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Egypt Media Roundup (April 17)

[Egyptian-American Aya Hegazy. Photo from Aswat Masriya.] [Egyptian-American Aya Hegazy. Photo from Aswat Masriya.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Egypt and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Egypt Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to egypt@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] 

Palm Sunday Bombings

Interior Ministry announces identity of bomber involved in Alexandria Palm Sunday church attack Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced the identity of one of the suicide bombers involved in the Palm Sunday church attacks on Wednesday. 

Interior Ministry identifies Tanta church suicide bomber, 3 alleged accomplices Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced it had identified the suicide bomber involved in the attack on St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta during Palm Sunday prayers, which resulted in the deaths of at least twenty-eight people.

Egypt’s prosecution detains 3 suspects in church bombing investigation Egypt’s prosecution detained three alleged members of a terrorist cell on Sunday as part of investigations into the bombing of two churches on Palm Sunday that left dozens killed and injured.

Parliamentary session on Palm Sunday bombings canceled following Sisi’s statements A public hearing scheduled following the two Palm Sunday bombings targeting Coptic churches, which would have seen the ministers of justice and interior appear before Parliament, was canceled on Monday by Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal. 

Palm Sunday bombings: A security failure and the Islamic State’s expansion into the mainland The coordinated Palm Sunday church bombings targeting Coptic Christians that killed nearly 50 people in Tanta and Alexandria and were claimed by the Islamic State-affiliated Province of Sinai, have opened at least two pressing questions.

From the scenes of the Palm Sunday bombings in Tanta and Alexandria Palm Sunday began with the promise of religious festivities, communion and jubilation in Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox churches, but ended with another kind of service: the funerals for those killed in two explosions in distant Egyptian cities.

Sectarian violence renewed in Minya as Christians brace for Easter celebrations Coptic Christians attacked during Maundy Thursday prayers in Koum al-Loufy, eyewitnesses report

Egypt's military holds Easter service for victims of Palm Sunday bombings The Egyptian armed forces held Easter prayer services on Saturday for those injured in the Palm Sunday bombings and their families, according to armed forces spokesman Tamer al-Refai

Egyptian army to oversee restoration of churches targeted on Palm Sunday Egypt's Armed Forces will pay for and oversee the restoration of the two Egyptian churches in Tanta and Alexandria that were targeted by deadly suicide bombings on Palm Sunday, army spokesman Tamer al-Refai announced on Thursday.

Political Rights

Aya Hegazy and Belady Foundation staff acquitted after more than 2 years in detention Dual Egyptian-US citizen Aya Hegazy and seven others were acquitted by Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday of charges stemming from their work at the Belady Foundation for Street Children, the nongovernmental organization Hegazy co-founded with her husband.

Another 45 days: The endless uncertainty of pre-trial detention in Egyptian prisons Sabry has spent two years in prison on terrorism charges pending trial. His detention should legally end ‪on 16 April, but will he get out?

Director of Hisham Mubarak Law Center released on bail in NGO case Director of Egypt’s Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Mostafa al-Hassan, was released Thursday on 20,000 LE bail, according to his lawyer Taher Abul Nasr.

Rights lawyer jailed for 10 years, issued 5-year social media ban Alexandria-based rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan was sentenced to ten years in prison on accusations of insulting the president, the misuse of social media and inciting violence.

Authorities suspend Monday’s issue of Al-Bawaba newspaper Egypt’s authorities suspended Monday’s issue of the privately owned Al-Bawaba newspaper after it published a front-page editorial blaming the Interior Ministry for the two Palm Sunday bombings targeting churches in Tanta and Alexandria, the newspaper announced on Sunday.

Egypt’s media in a state of emergency Several senior state officials called for greater restrictions on Egypt’s media after the coordinated bombings on Palm Sunday that targeted the churches of St. George in Tanta and St. Mark in Alexandria, killing forty-five people and injuring more than 120 others.

19-year-old prisoner dies in Alexandria hospital Karim Medhat, a prisoner at Borg al-Arab prison who suffered from a brain tumor and deteriorating health conditions over the last ten days, died on Thursday morning, according to his lawyer Mohamed Hafez.

