Sunday, February 22, 2015

Steel tycoon refused application for 2015 parliament

Daily News Egypt

The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) found controversial steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz’s application to run in the 2015 parliament incomplete regarding financial documents on Sunday morning.
The SEC therefore refused the application for the prominent figure under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a move which made quickly made news headlines.
Ezz is still involved in a pending retrial in a case in which he is accused of illicit gains through a seizure of the shares of Ezz Dekheila Steel Company. He did not face any obstacles in applying due to his legal status, since he has not been charged. However, he failed to submit a bank statement, as per legal requirements.
The SEC’s conditions to apply for the elections stated that each candidate must open a bank account for the electoral money transfers, which in Ezz’s case has been frozen.
According to a 2011 prosecution order freezing Ezz’s assets, he is unable to freely manage expenses. The ban reportedly also applies to his wife Shahinaz El-Naggar, also an active politician and potential candidate for the 2015elections.
There have been no reports however regarding the refusal of El-Naggar’s application, as she is running as an independent representing the Manial and Old Cairo constituency. The Cairo district has two available parliamentary seats. El-Naggar’s electoral campaign has been ongoing mainly through a campaign promoting solving and improving citizens’ medical services.
Ezz submitted his application hoping to represent the Sadat constituency, the largest district in the governorate of Menufiya, among widespread publiccontroversy. The constituency will have one representative member in the parliament, elected as an individual, either as an independent candidate, or as part of a political party.
The Free Egyptians Party (FEP), led by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has vowed to escalate competition against members of the former National Democratic Party (NDP), backing up Samy El-Mashad, a 53-yar-old pharmacist.
Mahmoud Reesh, FEP’s candidate for the constituency of Menuf, the capital of Menufiya, expressed his satisfaction regarding Ezz’s rejected candidacy. He added that local residents were also happy to hear the news, in comments to Daily News Egypt on Sunday.
The party had also sought to back up candidates running against El-Naggar. An inside source previously informed Daily News Egypt, on condition of anonymity, that FEP could even back  popular singer Mostafa Kamel, if that means destabilising El-Naggar’s position.
FEP’s candidates, including senior party member Emad Gad, who joined the party ahead of the parliamentary elections, happens to be a major candidate and spokesperson for the electoral coalition “For the Love of Egypt”.
The coalition, led by former military official Sameh Seif El-Yazal is believed to be informally backed by the government, as it includes several old-regime figures and security men. It is also derived from a project initially suggested by former prime minister Kamal El-Ganzoury.
On the other hand, rivalry for that district in particular, and for Menufiya, also includes Salafi Al-Nour Party candidates, namely university professor Gehad Abdel Zaher, who represents the party’s secretariat in the Sadat district.
According to senior party member Salaah Abdel Maaboud, also a Menufiya candidate, he was also happy with Ezz’s exclusion, but said he felt positive about Al-Nour’s competition in the district, affirming that Abdel Zaher’s winning chances are high.
Ezz can file an official appeal against his rejection, as the SEC and the Administrative Court are expected to look into all appeals concerning candidates within two days from announcing the final list of accepted candidates Sunday.
“I expected that Ezz would be rejected, but that is not an issue in itself, because there has been a lot of fuss about his candidacy, despite that frankly speaking he is not the worst of corrupted politicians running for the parliament,” said AB, a citizen in Menufiya who supports the Muslim Brotherhood, and will not vote in the elections.
Reesh told Daily News Egypt that one of the candidates competing in the Sadat district represents the “hidden face of the Muslim Brotherhood”. He said that they are seeking to go back to political life, following a wide crackdown since July 2013.

