting his followers and assistants to commit crimes of premeditated murder and use violence and thuggery.

    At least 900 people, most of them Morsi supporters, were killed in August 2013 after the authorities smashed two protest camps set up by Morsi's supporters in Cairo. [Reuters]
  • Several kidnapped in Sinai

    An Egyptian labour ministry official and three trade union activists were kidnapped in the Sinai on Tuesday, the ministry said, and police are investigating whether militants are behind the abduction.

    In Cairo, assailants threw a bomb and opened fire on a small traffic police station without causing casualties, security officials said.

    It was the latest in a string of attacks on security forces following the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

    Much of the violence has taken place in Sinai, where the officials were abducted while en route to a conference in the southern resort town of Sharm  El-Sheikh.

    Police found their abandoned car near the resort, labour ministry spokesman Alaa el-Din Mohamed told AFP news agency. [AFP]
  • Qatar based TV cleric urges boycott of Egypt's referendum

    A famous pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV cleric based in Qatar issued a religious edict on Tuesday saying it is forbidden to vote in Egypt's constitutional referendum because it gives legitimacy to Cairo's new leadership.

    Egyptian cleric Youssef el-Qaradawi issued a fatwa, or religious edict, a day before Egyptians abroad are set to vote on the draft charter. 

    Of Egypt's roughly 681,000 registered voters abroad, about 42,000 are based in Qatar.

    El-Qaradawi, said that participating in the upcoming referendum constitutes a continuation of injustice and oppression.

    "I see that participation in the constitutional referendum and contributing in any way that strengthens this coup authority, or gives it legitimacy, or prolongs its existence... is an act forbidden religiously,'' he said in his fatwa text. [AP]
  • Sigrid Kaag is the joint mission coordinator for the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

    Kaag said this first shipment indicates that progress is being made.

  • Egypt bars Canadian Shias from entering

    Egypt stopped 61 Canadian Shia Muslim pilgrims from entering the country and decided to hold them at Cairo airport until their onward flight, security officials said on Sunday.

    The Canadians landed in Egypt from Iraq to complete a pilgrimage to Shia sites in the region, but were kept out on the orders of security authorities, said airport security officials who gave no further explanation. 

    Canadians are usually allowed into Egypt with a visa bought upon arrival. A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Ottawa would react later on Sunday.

    The government of Egypt, an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation, has long been criticised for discriminating against the country's small Shia community. Egypt's official Islamic establishment has previously warned against the spread of Shia beliefs. 

    The US State Department's religious freedom report for 2012 said the government "continued to harass Shi'ites".

    In June, four Egyptian Shi'ites were beaten to death by a mob, a lynching blamed partly on sectarian passions whipped up by ultra-orthodox Salafist Muslim allies of President Mohamed
    Mursi, who was deposed by the army a few weeks later. [Reuters]
  • Egypt court hands suspended sentences to 12 activists

    An Egyptian court on Sunday gave suspended one-year sentences to 12 activists including youth leaders of the 2011 uprising for an attack on a former presidential candidate's headquarters.

    Those sentenced include Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mona Seif, prominent youth activists known for their leading role in the revolt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

    They were convicted of torching and destroying the election campaign headquarters of Ahmed Shafiq in May 2012, but acquitted of looting the premises.

    They had been referred to trial under president Morsi. Shafiq had withdrawn the complaint against them at the time, saying he did not want to be used by Morsi as a pretext to crack down on secular dissidents.

    The jail sentences can be enforced within three years if the defendants are convicted in any other trials.

    Abdel Fattah is currently in detention for allegedly taking part in a violent and illegal protest in November. The date for his trial has yet to be determined.

    In late November, the military-installed government passed a law that bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations.

    In December, a court sentenced three prominent activists who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolt to three years in jail for organising an unlicensed protest.

    Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were convicted in the first such verdict against non-Islamist protesters since Morsi's ouster by the military in July.

    Some secular activists who had supported Morsi's overthrow now accuse the military-installed government of restricting freedoms. [AFP]

  • Egypt summons Qatari envoy after criticisms of crackdown 

    Egypt's foreign ministry summoned Qatar's ambassador on Saturday to complain about interference in its internal affairs after Doha criticised Cairo's crackdown on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

    Qatar said on Saturday that the decision to name the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation was "a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy" against demonstrators who have been staging frequent protests to call for Mursi's reinstatement.

    "Egypt reiterates that it will not allow any external party to interfere in its internal affairs under any name or justification," Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement.

    Any country that tried to interfere would have "the responsibility for the consequences," he added of the message given to Qatar's ambassador to Cairo, Saif Moqadam Al-Boenain after the envoy was called in on Saturday.

