Weekly newsletter

Weekly Newsletter from13 to 20 August

Egypt

Elections of the Senate House: A tentative effort to falsify the will of the Egyptian people in the coming parliamentary elections

Counselor Lashin Ibrahim, head of the National Elections Authority, announced the  victory of the pro-regime National List for Egypt  in the Senate elections in four districts. According to the announcement of the Counselor, the National List for Egypt won in the first district located in the Cairo Security Directorate, in the second district located at the Giza Security Directorate, in the third district located in the Sharkia Security Directorate, and in the fourth district located in the Alexandria Security Directorate.

The number of voters in the Senate elections, according to the same source, reached 8 millions, 959 thousands and 35 votes, with a participation percentage of 14.23%.

Lashin Ibrahim

Counselor Lashin Ibrahim had stressed that all electoral crimes are imprescriptible, pledging to apply the stipulated fine against those who did not vote in the elections.

The House of Senates: The legitimacy of dominance is guaranteed by imposing fines, not  through votes

Article 57 of the Law for regulating the Exercise of Political Rights stipulates that “Any person whose name is recorded in the electoral register and fails to vote in the election or referendum without excuse shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds”. It is a threat that the National Elections Commission raises in the event of every election and no one takes it seriously

On the legislative side, policies that focus mainly on laws continue in dealing with a rampant social phenomenon. The House of Representatives approved a draft law submitted by the government to amend some provisions of the Penal Code to confront the phenomenon of bullying according to the draft law which outlined a minimum of one year in prison and/or a fine ranging from EGP 20,000 to EGP 100,000.

In addition, the House of Representatives approved, in its plenary session, a draft law submitted by the government to amend the Criminal Procedure Law, by adding an article to keep the identity of victims and the accused of sexual assault and harassment confidential in cases of child abuse and harassment. Victims have recently refrained from reporting such crimes in fear of doing harm to their reputation. Then, the House of representative referred the draft law to the State Council for opinion

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the Head of the Executive Authority, issued Law No. 170 of 2020 regarding ‘symbiotic contribution’ in order to face some economic repercussions due to the spread of pandemics or natural disasters..  The first article of the law stipulates that , for a period of 12 months, 1% of the net income of workers and 0.5% of the net pension shall be deducted monthly. Previous bulletins had followed up on such measures that affect workers who are considered the most vulnerable groups that suffered from the Corona crisis, far from any procedure that requires the owners of companies and capital to play a real and serious role equivalent to their benefit from wealth production in Egypt.

The suppression system that produces violence: Legal solutions against violence that reflects the crisis of citizenship in Egypt

Meanwhile, the Cabinet approved a draft law amending some provisions of the Penal Code by replacing the texts of a number of articles with new ones. The amendments resulted from what has been observed that the penalties against assault on public workers and destroying public funds “were no longer sufficient to achieve deterrence in both public and private”. Moreover, some categories of public employees, such as members of the police, law enforcement officers, the education authority, the teaching staff in universities, and workers in public health facilities have become more susceptible to abuse due to  their work or during the performance of their duties. That was a reason for strict penalties relating to assault crimes in order to extend a more effective protection system for the public office and its employees.

On the social and economic level, the Egyptian regime continues to increase the prices of several living matters, especially the prices of metro tickets. on the other hand, the Ministry Of Supply & Internal Trading issued a decision to reduce the weight of the subsidized loaf of bread from 110 to 90 grams, i.e. a difference of 20 grams per loaf, or the equivalent of 18% of its weight

As for the details of the human rights bulletin, the Ministry of the Interior decided to resume visits to all public and Leman prisons, through specific procedures related to the precautionary and preventive measures to protect prisoners from  being infected by Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to uphold the Public Prosecutor’s decision to prevent Hanin Hossam, Mawaddah Al Adham and others from disposing of their money. It is a continuation of  the approach of the ethical guardianship practiced by the regime through the judiciary and the Public Prosecution  in Egypt.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the member of the political bureau in Egypt, the former advisor to the late President Mohamed Morsi, and deputy chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, Essam El-Erian, died at the age of 66 after 7 years in prison. El-Erian did not receive any visits during his 7 years in prison. Prisoners in Scorpion prison, unlike other prisoners in most public prisons, are prevented from visits, except after the decision to stop visits due to Coronavirus. It is noteworthy that El-Erian was among those who were sentenced to death in the case known publicly as “Rabaa sit-in dispersal”, then the verdict  was appealed and mitigated. It is reported that other several prisoners died in different prisons

In parallel with what is mentioned, the security services in Beheira arrested journalist Mohamed Essawi, a reporter for the Cairo 24 website Behira, while covering the sinking of the “Damashli” ferry boat. The Kom Hamada Prosecution in Al-Buhaira Governorate decided to imprison the journalist for 15 days under the charges of spreading false news and the participation of a group in achieving its goals by broadcasting for Al-Jazeera. This was strongly condemned by the Egyptian Press Syndicate. The journalist was later released in a new case in the series of repressing freedom of expression and the press

On the other hand, the Syndicate received complaints concerning banning from covering the Senate elections during all election days. This matter reflects the situation of freedom of press in Egypt. According to the “Reporters without borders (RSF)” organization’s report for the year 2020, Egypt fell to 166th in the world rankings for press freedom, dropping 3 places from its last year ranking.

