Weekly newsletter

Weekly Bulletin from18th to 24th of September

Tunisia

A political regime that leads to the clash of powers and the intrusion of  political interests in  governance

The recent decisions of Hicham El Mechichi’s government witnessed criticism from the political center and the Tunisian public opinion, especially concerning the salaries of governors. The prime minister issued a decree no.769 of 2020 dated to September 18, concerning regulating  the system of rent and privileges for governors. In this decree, he  granted them salaries and privileges which are equivalent to the  members of the government (ministers and state secretaries).

هشام المشيشي

The government’s action focused on enhancing the pivotal role of the deconcentralised authority and reframing its role amid a health crisis. That was confirmed during the prime minister’s speech, on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at the opening session of the governors’ meeting at the National Guard barracks in Aouina. Also, he issued the decree regulating the salaries and benefits of governors, after approving the increase in the monthly salary of delegates’ categories and secretaries of the governorates. He stressed the need not to wait for the decisions of the central authority in response to the health epidemic crisis. 

The increases in the salaries and privileges for representatives of the central authority, including governors and delegates’ categories, have drawn criticism of the Tunisian public opinion under the financial situation of the Tunisian State, together with  the economic and social situation.

The data of the  governors’ privileges:

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Al-Machichi met The head of the Ennahda Movement’s parliamentary bloc, Noureddine Al-Beheiri and the leader of the Ennahda Movement, Anwar Maarouf.

This meeting is under a series of meetings that are held by the Prime Minister with representatives of parties and parliamentary blocs, to coordinate the efforts between the Prime ministry and the Assembly to expedite the settlement procedures of the critical and current issues, according to a statement by the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Al-Mechichi has appointed 4 new advisors to the Kasbah, amid strong criticism. The leader of the Democratic Current, Muhammad Ammar, considered that Prime Minister Hisham al-Michichi “is subjected to political blackmail at the level of appointments to senior positions in the state”. Also, the leader of the Democratic Current, Hisham al-Ajbouni, confirmed in a post on Facebook, that the Prime Minister Hisham Mechichi appointed advisors who were involved in consecrating the system of rent and the ‘economy of friends’. And they were false witnesses of  funds’ smuggling and the abuses of Ben Ali’s family, his relatives and friends.

Ammar pointed out that the prime minister’s appointments on the administration of the National Security, the advisors in the Kasbah and the changes in some of the lists of the expected governors were  for the interest of  the political parties that voted for his government. Concerning that, the President stressed this fact regarding the  political differences and narrow interest which are clear r in the conflict over appointments.

President Kais Saeied expressed his situation, at the celebration of the 38th session of heads of diplomatic,  permanent and consular missions, in which he stressed in his speech, the need to support the just causes and the Palestinian issue in its front  “until we restore all of Palestine and its capital, Jerusalem”.

President Kais Saeied stated, “We should be far from the policy of axes and alignment, while preserving our full sovereignty, we shall be strong abroad and have a powerful voice only if the situation at home is stable, and our foreign policy is based on popular sovereignty and the demands of the majority”.

He added, “ We adhere to the terms of  references and our principles, the independence of our decision, the commitment to international legitimacy and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries. We reject the interference of any country in our affairs and to interfere in the affairs of any other country “.

Despite these major headlines in the president’s speech, the diplomatic work witnessed differences within administration. This is what was mentioned by the president, as he emphasized that the diplomatic work in recent months “did not unfortunately reflect the actual orientations of the state. Also, he mentioned that there are attempts to spoil a number of initiatives, while diplomacy was divided according to the balances at home”. He stressed that, “ The integrity of the state, its president and its diplomacy, and we may not accept that our will is subjected to anyone, because we are already sacrificing ourselves for long live Tunisia.

اThe meeting of the President with the Prime Minister, also concluded with the same impression of the differences within the governance system, and the inability of the political regime to settle these differences in order to create a complete and consistent path which is capable of making and implementing policies and decisions in the state

Limited partisan scene due to populism and parties’ conflict to gain position

Concerning the partisan life, the President of the Free Constitutional Party, Abeer Moussa, led an anti-terrorism demonstration that started in front of the Ministry of Justice to the Cabinet Palace in Kasbah. She emphasized the absence of the actual political will to combat terrorism, calling on the Tunisian authorities to take practical procedures to combat the phenomenon. Moussa also stated that her party would go to the international judiciary, and she considered that “the troika system that ruled the country after the revolution is responsible for the phenomenon because it allowed several suspicious associations to appear”. Abeer Moussa also confirmed that she would soon reveal critical files and facts concerning state security.