    [Reuters]

    by nadine.cheaib edited by Philippa Stewart 1/5/2014 1:24:35 PM
  • Egypt's interim president on Sunday made a rare visit to see the pontiff of the nation's Orthodox Christians at St. Mark's Cathedral, the papal seat in central Cairo, according to a brief statement by the church.

    The highly symbolic visit to Pope Tawadros II by Adly Mansour was made ahead of the Coptic Christmas, which falls on Tuesday. [AP]


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    Alaa Abdel Fattah and his sister, Mona, who are both two prominent activists who played a big role in the 2011 revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, have both each received a suspended year in prison sentence for allegedly burning down the electoral campaign headquarters of former presidential candidate and Mubarak, Ahmed Shafik, during elections in May 2012.

    Local media reported in June 2012 that Shafiq has relinquished the lawsuit,
     saying that he won't be “a stick to hit revolutionaries."
  • A bomb has exploded under an armoured vehicle near the Egyptian North Sinai town
    of Areesh, 
    killing one army soldier and wounding at least two others, security sources told Reuters news agency.

    Armed men planted the explosive device on Saturday on the road used by army vehicles in Egypt's campaign against militant groups in Sinai, the sources said.

    The bomb went off when the armoured vehicle drove over it.

    Egypt has struggled with security in the Sinai peninsula since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    Violence has surged in North Sinai, near the border with Israel, after the army overthrew the country's first elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, on July 3 last year.

    [Reuters]
  • Over a dozen of Egypt's most prominent human rights groups have accused the country's army-backed government of human rights violations, and condemned the recent arrests of activists.

    In a statement released on Saturday, 13 human rights groups documented the authorities' "violent tactics" used in the arrest and detention of Egyptians in the past weeks.

    "Security forces have returned to violent tactics, arresting activists by breaking into their homes without prior search warrants,'' said Rami Ghanem, head of the legal department at the organisation Arab Mind for Law, Freedoms and Human Rights.

    "It's very obvious that the detained are being systematically mistreated," Ghanem said.

    In what were the deadliest street battles in months, hundreds of anti-coup protesters clashed with police in Cairo and other Egyptian cities on Friday.

    The death toll from the latest clashes reached 17 people, a security official said on Saturday. Health Ministry Spokesman Mohammed Fathallah also said 62 people were injured in the violence. [AP]
  • Egypt's clashes on Friday were the deadliest in two months, as 17 people were killed across the country when security forces tried to violently disperse anti-coup protests.

    Seventeen police officers were also injured, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported, citing a senior security source which it did not name.

    Protesters died in Cairo, Alexandria, the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, south of Cairo in Fayoum and Minya in Upper Egypt, according to Al-Ahram.

    The police said it arrested more than 120 Brotherhood members possessing explosives and weapons.



  • A driverless bus careered down a Cairo street toward riot police, smashing into parked cars as the police scrambled to safety during a protest on Friday in defiance of a ban.

    The protesters, who were responding to a call to demonstrate by an alliance that backs ousted president Mohamed Morsi, had disengaged the handbrake on board the bus and turned the vehicle into a weapon.

    Police in an armoured van managed to reverse out of harm's way.

    It was one of many defiant acts across Egypt on Friday as Morsi's supporters rallied in spite of a ban on demonstrations a week after the military-installed government declared his Muslim Brotherhood movement a "terrorist organisation".

    "Egyptians don't know fear," said Houeida, a protester who came with her husband and four children, moments before the clashes erupted in the Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City.

    She brushed off the threat of a harsh prison term the Islamist protesters now face with the Brotherhood's designation as a terrorist group.

    The move signalled the interim government's intent to crush the 85-year-old movement with a membership estimated in the hundreds of thousands, and an even larger support base. [AFP]
    by Tamila Varshalomidze edited by Hamza Mohamed 1/3/2014 4:53:39 PM


  • At least six protesters have been killed as Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with police in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, medical and security sources said.

  • Two protesters were killed as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with police in Cairo and in cities across Egypt, medical and security sources said, in a show of defiance despite a state crackdown on the movement.

    Protesters opposed to the army's overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood have been holding daily demonstrations in Cairo and in other cities even since the army-backed government declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group last month, a move that upped the penalties for dissent.

    One demonstrator was shot dead by police in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia after a march set off from a mosque after midday prayers, medical sources said.

    In the rural province of Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, a protester died from a bullet wound to the head, local Health Ministry official Medhat Shukri told Reuters. 

    The violence took place less than two weeks before a vote on a new constitution, a milestone in the road map which the army-backed authorities say will pave the way for a return to democratic rule by next summer. [Reuters]

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  • An Egyptian security official says three explosions have targeted a military and police convoy in volatile northern Sinai, wounding four troops.

