Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1131, 17 - 23 January
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1131, 17 - 23 January

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

SCC ruling postponed
AMID tight security, the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) decided on Tuesday to postpone its ruling regarding the legality of the Constituent Assembly until 3 February. The ruling of the SCC created heated legal debate over the fate of the constitution should the SCC rule that the formation of the assembly which drafted the constitution was illegal.
During the same session, the SCC referred the lawsuit calling for dissolving the Shura Council — now assuming legislative powers until the election of a new parliament — to the delegates authority. On 22 November, President Mohamed Morsi issued a constitutional declaration, immunising the Shura Council from dissolution. However, with the endorsement of the new constitution, the constitutional declaration was declared null and void.
Outside the SCC, dozens of protesters representing civil revolutionary forces gathered Monday to protect judges from possible disturbances. Among the participants were the 6 April activist youth movement, the Free Egyptians Party and the Egyptian Popular Current.
Last month, the SCC was besieged by Islamists who protested against any would-be politicised ruling, leading to dissolving the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly. The SCC announced it would freeze all its sessions indefinitely. It was only after the endorsement of the constitution that the protesters decided to end their sit-in.

EU in awe
TO STRENGTHEN ties between Egypt and the European Union, President Mohamed Morsi met on Sunday Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council who visited Cairo from 13 to 15 January, reports Mona El-Fiqi.
The two leaders discussed the political and economic situation in Egypt particularly after the passage of the new constitution. “I told President Morsi that you have an extraordinary task with the other political and social forces to push for achieving a national dialogue. We wish you success,” Rompuy said.
Intensifying the relationship between Egypt and the European Union was at the forefront of issues being discussed as well as developments in the region, in particular Syria and Palestine and Israel relations. According to Rompuy, his visit aimed at keeping a steady flow of exchanges between representatives of Egypt and the European Union and building a new and more intense relationship which fits the new era.
In September Rompuy promised to give Egypt $5 billion in the form of grants and soft loans as financial assistance which has not been yet delivered. During his meeting with Morsi, Rompuy asserted, “we still pledge the $5 billion grant for 2012/2013 in support of Egypt’s democratic transition.” The money is to be disbursed through the EU’s financial institutions.
Moreover, the two discussed the possibility of establishing a free trade zone between Egypt and the 27-nation bloc since the EU is the first trading partner with Egypt.
Talks also included the EU countries’ efforts to facilitate the return of Egypt’s assets belonging to the ousted president Hosni Mubarak and more than 18 former officials frozen in EU banks.
In preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections, Rompuy said that the EU is ready to send an electoral observer mission to Egypt but Morsi did not comment.
Rompuy expressed the EU’s appreciation of Egypt’s democratic transition. “We in Europe were impressed by its start. From the other side of the Mediterranean, we witnessed in awe and admiration how, across the Arab world, citizens filled streets and public squares, how young men and women openly called for democracy, freedom of speech and expression and for governments that would bring justice, development and jobs to all.”

Egyptian lawyer sentenced
AHMED Al-Gizawi, an Egyptian human rights lawyer, was sentenced to five years in jail and 300 lashes by a court in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, reports Doaa El-Bey.
Al-Gizawi was accused of smuggling prohibited pharmaceuticals into the kingdom last April. Human rights activists claimed that Saudi authorities fabricated charges against him in retaliation for his criticism of the kingdom and its treatment of Egyptians.
Another Egyptian who was arrested in connection with the same case, Islam Mahmoud Bakr, was sentenced to six years in prison and 400 lashes, and a Saudi national, Badr bin Nasser, was jailed for two years and sentenced to 100 lashes.
Al-Gizawi was detained at Jeddah Airport after officials claimed they found anti-anxiety medication in his luggage. He had gone to Saudi Arabia to perform the omra, or lesser pilgrimage.
Two days before the sentencing, Al-Gizawi’s family submitted a petition to the Saudi king pleading for him to be pardoned.
The petition was submitted to Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular and Expatriate Affairs Ali Al-Esheri who sent it to the Egyptian Embassy in Riyadh. The embassy is supposed to send it to Saudi King Abdullah, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released Sunday.
The detention of Al-Gizawi sparked a diplomatic row between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and led to the brief withdrawal of the Saudi ambassador in Egypt.
His trial’s first session was held in July in which  Saudi prosecutors called for the death penalty.
While there were hopes that Al-Gizawi will be pardoned before or during President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to Saudi Arabia later this month, they were dashed after the sentence.