As for the Democratic Current Party, the party may hold an urgent national meeting on the 3rd and 4th of the next October,  to elect a new secretary general of the party to succeed Muhammad Abbou, who has resigned, according to the party’s spokesperson, Muhammad Ammar.

The limited official policies against the pandemic, and its first victims are the medical staff and their families

On the other hand, the health situation occupies Tunisian public opinion, after the numbers of the infected rose, as Tunisia entered its fourth stage of the epidemic spread. Due to the weak infrastructure in the health sector, the Basic Health Syndicate and the Medical Syndicate of North and South of  Kairouan, announced on Sunday, September 20, 2020, that they protest due to what they considered a catastrophic situation in health institutions. The Syndicate demands that the Department of Medical Laboratories in the Ministry to find an urgent solution to the accumulated samples, and the supervisory authority to bear the responsibility of protecting all health personnel in the region.

The decision to strike is due to the increase in the number of infected from the medical and paramedical personnel to reach 81 infections because the results of 1100 samples were not released, although they were sent about 10 days ago to laboratories in various governorates. As a result, children of health staff in the region were prevented from going to schools and institutes because they are related to the infected with Coronavirus or they are sons of the health staff, and that decision dismayed their parents

The conditions have worsened to a severe level in many other hospitals, due to the lack of precautionary measures being taken and to not deal seriously with that. As in the emergency department of the Mongi Slim Hospital in Marsa, there are no hallways for the covid patients , while they deal with ordinary patients, which may lead to the rapid spread of the infection among them, according to Dr. Monia Bosen. On the other hand, it was revealed that two foreigners from sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroonian and Guinean) infected with the Coronavirus escaped from the regional hospital in Tabarka, where they were staying in the hospital’s quarantine center

Information concerning the evolution of the epidemiological situation:

The human rights bulletin in Tunisia: Among Right, security and capital

Sectoral strikes returned for many reasons, but it raised the debate between the exercise of the right and the temporary and permanent necessities of  the whole society. In principle, the contradiction seems illogical, because the authority has to settle this issue. However, the inability of the state and the ruling elite to play its role, puts the necessity of a balance between the right and power which is absent in Tunisia.

On Saturday evening, the Kamour Movement organized a session which witnessed the attendance of a number of representatives from the local authorities, unions, organizations and civil activists, in order to study the situation in the region, draft a road map for the next phase, and prepare well for the Cabinet. Tariq Al-Haddad who is the official spokesperson for the movement of the Sit-in Al-Kamour, stated on the evening of Wednesday, September 23, 2020, that the members of the movement and the residents of Tataouine would review the new decisions of the Prime Ministry, on Wednesday evening in favor of Tataouine. As this shows the attempt to restore the energy production in Tataouine, while the movement and the residents may determine their decision to open the valve and to restart the production or not. The Kamour sit-in has revived the debate over development policies and the permanent and circumstantial options of the state to face a critical socio-economic situation in the internal regions and throughout the country.

On the morning of Thursday, September 17, employees of the Tunisian Railway Company (SNCFT)cut off the national road No. 15 which links Gafsa and Gabes, at the level of the intersection point of the railway line No. 13 which links Tozeur and Sfax by locomotive, protesting against the delayed payment of their salaries. The nurses also announced their intention to go into a strike on September 30 and October 1

The Tunisian Organization of Young Doctors deplores, in a statement on Tuesday, the 22nd of September 2020, “ the suspension of the national medical licensing examination

 and the prevention of more than 600 specialist doctors from obtaining their certificates and carrying out their civil service, as many regions need their services and competence in this critical situation in the Tunisian healthcare. 

Kasbah also witnessed a sit-in by some young men during this week, and the sit-in coordinator, Mona Al-Akrami, confirmed that the protesters’ demand is the immediate activation of Law No. 38 of 2020 concerning  the employment of those who are unemployed for more than 10 years, the employment of the ones who doesn’t have a security and social problem and the employment of a member of each family with special needs (the handicapped persons).

On the other hand, the main unions of the Tunisian Chemical Society in Gabes threatened to strike and stop the production until setting up a meeting.

