19 - 25 August 1999
Issue No. 443
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Islamists in British custody
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Profile Travel Living Sports Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
THE CUSTODY of two Egyptians held in London on suspicion of involvement in last year's bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania was extended by a British court on Monday. The United States is seeking the extradition of the two men, Ibrahim Hussein Abdel-Hadi Eidarous and Adel Mohamed Abdel-Meguid Bari, to face charges of conspiracy to murder in the bombings which took place in August 1998, killing a total of 226 people. Both men are alleged to be members of the militant Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which is said to have connections with Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. The United States is also seeking the extradition of Saudi businessman Khalid Al-Fawwaz, who has been held in a British prison after appearing in court last month. His hearing was adjourned to 4 September. Eidarous and Bari, who have been in custody since their arrest on 11 July, were remanded until 9 September, the deadline for the US to submit a formal extradition request.
TOUGH action against prohibited medication was followed up this week with a record seizure of 3,000 bottles of smuggled medicine worth LE250,000. Airport customs officials said they found the medicines hidden inside sports shoes and secret compartments in the baggage of two Egyptians who had arrived from Saudi Arabia. The bust came one week after Health Minister Ismail Sallam took strong action against imported drugs, restricting the registration of over 370 medicines and 170 food supplements. The confiscated medicines are not available on the local market because of government restrictions. They included various antibiotics and medication for diabetes, heart and liver diseases as well as blood pressure-related illnesses.
A pharmacist's wrath
A FEMALE pharmacist allegedly attacked three government inspectors as they attempted to confiscate smuggled Viagra pills from her pharmacy. During a routine inspection in the Montazah district of Alexandria, large quantities of Viagra and assorted aphrodisiacs were found by inspectors. While they were busy documenting the evidence, the inspectors claim the pharmacist closed the door of the pharmacy, started beating all three of them and attempted to tear up their report. People on the street intervened, saving the inspectors from the pharmacist's wrath.
IT WAS a busy week for law enforcement officers all over the country. Starting in Giza, five video-game shops were closed. Police forces raided the shops which were not legally registered and found 45 students playing video games for LE2 an hour. The shops were promptly shut down and the owners are being questioned by prosecution officials. In Alexandria, 6,000 illegally copied video and cassette tapes were confiscated. In Ismailia, 220 tons of substandard salt were destroyed. Along the northern coast, police attempted to bring vacationers back into line with a disciplinary inspection of the summer resort of Marina. The result was the confiscation of 22 unlicensed beach buggies. And on the roads, 98 motorists were given traffic tickets. Back at Cairo Airport, customs officials caught a man trying to smuggle LE70,000 worth of mobile phone spare parts. The man, who arrived on Sunday from Qatar, had hidden 700 parts in tea boxes. Even more blatant was the attempt by a Chinese national to smuggle 45 kilograms of precious stones and pearls, 3,000 bed sheets, ties, plastic fans and Chinese pajamas into the country, hiding them in his luggage.
LAST WEEK'S eclipse, which had most Egyptians sheltering in their homes for fear of the natural phenomenon's alleged physical harm, continued to make news, albeit of a considerably less dramatic effect. First was the announcement by the Helwan Observatory that, contrary to expectations that infra-red and ultra-violet rays would increase for the duration of the eclipse, it was noted that, in fact, the rays decreased drastically, reducing any possibility of skin damage. Second was the duplicity of a construction worker who took advantage of the fact that people were either hiding in their homes or busy with the eclipse prayer to steal a body from a cemetery. Newspapers reported that in the Nile town of Mansura, the keeper of a cemetery discovered the disappearance of a corpse on his return from his indoor shelter during the eclipse. Investigations resulted in the arrest of 34-year-old El-Husseini Yehia before he was able to sell the body to medical students. He was ordered to return the body to the grave.