The report stated that Egypt used facing “fake news” as an allegation to justify blocking and banning pages and websites. The organization said that the Middle East and North Africa region remains the most dangerous to the safety of journalists during practicing their duties.

Meanwhile, the death number of doctors became a regular part of the human rights bulletin in Egypt, as the number of doctors  who are victims of Corona virus resistance has reached 149 martyrs, according to the page of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate. The last victim was the martyr Dr. Jamil Atallah who was a children consultant  at Mit Ghamr Hospital.

Libya

The most outstanding headline in Libya this week is the deterioration of the living conditions of the citizens under power outage in most of the Libyan regions and cities with regards to high temperatures and sometimes reaching the collapse of the electrical network in general. This causes general darkness, especially in the Western region. Besides, the rise of the dollar’s value in the parallel market (black market), and the greater and rapid spread of the Coronavirus with the absence of a strategic plan by the government to confront this spread, and under these conditions, the Commander of the Libyan Petroleum Facilities Guard affiliated with the General Command of the Libyan Army, Major General Naji al-Maghribi, declared that there is no objection to open petroleum ports and facilities based on the decision of the army commander, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar

Al-Maghrabi stated that in order to alleviate the suffering of the citizens, to preserve the infrastructure and to preserve the existing oil installations, including drilling equipment and other things, there is no objection to open Petroleum ports to manage the stored oil and crude oil. In order to provide the opportunity to supply the required gas for operating electricity Recently, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar had discussed with the concerned parties several points regarding the oil sector, the role of the sector and its ability to provide citizens’ priorities with fuel in order to cover the needs of the electrical network.

Despite this positive step, the Libyan economy remains weak and fragile, especially regarding small companies. The owners of these companies face great difficulties in providing raw materials or obtaining banking facilities to import them to resume work that was suspended nearly from four months ago due to the Corona pandemic. It is mentioned that the Central Bank of Libya limits its financial facilities to provide funds for  importing medicine and food. Under these circumstances, workers live in difficult circumstances according to the renting and working conditions, in addition to the weakness of the health coverage system due to its inability to contribute in facing the epidemic that is spreading in Libya more than ever before. This was indicated by the report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

On the political level, the Berlin Conference casts its shadow in an attempt to restore the political path in Libya, which is not stable

 Berlin again: A long and slow path

Tripoli was recently the focus of attention for diplomats from several countries presenting the agendas and perceptions of each party. The first agenda was the visit of the Turkish Minister of National Defence Hulusi Akar and the Qatari Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah. Both met with their counterpart in the Government of National Accord, Salah Al-Din al-Namroush. The visit aimed to discuss the implemented activities within the framework of the Understanding Memorandum signed between the two countries concerning security and military cooperation. As they accompanied Al-Attiyah to the Defense Security Cooperation and Training Assistance Advisory Command, that was established as part of a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya last year.

Later, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the resumption of direct talks between the two parties to the Libyan conflict during a visit to Tripoli on Monday.

Maas also pointed to the importance of ensuring a fair distribution of oil revenues, according to his speech at a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Libya’s Government of National Accord, Mohamed Siala.

Despite the difficult conditions that Libya is facing, the hope for a democratic life will not disappear. Polling stations in the Libyan city of Ghat, in the far South, opened its doors on the 18th of August 2020, at 9.am.

In order to vote and exercise their electoral right to choose who would represent them on the Ghat Municipal Council, the city had witnessed a turnout of voters despite the health risks that have been confronted by appropriate preventive measures

As for the human rights bulletin, a United Nations report showed an increase in the phenomenon of sexual violence in most of armed conflicts, including Libya. The report announced documented cases of rape in Maitika detention and other types of violence against migrants in detention centers in Zawiya, Tajura and Gharyan. The victims of these crimes are either Libyans or migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

This is mentioned in the eleventh report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the subject of sexual violence used as a tactic of war or as a weapon used by terrorist networks in 19 countries, including Libya,from January to December 2019, according to the organization’s website. The report that was published by the United Nations this month, is based on cases documented by the international organization

The sexual violence in Libya: A new Abu Ghagib prison

From the details of the recorded crimes in the report:

Among the shocking violations mentioned in the report is the case of raping four prisoners and forcing them to show themselves naked, while a human rights activist was the victim of gang rape by the Deterrence Force guards.