Anti-Brotherhoodisation protest
DOZENS of Endowments Ministry imams as well as members of the Independent Preachers Union staged a protest on Sunday against what they called the “Brotherhoodisation” of the ministry. They said they rejected the decisions taken by Talaat Afifi, the minister of endowments, which they described as an attempt to replace the ministry’s officials with those of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The chairman of the Independent Preachers Union Mohamed Al-Bastawisi said that the imams are being replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood. “They are appointed on the basis of favouritism and not efficiency,” Al-Bastawisi said.
Deputy Chairman of the Endowments Ministry Gamal Abdel-Sattar denied what he called rumours about the Brotherhoodisation or Salafisation of the ministry.
“The case is merely that the minister of endowments issued a decision stating that the leadership positions within the ministry will not be automatically renewed, and hence they will be taken through a competition regardless of their affiliation,” Abdel-Sattar said.
Salama Abdel-Kawi, the ministry spokesperson, said neither the Brotherhood nor any other Islamist force was trying to control the ministry. “The new regulation is not to renew terminated contracts,” Abdel-Kawi said.

Three out of 10
BODIES of two sailors from the Zamzam fishing boat were discovered on Monday, bringing the total number of bodies pulled out of the sea to three out of a 10-man crew. The Zamzam sank last week off Ras Al-Hekma Bay, about 85 kilometres east of Marsa Matrouh, due to bad weather conditions.
The bodies were identified as Mohamed Selim Ibrahim Abu Samra, a 31-year-old boat captain, Gaber Farag Hassan, 25, and Ahmed Ismail, 37.
Rescue teams are continuing the search for the rest of the crew. Earlier last week, Armed Forces spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi ordered two helicopters, a C-130 aircraft and a warship from the Alexandria marine base to be deployed for search and rescue efforts.

Release of 8 April officers
8 APRIL military officers who were kept in military prison for supporting the 2011 revolution have been released. They were imprisoned for taking part in protests supporting the revolution in 2011; 13 of them were sentenced to 10 years before the sentence was reduced to three years.
The release of the remaining officers came as a surprise for them and their families. They included Captain Mohamed Wadie and Major Ahmed Shoman.
The mother of Wadie, Sanaa Saad confirmed that her son was released on Wednesday. Their release had been expected for some time because they had been taken to a hospital in Maadi for what was described as “psychological rehabilitation”.
The 8 April officers include around 30 military officers who took part in protests in support of the revolution in April, May and November. Most of them took part in a protest on 8 April 2011 dubbed “The Friday of Trial and Cleansing”.

Regulation to merge unions
STUDENT Unions of private universities held a press conference on Tuesday at the New Cairo Campus of the American University in Cairo in which they rejected the new regulations for the unions approved by the cabinet last week.
The students’ unions have reportedly announced a draft of another regulation for the students’ unions of private universities to organise their work, and it was scheduled to be announced during their conference.
“The students of private universities refuse the newly-approved student union regulations for private universities,” Mohamed Al-Gazzar, secretary of the student union of The Russian University, said.
Al-Gazzar said their rejection came after the student unions of private universities were represented by only two representatives in the student unions of Egypt. Moreover, neither has the right to vote, forcing the unions of private universities to refuse to recognise Egypt’s students unions.
Compiled by Ahmed Morsy

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