Weekly newsletter

The weekly newsletter From the 18th to the 24 December

Egypt

The Parliamentary action: A weak outcome and corruption while the laws of the democratic transition are on the sidelines

The speaker of the Parliament, Ali Abd Al Aal concluded the sessions of the current Parliament which is the first parliament after approving the 2014 constitution. As the Parliament declared the approval of 893 laws, in addition to the constitutional amendments in April 2019, 313 international conventions including the replacement of the Egyptian sovereignty over the two islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, and all that took place during 373 plenary sessions held from January 10, 2016 till yesterday.

The achievements mentioned by Abd Al Aal didn’t include that his Parliament didn’t determine the fate of 3 laws that the constitution :obliged to issue before the end of the legislative term, and they are “Banning of delegating judges to work in the Executive Authority, “transitional justice” and “ the municipalities”

In addition to the three laws, the parliament’s work  also did not address the reasons for ignoring the implementation of a number of judgments of the cassation and criminal courts, to drop the membership of a number of deputies, most notably Sahar Al-Hawari, whose membership, until yesterday, did not issue a decision to drop her membership, although it is currently serving a prison sentence. (Five years) for having committed the crime of “fraudulent bankruptcy” since April 2017.

What happened with Sahar Al-Hawari was repeated with the Representative Khaled Bishr, who recommended a report by the Legislative Committee, in February 2019, to drop his membership, because he borrowed nearly 50 million pounds from banks in exchange for checks without balance, before joining the Parliament, in addition to exploiting his parliamentary immunity to evade of six court rulings to imprison him, which Abdel-Aal did not find sufficient to implement the recommendation of his legislative committee to drop the membership of the deputy, contenting himself with his advice. This was after a lawyer submitted a request to Parliament, last month, to lift the immunity of Bishr because again he used his signature of checks without balance amounting to

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pounds.

Prior to the rulings issued against Al-Hawari and Bishr, Abdel Aal had ignored the implementation of the two judgments issued by the Court of Cassation on June 27 and September 19, 2016 that nullified Ahmed Mortada Mansour’s membership and the right of Amr Al-Shobaki  to the seat of the Dokki and Agouza districts, according to the election result.

In addition to the negative outcome of a legislative authority under the regime’s domination, the European Parliament voted on a resolution condemning the member states ’failure to prohibit the export of any equipment or tools that might be used in” repression “in Egypt, as stated in the decision. The European decision renewed the call for Egypt to the need to search for the truth about the murder of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, stressing that the responsibility for searching for the perpetrators also rests with the European Union.

The decision of the European Parliament called on Cairo to abide by the international resolutions that allow detainees to communicate with their lawyers and their families, which also stipulate that any state should conduct an investigation into any allegations raised regarding ill-treatment or torture inside places of detention.

In particular, it condemned what it described as:

 

"Repression targeting human rights defenders, lawyers, protesters, journalists, children, women, homosexuals, and political opponents."

In a quick reaction, the President of the Arab Parliament, Adel Al Asoumi, the Egyptian Senate and Parliament announced the rejection of the European decision, and the usual argument is internal affairs and sovereignty.

The governmental action: The continuation of tightening and censorship

The Cabinet approved adding a new article to the Penal Code, stating that “anyone who photographed, recorded, broadcast or published or displayed words or pictures  proceedings of a session devoted to hearing a criminal case while it is being held by any means, without the permission of its head,  shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than a year and a fine of not less than one hundred thousand pounds and not exceeding two hundred thousand pounds, or one of these two penalties, after the approval of the Public Prosecution, the accused person, the plaintiff, or the representatives of either of them. And ruling for confiscation of devices or other devices that may have been used in The crime, or what resulted from it, or its erasure or destruction, as the case may be. 

It is an amendment that appears as a protection to the privacy of the accused persons, but it lays down a further tightening on the freedom of the media, especially since the basic principle in Egyptian law is that the sessions are public.

The Constitutional Court The appointments of the president and the limited presence of women

Regarding the presidency of the republic, the official gazette published the President’s decision to appoint three deputy heads of the Supreme Constitutional Court, including the Dean of the Faculty of Law of Helwan University, Fatima Mohamed Ahmad Al-Razzaz, thus becoming the second judge to occupy this position after Chancellor Tahani Al-Jabali, who left the formation of Court in 2012.

