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Egypt Daily Update

October 31, 2011

Blogger Detained for 'Inciting Violence' in Maspero 

Prominent blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been detained for fifteen days pending an investigation for "inciting violence" related to the Maspero events earlier this month.  Rights groups have responded strongly against the news, saying the army is attempting to frame activists and others for the incident in which more than 25 were killed.  Abdel Fattah and his lawyers refused to be questioned by the military prosecution to protest what they describe as a party complicit in the crime also carrying out the investigation.  The April 6 Youth Movement, who has had a number of its members detained under similar circumstances, said it rejects the summoning of its members before military tribunals.  Demonstrations have been scheduled for Monday evening in Egypt and Tunisia to demand Abdel Fattah's release.  Abdel Fattah was also arrested in May 2006 for calling for an independent judiciary.
"Activist group to defy summons to military courts" (English), Al Masry Al Youm, 31/10/11
"Military detains activist for 15 days pending investigations, releases another" (English), Al Ahram, 30/10/11
"Egypt military detains blogger over clashes" (English), Al Jazeera, 30/10/11
"Protests planned in Egypt and Tunisia to demand the release of blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah" (English), Al Ahram, 31/10/11

Mubarak Trial Delayed Until December

The next session of the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib Al Adly has been delayed until December.  Originally the case was scheduled to recommence at the end of October, however it will be postponed until a suit contesting the neutrality of the head judge, Ahmed Rafaat, is settled.  A hearing will take place on November 13 to decide whether to dismiss Judge Rafaat.  Despite some reports of his neutrality in the media, the lawyers representing families of victims have accused Rafaat of bias towards Mubarak and Al Adly, particularly following the closed testimony of Chief Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
"Mubarak’s trial to be postponed again: lawyers" (English), Al Arabiya, 29/10/11
"November 13 to be the first look at the dispute of the head of appeals, Rafaat and Akaasha in the Mubarak case" (Arabic), Al Dostor, 31/10/11

Al-Azhar Issues Statement in Support of Regional Democracy

Al-Azhar University, one of the chief centers of Islamic and Arabic studies in the world, has issued a statement in support of democratic development in the Middle East.  The Grand Sheikh of the Cairo-based university Ahmed Al Tayyeb said the statement urges Arab regimes to consider the the ambitions of their people, who should be the source of power.  The statement has also called for the new constitution in Egypt to respect the freedom of all sectors of Egyptian society, which has upset some Salafi groups as it would allow followers of other religions to be governed under non-Islamic law.
"Al-Azhar issues document to support democracy in region" (English), Al Masry Al Youm, 31/10/11

Al Hayat Party Officially Approved

The Commission for Political Party Affairs has approved the formation of a new liberal party, Al Hayat (life), under the leadership of Maikel Muneer.  Muneer praised the new development, and said his party's executive branch will meet immediately to discuss next steps for the party.  Al Hayat began most of its political activities in August, but was just recently officially approved.
"Commission for Party Affaris officially approves formation of Al Hayat Party under the leadership of Maikel Muneer" (Arabic), Al Shorouk, 31/10/11

73 Sentenced to Six Months for Israeli and Saudi Embassy Attacks   

A military court has sentenced 73 people accused of attacking the Israeli and Saudi embassies in September to six months in prison.  On September 9 and 10, the Israeli embassy was attacked by a number of demonstrators protesting the cross border shooting in the Sinai that resulted in the deaths of Egyptian officers.  However, there was some resistance to the charges, with lawyers and observers saying there was no relationship among the group of accused.
"Imprisonment of the accused in the events of the Israeli embassy for six months with parole" (Arabic), Al Masry Al Youm, 31/10/11
"The military sentences 73 accused to prison for 6 months with parole, and acquits two from the embassy events" (Arabic), Al Dostor, 31/10/11

-Karl Lindemann

Alaa Abdel Fattah has been detained for fifteen days for 'inciting violence'

Featured quotes:

"[Alaa] Abdel Fattah rejected the interrogation in a case where the military is accused of committing a massacre when their APCs ran over peaceful protesters in front of Maspero on Oct. 9."
- Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, Abdel Fattah's father and lawyer

"The military justice system should never be used to investigate or prosecute civilians. Military courts are fundamentally unfair, as they deprive defendants of basic fair trial guarantees."
- Amnesty International, in a statement released in response to Alaa Abdel Fattah's arrest

"The defense will challenge the class action charge because there is no evidence to support it, especially since the accused are not affiliated with any political group and there is no relationship between them."
- Mohammed Abdel Aziz, defense lawyer for those accused of violence at the Israeli embassy
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