 As for the security reaction regarding the continuity of the phenomenon of irregular migration, during a raid on a house in the region,the National Guard in Jbniana from Sfax  arrested 13 people who were intending to cross the maritime border. The units of the Maritime Zone of Monastir prevented a surreptitious crossing of the maritime borders and seized a boat which carried 11 persons aged between 16 and 44 years

Tunisia: Violence lies  in the details of citizenship and the life of the citizen and resident 

Recently, the crimes of physical assault and rape are frequent, as the judicial police force in Hammam-Lif arrested on Saturday the 19th of September a person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with deception and for raping a female. Reports of violence, crimes and theft were frequent which reflect the extent of the deteriorating social and economic situation. 

One of the issues that shooks the public opinion this week, and one of the most popular videos on social media, was a video of the attack of an old man who is the owner of a café in Sousse against an African young man and it was later discovered that he was a worker in the café who was not paid his salary.

The details of the incident indicate that the owner of the café intends in particular to exploit the vulnerability of the legal status of foreigners. The videographer, who is the head of the Ivorian Community Association in Sousse (AIT – Association des Ivoiriens en Tunisie), confirmed that the owner of the café did a similar act several times, as he usually accuses workers, especially foreigners  of theft, in order to avoid paying their salaries, which do not exceed 400 dinars per month. According to him.

The question: How long may the current legal system that encourages violence continue?

The issue of respecting and practicing the protection of personal information was also raised this week. The National Authority for the Supervision of Personal Data announced that it is noticed that some officials in central and local public institutions, and some persons, deliberately publish personal data related to the health status of a person or a few people with the mention of persons with their names on social media sites or on the official pages of these institutions.

In this context, the Authority decided to prosecute the mayor of  the municipality of Banan in Monastir, after he published a list of the names of citizens who were infected with Coronavirus and defamed them on the municipality’s page, in addition to not deleting the post despite contacting and informing him that what he did is considered a crime 

Meanwhile, controversy continues over harassment and rape and how to deal with it regarding the respects of women’s rights and the protection of victims. The public opinion has continued to pursue the issue of harassment of the parliamentarian after the removal of the charge of harassment against him. The Voices of Women Association took the procedures against this decision and considered it a wrong decision in its report  to the Supreme Judicial Council about the judiciary’s deliberate delay in the case for political reasons.

Egypt

Political life under repression and weak opposition parties

The Supreme Committee of the Wafd Party decided, on Saturday evening, 09/19/2020, to hold early elections for the party leadership within a month. It also decided to withdraw from the national list for the upcoming parliamentary elections, in the presence of 31 members of the commission out of 60. Although this statement was published in the press, prominent members in the party said contradictory statements about the party’s decision regarding the parliamentary elections.

The division in Al-Wafd Party over participation in the parliamentary elections escalated as a result of the party’s candidate list was passed through the coalition list that includes 12 parties which is led by the Future Nation Party, without presenting it to the supreme committee, and accusations of  lack of transparency to the party’s leader, Bahaa El Din Abu Shuqa. The dispute is due to the control of the Nation’s Future Party, which is supported by the regime. It is supposed that the list of Al Wafd contains 19 names but due to the control of the Nation’s Future Party, just 7 candidates are from Al Wafd party while the other 12 candidates are from the Nation’s Future Party. The domination of the Nation’s Future Party over the electoral scene was clear in the recent Senate elections. The deputy head of the Wafd party, Muhammad Abdo, stated that the party has already withdrawn from the list and from the elections.

Due to the closure of the political climate, the history of the decline of public life in Egypt, and repressing the intermediary organizations, such as parties and civil society organizations, the popular mobility is considered as a headline in the political life in Egypt as a reaction against violations. The regime continues to repress the whole details of the Egyptian citizen.

The human rights bulletin in Egypt: An inventory of repression and the causes of the public anger 

 The security forces arrested an unspecified number of citizens in Al-Basateen neighborhood in Cairo and Al-Badrasheen city in Giza, on the background of clashes with security forces in a limited demonstrations in several places in Egypt, last Sunday, according to sources who spoke with Mada Masr, lawyers and news reports

In Al Basateen, south of Cairo,  people in the neighbourhood said that police and army forces had surrounded the area since Monday, and arrested a number of people, including women and children due to their demonstrations in response to the call of the actor and contractor Muhammad Ali on September 20.

