Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013

Ahram Weekly

Newsreel

Al-Ahram Weekly

Abducted duo released

AFTER four days, Egyptian kidnappers released Israeli Amir Hassan and Norwegian Ingvild Selvik who were abducted in Sinai on Tuesday.

The Norwegian woman and the Israeli man, from Nazareth, were held in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula since Friday, and were released following negotiations mediated by Bedouin leaders between authorities and the group that seized the tourists four days ago, security sources said on Tuesday.

The two had been kidnapped on Friday while driving between the resort towns of Dahab and Taba on the Red Sea coast. The sources said the kidnappers’ aim was to put pressure on Egyptian authorities to release two of their relatives held for alleged drug dealing. The police had agreed to review the case.

Bedouin kidnappers have captured tourists in the past to push for the release of fellow tribesmen from jail. Earlier this month kidnappers briefly seized the country manager of US oil major ExxonMobil and his wife. Two American female tourists were kidnapped in Sinai in February last year but Egyptian authorities negotiated their release a few hours later.

 

MIU students revolt

CLASHES erupted between Misr International University (MIU) students and bodyguards hired by the university when students attempted to enter the campus on Tuesday. Rubber bullets, rocks and fire extinguishers were used to disperse the students causing the injury of more than 40 students who were hit by bird-shots and rocks.

MIU students held a 15-day sit-in on campus, calling for reversing the expulsion of six students, better road safety, and the freedom to protest.

The students have been calling on the university administration to build a pedestrian bridge in front of the campus. However, the administration rejected the students’ requests, explaining that it does not have the authority to build a bridge.

Protests were sparked by several road accidents involving students at the university. Sixteen students were suspended pending an investigation, and six were expelled.

The MIU administration, on Monday, announced the cancellation of Tuesday’s classes in a statement sent to students via e-mail. However, following Tuesday’s escalation, the university’s administration announced that classes will be suspended indefinitely.

 

Journalism in between

THE COMMITTEE called Defending the Independence of the Press held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the repeated attacks on journalists. Prior to the conference a protest rally was held in solidarity with journalists in all news organisations who have been subjected to attacks while performing their duty.

Moreover, a campaign of intimidation and incitement has been built up against the media, the Press Syndicate issued a statement on Monday.

The syndicate pointed to remarks made by President Mohamed Morsi following violent clashes in Muqattam on Friday, claiming that it was “clearly evident” that the president’s address contained “explicit threats” against the media, in a practice the syndicate said was regularly used before the 25 January Revolution.

The syndicate said journalists had recently been subjected to attacks resulting in injuries and deaths while carrying out their duties.

The syndicate strongly condemned violence against the media, saying that freedom of the press was a “non-negotiable” right for all Egyptians.

The Association for the Freedom of Thought and Expression said it received 11 complaints from journalists attacked in Friday’s clashes, which left over 200 people injured.

 

Mahmoud case goes elsewhere

THE ADMINISTRATIVE Court ruled on Tuesday that the case against President Mohamed Morsi’s dismissal of Mubarak-era prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud was outside its jurisdiction.

The court has referred the case to Cairo’s Court of Cassation that it says has jurisdiction over appeals against cases associated with members of the judiciary.

The case seeks to revoke Morsi’s decision on the grounds that the removal of Abdel-Meguid was unconstitutional, unlawful and had bypassed the judiciary. It also demands the removal of the Morsi-appointed Prosecutor-general Talaat Abdallah.

Under the Egyptian legal system, it is by judicial decree that the prosecutor-general can be dismissed; the president is not given that authority to do so.

President Morsi, however, dismissed the prosecutor-general within the context of a legislative void, via a highly controversial constitutional declaration he issued in November 2012.

The removal of the prosecutor-general had sparked uproar from Egypt’s opposition, with critics arguing that by the decree Morsi had granted himself both executive and legislative power.

The dismissal of Abdallah has become one of the major demands of Egypt’s opposition forces.

 

Al-Banna passes away

CONSTITUTIONAL expert Atef Al-Banna passed away on Tuesday after a three-month battle with heart disease.

Al-Banna was a constitutional law professor at Cairo University and a former member of the Wafd liberal party’s higher committee. He was on the 10-panel committee that prepared the constitutional declaration which governed Egypt for 18 months after the revolution.

 

Minority rights

AS PART of the debates held by Coptic groups on the status of Copts and citizenry rights under the current regime, the Mideast Freedom Forum (MFF) plans to host a conference on citizenry and minorities at its headquarters on 30 and 31 March, Michael Adel reports.

MFF director Magdi Khalil said that the conference will be the largest ever in Egypt on this particular topic. Nearly 70 politicians and researchers will take part in the conference, which will be moderated by political analysts Osama Al-Ghazali Harb and Kamal Mogheith. Papers discussed in the conference will be compiled in two volumes in Arabic and English.

The conference will involve eight sessions, focussing on matters such as political participation by minorities, the status of minorities in the constitution, religious freedom, the status of non-Muslims, religious discrimination, the economic status of minorities, the status of women and the problems faced by minorities since the Muslim Brotherhood took power.

Representatives from the Coptic, Bahaai, Nubian and Sinai communities will attend the meeting, along with women’s rights activists.

Attacks on minorities have been on the rise since the MB took power and that members of minority communities were leaving the country as a result, Khalil pointed out. He added that minorities all over the region have felt threatened since the so-called Arab Spring began.

Meanwhile, the Orthodox Coptic Church, in an unprecedented move, has decided to restructure the clerical council on personal states, which handles issues related to marriage and divorce.

The Church has specified seven conditions for marriage annulment, divorce and remarriage. These conditions include desertion of the marital home, immoral behaviour, marital betrayal, marriage without Church approval, failure to divulge serious health problems and change of religion.

Bishop Pola, who chaired the clerical council meeting held recently in Wadi Al-Natroun, said that the focus was on adapting personal status laws to modern needs. Recommendations made by the participants are to be submitted to the Church synod, and more recommendations are being collected at churches across the country, the bishop stated.

Compiled by Ahmed Morsy

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