Cabinet approves law allowing judges to skip witnesses

Egypt’s cabinet approved a presidential draft law amending criminal procedure code articles, allowing judges the freedom whether to summon or not witnesses to testify.
Amendments to Articles 277 and 289 of the code gives the courts absolute power in summoning witnesses to testify, without supervision, as the courts provide fair justice, according to the cabinet statement Wednesday.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) issued a statement condemning the draft law as “an addition to a big chain of laws that are excessive in wasting freedoms and citizens’ rights since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi”.
The statement compared the draft law, approved by the cabinet but yet to receive final presidential approval, together with laws such “the protest law, the judicial confiscation law, the extension of pre-trial detention periods law and the foreign defendants’ deportation law”. These list among other laws that not only antagonises freedoms but also clearly violates articles of the Egyptian Constitution.
Executive director of ANHRI, Gamal Eid, told Daily News Egypt that the government’s apparent reason for approving these amendments is to prevent prolonging lawsuits.
He also said the blame for prolonged procedures for lawsuits falls on the judiciary and prosecution, noting the case of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who has so far spent more than 550 days in detention without trial.
Eid added that the new draft law “not only conflicts with the constitution and binding international agreements but it also destroys the idea of justice at its roots.”
Eid said there are two ways to counter the government’s latest move – through appealing the constitutionality of the law or waiting for a fairly representative parliament to reverse these amendments.
“The other way is political countering through pressure and exposure of such violations,” He added.
Eid believes the approval of such draft law is unprecedented, “even in more rooted autocracies we didn’t see that, not even with Saddam Hussein”.
The human rights situation in Egypt is dire, according to Nasser Amin, Head of The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) and member of the National Council on Human Rights (NCHR).
Amin added that the government should not use the “war on terrorism” as an excuse to commit human rights violations or issue exceptional laws. He explained that international standards apply, even in the midst of a war on terrorism.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Another Black night in the History of the Egyptian football

The clashes between security and Ultras White Knights resilted in the killings of more than 22 persons and many of the casualties ,before Zamalek vs Enppi football match yesterday, in the 21st week of the Egyptian league .
Zamalek fans had tried to enter yesterday game stadium "air defense" , but  security refused  because those fans didnt have tickets to the game, that was sold in designated ports.
A security source in the Interior Ministry assured , that the security follow-ups observed large numbers of ultras white knights coming air defense Stadium, to attend a football match between  Zamalek and ENPPI, without getting tickets to enter the game, and tried to storm the stadium gates by force, which called the security forces to prevent them from entering the  stadium and destroying the stadium facilities.
Zamalek club officials sent a formal letter to the football Federation , disclaims any liability for the riots which broke out from the Ultras White Knights, and the security forces outside the air defense Stadium, blaming the federation themselves.
In contrast,the football federation refused Zamalek speech , and a source confirmed at the Federation assured that Zamalek Club received 10 thousand  tickets for the match, and the fans that existed didnt reach that number  ,wondering  about the fate of the rest of the tickets, and stressing that zamalek's hiding the tickets  caused this crisis.
In the same context, the  Football federation Management, announced the postponement of Al-Ahly and Zamalek match in the league , sectors born in 95, which was scheduled to be held tomorrow, because of the events that took place between security and the White Knights as dozens were killed and injured .there is strong trends to postpone the league for unlimited time.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Peter Greste: Al-Jazeera journalist 'freed by Egypt'

Jailed al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is being deported from Egypt, the state news agency and police say.
The Australian ex-BBC correspondent was arrested in December 2013 and imprisoned last June on charges including spreading false news.
There is no word on the two al-Jazeera men who were jailed with him, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.
All of the defendants denied the charges against them and have said their trial was a sham.
They were accused of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the military in 2013.
The three men said they were simply reporting the news.
Egypt's top court had in January ordered a retrial of the three men.
But an Egyptian official told Agence France-Presse news agency on Sunday: "There is a presidential decision to deport Peter Greste to Australia."
Al-Jazeera has demanded the release of its journalists ever since they were arrested.
Mr Fahmy holds Egyptian and Canadian citizenship and is the Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief.
Mr Mohamed, a producer, is an Egyptian national.
Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy were sentenced to seven years, while Mr Mohamed is serving 10.