Two sources of the people said that clashes took place between the protesters and the police, on Sunday evening 20/09/2020, in Al-Basateen and some surrounding areas, which caused the injury of two officers and some police cars were also damaged, according to the story of some residents. The security forces arrested some residents of the neighborhood randomly while leaving the area or from their homes. One of the sources added that the Basateen Police station denied the existence of the arrested in the station , when their relatives asked about them. And that some of the station’s employees had given unofficial information indicating that the arrested are  in the National Security Agency

The Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to imprison 25 persons for 15 days pending investigations. Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali published a list of 25 names

A repressive regime and violence is its tool while regulates values and morals 

In  a repressive regime, it is not unusual that power regulates values and morals. The Public Prosecution decided to release Menna Abdel Aziz, the “TikTok” girl, to psychologically rehabilitate after she was sexually assaulted by her friend in one of Al Haram hotels. It is reported that Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered Abd Al-Aziz be transferred from custody to a rehabilitation centre designated for abused women instead From being in custody.

The Tanta economic court upheld a three-year jail in absentia against TikTok influencer Manar Samy on charges of “inciting immorality, debauchery, immoral practices, using social media to spread its videos that are anti-public chastity, with the intention of practicing prostitution”. And the accused had appealed against the sentence, and an EGP 300,000 fine, as well as setting bail at EGP 20,000 to have the sentence suspended pending appeal in case no. 595.

The Cairo Economic Court upheld on Monday a two-year prison sentence and EGP 300,000 fine of Egyptian belly-dancer Sama al-Masry for inciting debauchery and immorality. It is noted that the  First Circuit of the Cairo Economic Misdemeanor Court, headed by Counselor Rami Mansour, had sentenced Sama Al Masry for two years p and EGP 300,000 fine for inciting debauchery and immorality.

On the other hand, the Supreme Administrative Court decided to reject the appeal of the head of the Social Justice Party, Mohamed Abdel-Al, which calls for the cancellation of the National Elections Commission’s decision to open the door to candidacy for Parliamentary elections which shall result in the suspension of elections. It is clear that oppression is a system of interrelated relationships and institutions  that produce and justify oppression in power and society

A repressive regime that defends modesty, morals and values of the society!!

While the regime regulates morality, it uses oppression and perpetuates it in society. For example, the security services of the Dakahlia Security Directorate arrested the student who are accused of raping student Amal and having a child with her.  The Public Prosecution issued a decision to arrest  the accused after the issuance of  the forensic report on the child’s genetic fingerprint which proved that the child is his daughter. Cases of harassment and rape in Egypt are very common, and has become a part of a lifestyle that doesn’t have an end because the reppressive regime is responsible for that

Meanwhile, the policy of the “revolving doors” against the prisoners continues, as the State Security Prosecution detained the trio Walid Shawky, Ayman Abdel Moati and Sayed Al-Banna, on a new case after their release in Case No. 621 of 2018. 

The Terrorist Criminal Court decided to release Abdul Rahman Tariq, nicknamed Mocha, and replace imprisonment with precautionary measures, in Case No. 558 of 2020, of the Supreme State Security. The Fifth Circuit renewed the imprisonment of Ayman Muhammad Ubaid for 45 days pending the case 1739 of 2018 by the  state security and Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim for 45 days pending case 1530 of 2019  by State Security.

The Supreme State Security Prosecution did not differ from others, as it renewed the imprisonment of journalist and researcher Shaima Sami for 15 days pending case no.535 of 2020 by state security without attending before the prosecution.

The Mansoura Criminal Court decided to renew Muhammad Adel’s imprisonment for 45 days pending investigation in Case No. 5606 of 2018.

Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor ordered the imprisonment of the Youtuber Ahmed Hassan and his wife for 4 days, in the report submitted against them by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, due to“terrorizing” their little daughter “Eileen” in a video and exploiting her to profit from publishing offensive videos.

Al Sharkia Terrorism Misdemeanor Court also sentenced defendants to 3 years in prison on charges of possessing inciting pamphlets against the state and holding organizational meetings based on the Minya Al Qamh Police Station’s report No. 1085 of 2020.

ليبيا

The Libyan issue  concentrates in the course of negotiation and consultation among the Libyan parties, under the auspices of the international community. The international and Libyan public opinion paid attention to the announcement of the Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya on Friday to reopen oil installations under the terms that guarantee a fair distribution of its revenues, and to prevent the support of terrorism with oil resources. This has resulted from the convergence of views since the Bouznika negotiations in Morocco, especially on the need to unify the Libyan state institutions and fight corruption.