    The official says Friday's explosions, one of which was from a roadside bomb, hit near the town of Sheikh Zuweid, close to the border with the occupied Gaza Strip.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

    The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has seen a rise in attacks and suicide bombings by suspected Islamic and al-Qaeda-inspired armed fighters, especially after President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a popularly-backed coup in July. [AP]






  • Egyptian police found a murdered Swiss couple buried in the garden of their house in the Red Sea resort town of Hurgada, a security official told AFP news agency on Friday.

    The official said preliminary investigations revealed the two Swiss citizens, a man and his wife, were killed by the house's guard and two of his friends who wanted to rob the couple.

    He did not reveal the identity of the two killed, but said the couple has been living in Hurgada for a while and went missing a week ago.

    The corpses were transferred to Hurgada's general hospital. A local official at the hospital told AFP "the two corpses arrived at the morgue in a complete state of putrescence," without giving the identity of the two victims.

    Earlier on Friday, the Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the death of two Swiss citizens in Egypt, saying it did not have immediate details on their deaths, according to Switzerland's ATS news agency.

    Located on Egypt's eastern coast, the resort city of Hurgada is a prime tourist destination and has been so far spared the turmoil and violence following the popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. [AFP]
  • Inside Story - Egypt: An assault on free press?


  • Photo: EPA/ Ahmed Ashraf 

    Egypt authorities air what they claim is terrorist confession

    Egyptian authorities have produced what they say is a confession by the son of a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In a news conference on Thursday , the interior minister aired the recording said to be of Yahia Mongi, son of a Brotherhood lawmaker, in which he says he joined the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Champions of Jerusalem group.

    Mohammed Ibrahim said Mongi was part of a seven-member cell that carried out a suicide bombing of a provincial security headquarters last month. The Ansar took responsibility for the blast, as well as other attacks.

    The charge that the Brotherhood has links to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is central to the government's case for labelling the group, from which ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails, as a terrorist organisation. 

    The confession is the first purported piece of hard evidence produced by authorities to make the link.

    Human rights advocates say that police frequently use torture and other means of coercion to produce confessions, relying on them in lieu of other evidence to convict defendants in both
    ordinary criminal and security trials.

    The Brotherhood denies that it practices violence and accuses police of plotting the attacks to find a
    pretext for a heavier crackdown on its 
    members.

    [AP]

  • Inside Story - Egypt: Selective jusitice?

  • Egypt arrests seven over  Mansoura blast


    Photo: EPA/Ahmed Ashraf  

    Seven people, including the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, have been arrested in connection with a suicide bomb attack on a police station north of Cairo that killed 16 people last month, the interior minister said.

    The army-backed government listed the group as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of carrying out the attack, one of the worst Egypt has faced since the army deposed Islamist Mohamed Morsi in July following protests against his rule.

    The Brotherhood, which won five consecutive elections since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, denies any link to violence. A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the December 24 attack in Mansoura.

    "Seven of the accused have been arrested, most prominent is Yehya Almongi Saad al-Huseini who is the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader," Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said.

    Ibrahim also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of opening up lines of communication with the group Hamas in neighbouring Gaza and receiving military training from them. He accused Hamas of involvement in various attacks in Egypt in recent months, without giving details.

    Hamas, founded in 1987, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    A spokesman from Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied the accusations and called it an "attempt to mislead the Egyptian public and export the internal Egyptian crisis".

    [Reuters]

     



  • A woman carries a cooking gas canister on her head as she walks with her son in front of banners urging participation in the upcoming referendum in downtown Cairo. The Egyptian government is likely to call a presidential election before the referendum on a new draft constitution. [Reuters]
  • An Egyptian judge says January 28 has been set as opening day for the third
    trial of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, this one on 
    charges of
    organizing prison breaks with the help of foreign militants.


    Judge Medhat
    Idriss says the Cairo Appeals Court set the date Thursday. 
    The jailbreaks
    took place during the January 2011 uprising against Morsi's 
    predecessor,
    autocrat Hosni Mubarak.


    Morsi was jailed in Cairo at the time and escaped
    with more than 30 
    others, while more than 20,000 inmates escaped from prisons
    across Egypt, 
    including Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas
    members.


    Morsi faces three trials on various charges, most of which carry the
    death 
    penalty, from conspiring with foreign groups to inciting violence that
    led to 
    the killings of protesters during his year in power. [AP]

  • Abla Fahita (left), a satirist puppet that has gained popularity for its off-beat expressions in mocking developments in Egypt, is suspected by a self-proclaimed conspiracy-theorist for allegedly using an online advert to send coded messages about an upcoming attack by the Muslim Brotherhood. A complaint filed by Ahmed "Spider"  on the matter, and investigated by the public prosecutor has drawn wide sarcasm across social media. [Picture from the puppet's Facebook page]


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