Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)
Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Issue 1183, (6 - 12 February 2014)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Mansour interviewed

IN AN INTERVIEW with Al-Ahram on Monday, Interim President Adli Mansour said that the new constitution had put an end to the period of the “Pharaonic president” in Egypt. The parliament would have the right to remove the president in certain cases as outlined in the new constitution, and the next president would need strong popular support in order to take the difficult decisions needed to develop Egypt.

Mansour said that Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was “greatly appreciated” by most Egyptians because of his role in the 30 June Revolution when he had corrected the path of the 25 January Revolution and challenged the world to protect the homeland.

Chargé d’affaires summoned

THE FOREIGN Ministry in Cairo said that it had summoned Qatar’s chargé d’affaires in Egypt on Tuesday to ask for the handover of Islamist fugitives in exile in Doha, according to Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel-Atty.

Egypt also summoned the Qatari ambassador last month in protest at Doha’s criticisms of the moves against the Islamists and Qatari interference in Egyptian affairs. The ambassador was not in Egypt this week, explaining why the chargé d’affaires had been summoned.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated after the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi last July. Since then, Qatar has criticised what it has described as a “crackdown” on the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Qatar backs.

Several Muslim Brotherhood leaders and allied Islamists fled to Doha following Morsi’s ouster in July. Some are wanted for trial in Egypt.

European tour

FOREIGN Minister Nabil Fahmi concluded a five-day tour that took him to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands today. During the visit, he held consultations with his counterparts as well as meeting with the respective parliamentary foreign relations committees.

Fahmi also reviewed the current situation in Egypt, political developments in the implementation of the road map, and his vision for the coming period after the new constitution was approved. The visit was a chance to stress the determination of the Egyptian authorities to complete the announced transition process, he said.

Several regional issues pertaining to the Middle East with a special focus on the Syrian crisis and the conditions of refugees in neighbouring states including Egypt were also discussed with European officials in addition to bilateral relations.

The minister’s visit comes ahead of a European Union Foreign Affairs Council (EUFAC) meeting scheduled for 10 February, where the situation in Egypt is expected to be on the agenda. The EUFAC, which will convene in Brussels, is set to “assess the outcome of the constitutional referendum held on 14-15 January” in Egypt.

The EU has followed events in Egypt closely, both before and after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

Protest over ‘minor changes’

THE AMENDMENTS to the military judicial law are just “cosmetic changes to deformed content,” the No to the Military Trial Movement, a protest group, has said. In a statement issued on Monday, the Movement warned that the new amendments could be used as “false propaganda to justify flagrant violations against civilians,” referring to the military trial of civilians.

On Sunday, interim president AdlI Mansour ratified a number of amendments to law 25/1996 to allow for verdicts issued by military misdemeanor courts to be appealed and to grant wide latitude to the newly created Supreme Judicial Committee, which will be tasked with looking into appeals against military court-issued verdicts.

The amendments also allow for implementing the same litigation procedures stipulated by the criminal procedures law in verdicts issued in absentia, and stipulated that Egypt’s grand mufti must be consulted before handing down a death sentence.

The No to Military Trials Movement said that the new amendments were “tantamount to a confession” that the past military trials of civilians had been unfair and had contradicted the principles of justice. “This confession also contradicts statements by supporters of the former military council, former president Mohammed Morsi, and Mansour himself,” the group said.

The fact that Mansour had amended the law in the absence of an elected parliament — which would normally discuss any amendments and their implications before issuing legislation — was another point of criticism for the group. “The presidential decree violates article 156 of the constitution, which only allows the president to issue and amend laws in cases where an urgent matter needs swift measures,” the group’s statement said.

The amendments also did not take into account criticisms of the law voiced by the No to Military Trials Movement and other groups. Rights groups have condemned articles in the law regarding the military judiciary’s subordination to the Defence Ministry, the appointment of its judges by the ministry, the military judiciary’s ability to specify its own powers of jurisdiction, the difficulty in appointing civil defence lawyers and the circumstances under which civilians may be sent to military courts.

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