Friday,24 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1285, (3 - 9 March 2016)
Friday,24 November, 2017
Issue 1285, (3 - 9 March 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Newsreel

Al-Ahram Weekly

Congress to label Brotherhood ‘terrorist group’

EGYPT has welcomed a move by the US Congress Judiciary Committee to label the Muslim Brotherhood a “foreign terrorist organisation”.

“The move shows that the entire world has started seeing Egypt’s point of view,” presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said.

On Wednesday, a Republican-led House Committee approved the legislation. The legislation, submitted in late 2015, cites multiple countries who have declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

If passed and made into law, the US would have to deny admittance to non-US citizens who have ties to the Brotherhood.

Egypt declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in late 2013, and many of its leading figures, including ousted president Mohamed Morsi, are currently being tried on multiple terror-related charges. (see Editorial p.16)

 

Battle for the streets

“KINDLY avoid the State Council located in Charles de Gaulle in Giza due to the presence of a crowd there,” Uber Cairo said in an SMS sent to their drivers on Saturday morning.

The San Francisco-based company’s text messages are its latest effort in a battle of survival against licenced taxi drivers.

Throughout the past weeks, licenced taxi drivers have been holding weekly protests against both Uber and Careem, another Dubai-based company providing a similar transportation service in the Middle East.

Taxi drivers accuse both companies of illegally stealing their livelihood and creating strife between taxi drivers and passengers.

“I’m calling on the president and the prime minister to intervene and ban them,” yelled a middle-aged taxi driver at a press conference hosted by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights at the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo in early February.

Taxi drivers gathered to protest against the increasingly popular Uber and Careem applications, even taking a swipe at the journalists who attended the conference, accusing them of “vilifying” and defaming them.

But amid the air of anger, one driver said in a low voice, “I understand there is a need for us to improve our service. They want us to wear suits? We’ll wear suits. We are not all bad. We do not all rip off our customers using taxi metres. We just want to live.”

The hashtag “#taxi in Egypt” was launched on social media in early February to share experiences people had with licenced taxis. Many said they are increasingly opting for Uber and Careem, complaining that many taxi drivers rig their metres to “rip off passengers”.

During the press conference, a group of taxi drivers launched an initiative “We Are the Taxi” which aims to polish their image and promote the idea that they are the only legitimate cab service.

This tug of war is not expected to end anytime soon, with other players set to join Uber and Careem in the competition for the streets.

The all-Egyptian ride-sharing company Osta, or The Ace, is set to be launched on 3 March.

 

TV presenter gets jail

CONTROVERSIAL TV presenter Reham Said has been given up to six months in jail for defaming a sexual assault victim on her TV show last year. Said was also fined LE10,000.

The Giza Court of Misdemeanors also sentenced Said to a year in jail for “violating the personal freedoms” of the female student, Somaya Tarek. Judges set bail for the TV presenter at LE15,000. Said can appeal both sentences.

The court also ordered the acquittal of other defendants in the case referred to in the media as “The Mall Girl”.

The incident stems back to an episode carried by Said on her popular evening show “Sabaya Al-Kheir” on 27 October 2015, when Said taunted her guest Tarek for “dressing indecently” and insinuated that she was to blame for a sexual assault by a man at a Cairo mall.

Said also uploaded unrelated personal photos of the victim from her personal mobile phone and posted them online to back her argument that “indecency invited the assault”.

After the show and its presenter earned widespread public outrage, the TV station Al-Nahar, which syndicates “Sabaya Al-Kheir” took Said off the air.

Tarek later filed a legal complaint against Said and Alaa Al-Kahki, the owner of the privately owned Al-Nahar.

In November 2015, Tarek’s attacker received a one-month jail sentence that was reduced on appeal in February 2016 to two weeks.

 

6 April coordinator jailed

THE COORDINATOR of the 6 April activist youth movement has been sentenced to three years and fined LE500 on charges of illegally protesting and joining a banned group.

Amr Ali, who was arrested in September 2015, can still appeal the verdict handed down on Monday by the Cairo Court of Misdemeanors.

Ali was elected the 6 April coordinator in October 2013, succeeding its founder and long-time coordinator Ahmed Maher, who is currently serving a three-year jail term on charges of illegal protesting.

In April 2014, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned all activities of the group.

The 6 April youth movement was formed in 2008 to support a strike by textile workers in the industrial city of Mahalla. The strike was a milestone in the mobilisation of activists prior to the 25 January 2011 Revolution.

Since the 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi as president, the movement, which opposes both the Muslim Brotherhood and the post-Morsi government, has been denounced by many Egyptian media outlets.

Ever since the court banned the group’s activities, many of its members have been detained and questioned on charges of joining an “illegal group”.

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