Policeman accused of shooting civilian in Ain Shams detained pending trial An enlisted police officer accused of shooting dead a civilian while on duty in Cairo’s Ain Shams neighborhood has been detained pending trial.

Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib al-Adly sentenced to 7 years in prison for corruption A Cairo criminal court sentenced Interior Minister under President Hosni Mubarak, Habib al-Adly, to seven years in prison for squandering public funds during his time in office, subject to appeal.

Egypt military court sentences 70 Morsi supporters to prison on 2013 violence charges An Egyptian military court has sentenced five supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi's to fifteen years in prison and sixty-five others to life sentences in absentia after they were convicted of committing a number of violent crimes in Minya in 2013 shortly after Morsi’s ouster.

Government continues attempts to extend control over mosques The Endowments Ministry issued a decree on 5 April relieving “extremist imams” of their duties, only few days before President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi renewed calls for “reforming religious discourse” in the wake of the two bombings targeting churches during Coptic Christian celebrations on Palm Sunday.

Egypt's State Council presents parliament with report rejecting judicial councils law The Egyptian State Council’s legislative department has issued a formal report to parliament rejecting proposed amendments to the judicial authority law that would give the president more powers in picking the heads of the country’s top judicial councils.

Cabinet approves bill regulating ride service market Egypt’s Cabinet has approved a bill to regulate the fast-growing ride service market, which has been operating without regulatory measures allowing companies to hire drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Economy

How would activating Emergency Law impact Egypt's already embattled tourist industry? After President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's decision to enforce a three-month state of emergency in wake of the deadly twin attack on Egypt churches, a wave of concern was sparked about whether this decision will weigh badly on the tourism industry, particularly in 2017 when positive signs for the industry's revival started to show after six years of hardship.

Incoming tourists exceed targeted rate by 15% during Q1: Minister Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said the number of incoming tourists during the first quarter of 2017 was ten to fifteen percent higher than the targeted rate.

Egypt's trade deficit down 37% year-on-year in Jan: CAPMAS Egypt's trade deficit dropped 37.1 percent in January compared to the same month in 2016, reaching 2.34 billion USD, the state statistics body CAPMAS announced on Tuesday.

Foreign Relations

Egypt votes in favor of UN resolution on Syria chemical weapons attack Egypt voted on Wednesday in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution presented by a number of countries, including the US, UK and France, to condemn a recent chemical weapons attack in Syria. The resolution obliges Syria to comply with recommendations from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Handshake between king and president points to waning tensions Some signals suggest a possible de-escalation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose usually tight relations have recently witnessed turbulence.

'Egypt and Russia to sign contract for Dabaa nuclear power station very soon,' says MP  Alaa Salaam, the secretary-general of the Egyptian parliament's Environment and Energy Committee, said in a statement on Saturday that Egypt and Russia are close to signing the final contract on the construction of Dabaa nuclear power plant northwest of Cairo.

HRW calls on Egypt for information on 4 Palestinians missing for 20 months Human Rights Watch called on Egyptian authorities, in a statement posted on Thursday, to immediately disclose information pertaining to the whereabouts and conditions of four Palestinian men from Gaza who went missing after crossing the border into North Sinai in August 2015.

Israel closes Taba crossing, Islamic State fires rocket at settlement The Israeli government said it would close the Taba crossing linking the occupied territories to Egypt’s Sinai until 18 April, following explosions in two major churches in Egypt on Sunday that killed forty-five people and injured over 100 others.

US defence secretary Jim Mattis to visit Egypt on Wednesday, commemorate fallen Egyptian soldiers: Pentagon US defense secretary Jim Mattis will visit Egypt on Wednesday 19 April to discuss regional security issues and participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Cairo's Unknown Soldier Memorial in honor of fallen Egyptian soldiers, according to a statement published on the Pentagon's official website on Friday.

Cairo denies backing maintenance of UN sanctions against Khartoum over Darfur Egypt's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid denied Thursday evening recent reports suggesting that Cairo backs maintaining twelve-year-old sanctions against Khartoum over Darfur.