Patterns of sexual violence, exploitation and blackmailing against migrant trafficking crimes take place in the detention centers in Zawiya, Tajura, Gharyan, and Khums which are among the reponsible authorities for combating “illegal immigration.” The aforementioned report revealed that some migrants of women and girls are at risk of being sold for forced labor or sexual exploitation in international criminal networks. Some of them are linked to armed groups in Libya. The nature of these violations with all its shadow cast on the reconciliation path in Libya, which in fact needs justice to punish criminals to guarantee non-repetition and to treat psychological wounds and its negative social effects.

As for Coronavirus and its spread in Libya, the periodic report No. 164 of the National Center for Disease Control shows that the epidemic covered Libya up to  the 16th of August as for example.

Tunisia

On the level of parliamentary work, the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, encountered controversy again after issuing a statement on behalf of the Assembly that represents the will of the Tunisian people without reference to it. The statement was widely shared on the pro-pages of Ennahda. It was about the peace agreement concluded between the UAE and “Israel”. These practices are not considered new in light of their frequency by the Speaker of the Assembly, his advisors, and members of his office, from which Habib Khadhr resigned recently. The Tunisian civil society continued its oversight role by issuing statements denouncing practices that undermine the prestige of the legislative authority and push it into the corridors of the political game with narrow interests. Several organizations also called  the president of the Republic to play his constitutional role in expressing the official position of the Tunisian Republic.

 

Habib Khadhr

Regarding the political affairs, the President of the Republic continues to appear uniquely in the political scene during the period of negotiations to form the government. President Kais Said received the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Interior on Monday, the 14th of August  The Italian delegation focused on the issue of immigration, reinforcing Italy’s opinion that adheres to the deportation of immigrants from its territory. The position of the Presidency of the Republic was clear towards adopting a comprehensive, consensual approach concerning migration based mainly on fighting poverty and unemployment by supporting development efforts in the countries of origin, and encouraging regular migration, considering that the security solutions alone is not enough to guarantee the elimination of irregular immigration.

Political Affairs in Tunisia: President and constitution facing parties and government

The President of the Republic Kais Said met the Palestinian Ambassador in Tunisia to declare his support for the Palestinian case and reject normalization, while expressing his respect to the options of the rest of the countries that remain accountable to their people. This happened after the UAE announced the signing of a peace agreement with “Israel”. He affirmed that the position  of Tunisia and its people, has always supported Palestine.

Meanwhile, Hicham El-Mechichi has completed the last round of consultations to form a government, as the constitutional deadline for forming it is near to end on the 25th of August 2020.  Among the details of the consultations, it is noticed that there is a clear change in the positions of several parties that previously expressed their rejection of a government of national competencies. As for example, the democratic bloc representing the People’s Movement and the Democratic Current changed their stand towards the acceptance of a mixed government between competencies and politicians, while the Heart of Tunisia party expressed that the formation of the government is moving in the right direction.

The designated-Head of Governemnt, Hicham El-Mechichi, maintained his initial stand in this regard, which implies a change in the negotiation atmosphere towards calmness, especially under the fear of many parties of facing the unknown in case of not forming the government. Besides, the economic and social context imposes itself on the political path as a whole.

It is noteworthy that the designated Head of Government intends to reduce the size of the government and to prepare an urgent economic and social program to pass the severe crisis, which the Corona pandemic has exacerbated.

In a continuous and exceptional context affecting political options, Tunisia is facing the second wave of the Corona pandemic. The cases are almost concentrated in the Gabes region and the province of Hamma. This region is experiencing a systematic marginalization that affected the infrastructure, especially in the field of health. And this required the Tunisian National Army to intervene to provide laboratories and medical teams to support the existing ones.

There have been many cases of Covid-19 infection, which raised a well-founded fear for the people of the region in the absence of proper treatment of their situation, according to their estimation. In the rest of the Tunisian regions, there are also other rooted cases of infection because of the  negligence and lack of respect for the required health protocols.

In an unconnected context, the people of Agareb city of Sfax governorate demonstrated against the non-closure of dumps in the region according to the decision issued concerning that. This action happened after a great fire took place in the aforementioned dump last week. The protesters considered the environmental situation terroristic as it threatens the health of citizens.

With regard to the latest developments in the spread of the virus in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya :

Last Update : 13/08/2020 - 10:00

Egypt :

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Libya :

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Tunisia :

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