It is noticed that Haftar’s speech has changed from threatening with confrontation to accepting a peaceful solution with certain conditions and that is considered as an appropriate opportunity to resume negotiations. In his televised speech from his office in Benghazi, he stated that, “All the initiatives that were announced from time to time under the slogan of addressing the crisis and a comprehensive settlement, ended in failure and focused on sharing power without caring for the citizens”

He added, “We have not seen any progress towards a better reality through these initiatives which organized local and international conferences that only have tumultuous welcome”. And he added, “The Libyan crisis faced a foolish political struggle by a group of aspirants for power whatever it costs, even over the present and future of the people.”

A Libyan file which is affected by International files

Haftar threatened military escalation, saying, ” we wouldn’t  leave the gains that our soldiers paid for, there is no place for the colonialists, we would fight to preserve the unity of Libya, and we would not hesitate to offer a compromise beyond that”.

According to some sources, Haftar’s announcement resulted from the conclusion of an agreement between Khalifa Haftar and Ahmed Maiteeq, in Sochi. There are unconfirmed reports about the arrival of the Deputy Prime Minister and the son of Field Marshal Haftar. On Saturday 09/19/2020, Moscow was the first international player to welcome, in a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the agreement between Haftar and Maiteeq, and the formation of a special committee to resolve disputes.

It is noteworthy that the Libyan Oil Corporation  (NOC) has lifted a force majeure, based on the aforementioned agreement. Despite the ambiguity which surrounds the agreement, this announcement seeks to encourage any useful step in moving the Libyan file.

The oil fields that shall be opened according to the Libyan Oil Corporation are:

Four other fields remain closed, including the largest field, which is Ras Lanuf, together with Sharara and Zawiya. The Corporation’s decision is due to the security situation, as it considers that the presence of armed groups, including Wagner’s forces, prevented the re-opening procedure.

According to some sources, Haftar’s announcement resulted from the conclusion of an agreement between Khalifa Haftar and Ahmed Maiteeq, in Sochi. There are unconfirmed reports about the arrival of the Deputy Prime Minister and the son of Field Marshal Haftar. On Saturday 09/19/2020, Moscow was the first international player to welcome, in a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the agreement between Haftar and Maiteeq, and the formation of a special committee to resolve disputes.

It is noteworthy that the Libyan Oil Corporation  (NOC) has lifted a force majeure, based on the aforementioned agreement. Despite the ambiguity which surrounds the agreement, this announcement seeks to encourage any useful step in moving the Libyan file.

In the same context, France tends to support the recent dialogue. The French president has stated that he wants to gather all Libya’s neighbors. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he added: “this is the initiative that France wishes to lead in the coming weeks, with the  presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to call all neighboring countries to reach a solution in Libya. The communication with Libya’s neighbors is vital in the long term”, but the French President did not mention the names of the countries in which he wants to participate in the talks.

Macron had earlier called for sanctions against violators of the arms embargo to Libya, and Paris accused Ankara of violating the arms embargo on Libya. It is a pressure card that has added to the tense atmosphere in parallel with the disputes over exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

The European Operation Irini is considered a military presence in the Mediterranean which moves in parallel with other balances, and does not hesitate to use all legal and political means to pressure the rest of the parties. And Turkey faces that through its own cards.

The Return of Enforced Disappearance in Libya: But Is It Really Over?

On the human rights level, the friends of the activist, Rabei al-Arabi, said that they had lost contact with him, since his disappearance in Benghazi yesterday, when he was participating in the demonstration “Friday of Saving Libya from Corruption and Corruption” which was called by young activists in the city of Benghazi.  And one of his friends said that persons got out of a black car with dark windows and without a license plate,they went towards the activist Rabie al-Arabi, talked with him, and they put him in the car to an unknown destination.

He added that the Ministry of Interior in the Interim Government granted the organizers of the demonstration permission allowing them to demonstrate, but they were surprised when they arrived at the demonstration square as they found  military cars, others without plates, and military and security members deployed in the square. And that some people who are protected by those forces, tried to provoke the demonstrators by shouting with the long live of the General Commander of the Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Rabie Al-Arabi al-Zawi is known as one of the well-known civilian activists in the city of Benghazi, and he was a member of the February coalition in 2011.

Concerning the epidemiological situation in Libya:

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

Last update : 2409/2020 - 15:00

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