Domestic Security

Parliament approves Emergency Law amendment, permitting indefinite detention A three-month state of emergency and an amendment to the Emergency Law were approved by Parliament in the legislative body’s Tuesday session, after the Cabinet and presidency officially declared the exceptional rule of law on Monday, and Parliament’s legislative committee discussed the amendment proposed by Alliance to Support Egypt MP Tharwat Bekhit earlier in the day.

Parliament approves amendments to criminal procedures, discusses Tiran and Sanafir agreement During its first session since two Palm Sunday bombings killed an estimated forty-give Coptic worshipers, Parliament approved amendments to Egypt’s Criminal Procedures Code. The amendments eliminate some standard legal procedures, which Parliament claims will allow for swifter prosecution in terrorism-related cases.

Newly formed council will direct anti-terror measures in Egypt: Presidency Egypt's newly formed Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism will be tasked with issuing "decisions and procedures" to combat terrorism in accordance with a national strategy to fight the phenomenon, the presidency announced on Tuesday.

What Sisi can and can’t do under a state of emergency President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi emerged from a National Defense Council meeting late Sunday night and spoke to the nation in a televised address. Among the declarations Egypt’s president announced in a brief statement that tilted between gestures toward national unity and external threats was his intention to declare a three-month national state of emergency.

From Jadaliyya Egypt

Two Years Without Trial in Max Security: Will the Scorpion Release Sabry on 16 April? In August 2016, Sabry’s brother sprayed an image of Sabry’s face and bandaged limbs, clasped between the claws of an ominous scorpion, onto a wall in downtown Cairo. Next to it was a piece of text that began: “It’s the third Eid that Sabry is spending in prison without having done anything wrong or against the law...” With this graffiti, he publicly appealed to the State for Sabry's freedom.

Arabic

تسلسل زمني محدث لوقائع الأحد الدامي في مصر  A timeline of how Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria unfolded, killing at least forty-three people and injuring more than hundred others.

مكتفيًا بما قاله الرئيس: البرلمان يتراجع عن استدعاء وزيري الداخلية والعدل  Parliamentary Speaker Abdel-Aal cancels interpellations of Interior and Justice Ministers following Palm Sunday attacks.

بالأسماء.. مطرانية طنطا تنشر القائمة الأولى لشهداء كنيسة مارجرجس: 22 شهيدا  Tanta’s archbishopric publishes a list of twenty-two victims of Palm Sunday bombings on its Facebook page.

)ما تداعيات إعلان حالة الطوارئ؟ (س وج  Almasry Alyoum discusses the effects of the state of emergency on Egyptians.

البرلمان يقر حزمة تعديلات قانونية لتسريع محاكمات الإرهاب  Egyptian Parliament approves amendments to Criminal Procedure Code, Terrorist Entities Law and Protest law to speed up terrorism trials.

بعد تصريحات ''عبدالعال'': اعرف عقوبة الاستخدام السيء لمواقع التواصل  Egypt’s state of emergency will impose a blanket censorship on media outlets and social media, leaving many worried about the penalties against misuse of media under the emergency system.

السيسي بعد تفجير الكنيستين: القضاء على القضاء  Experts say president Sisi’s response to terrorist attacks highlights the failure of the Egyptian state to address the continued lax security measures.

المشانق ما زالت منصوبة.. تنفيذ 44 حكم إعدام في مصر عام 2016 According to Amnesty International report Egypt executed forty-four people and sentenced over 237 people to death in 2016, raising alarm about the dramatic rise in executions.

التنظيمات المسلحة من الصحراء إلى المدن: استراتيجيات مختلفة  Terrorist operations have evolved in mainland Egypt lately, leaving the Egyptian state in an “open war” against terrorism. 

»!الإرهاب في «وادي النيل»: أبعد من اختراق «داعشي  The twin Palm Sunday bombings raised concerns about the implications of the strategic shift in terrorist tactics led by Islamic State militants in mainland Egypt as its new battleground.

إعلان الطوارئ ليس حلا، بل سترا على فشل  Khaled Fahmy writes about how the State of emergency in Egypt is part of the problem and not the solution to combat terrorism. 

If you prefer, email your comments to info@jadaliyya.com.

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