For her side, Omnia Gad Allah, founder of the “platform is her right” campaign, considered the appointment of Al Razzaz a good step, as she is the only female judge among 15 judges in the court, and the second after Tahani Al-Jabali, who was appointed to the “Supreme Constitutional” in 2003. Indicating that there is another judge on the body of commissioners of the Constitutional Court, but she does not issue judgments and does not sit on the judgement’s platform.

Despite the positive appointment of Al-Razzaz from her point of view, Gad Allah believed that: “It is normal for judges to get promoted in the judicial track, starting with the Public Prosecution and the State Council,” which are the two bodies in which there are no women, according to Gad Allah.

Other than Al-Razzaz, the President’s Decision No. 695 of 2020 included the appointment of: Counselor Khaled Ahmed Raafat Dessouki, a member of the Supreme Administrative Court of the State Council, and Judge of the Court of Cassation, Alaa Eddin Ahmed Al-Sayed, as deputy heads of the Constitutional Court, raising the number of court judges to 15, according to Al-Shorouk, which indicated that the recent appointments are the first application of Article No. 193 of The constitution, after being amended in April 2019. that granted the President of the Republic the power to appoint vice-presidents of the Constitution as he chooses each one from the two candidates as the General Assembly nominates one of them and the second one is nominated by the second head of the court.

The Human Rights Bulletin: Inferiority and violence against Christian minorities and activists continue

An Egyptian court decision acquitted three people of accusations of stripping an elderly Coptic woman in 2016 of her clothes, sparked angry reactions on social media, especially among human rights activists.

To express their sympathy and support for the elderly lady, Egyptians released several hashtags, which topped the lists of the most frequently discussed topics for many hours. The most prominent hashtag was “forgive us” The participants in the hashtag called for justice for the woman, and to reconsider what was described as “the unfair ruling, which may promote the idea of ​​using women’s bodies as a means of punishment and revenge,” according to them.

On the other hand, the Public Prosecutor directed to re-examine the different kinds of appeal to the judgment of acquittal of the accused persons, in the case of the stripping of the woman, known in the media as” the lady of Al Karm”

The judiciary continues raising controversy by its rulings that breach the law as the State Security Prosecution re-accused the imprisoned political activist Mohamed Adel, interrogated him in a new case and decided to imprison him for 15 days under charges of financing a terrorist group and hold meetings with terrorist leaders in prison. The lawyer, Nabeh El Genady said that the State Security Prosecution charged Adel with joining a terrorist group with his knowledge of that, spreading its goals and commiting a crime of financing terrorism. 

The imprisoned political activist Mohamed Adel

It is noted that this is the thirst case against Mohamed Adel as he was arrested on June 18, 2o18 from Aga Police station after finished his surveillance. He was interrogated in case No.5606 of 2018 Aga administration and after 3 months he was interrogated in a new case in Sherbin Prosecution with the same charge of the new case which is spreading false news, and the prosecution decided to imprison him for 15 days that would start after finishing the first case.

Adel had exceeded the legal pre-trial detention period of 24 months, as he completed two years in June, and his lawyer demanded his release, but this was not implemented. 

The State Security Prosecution renewed Kamal Al-Balshi’s imprisonment on paper without appearing before the prosecution for 15 days pending investigations in case No. 880 of 2020 by the state security. 

On another level, Mahmoud Kamel, a member of the Journalist Syndicate Council, said that a security force had arrested the journalist Aamer Abdel Monaem Saturday evening from his home, adding that a security force arrested him from his home at 12 am and he was taken to an unknown place. Kamel Pointed out that he was the managing editor of Al Shaab newspaper and he was brought before the Supreme State Security Prosecution which decided to imprison him for 15 days pending investigations in case No.1017 of 2020 after charging him with “spreading false news, joining a terrorist group in achieving its goals”.

The journalist Aamer Abdel Monaem

 : The martyrs of doctors

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martyrs according to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate

Tunisia

The parliamentary and governmental action: Crises, corruption and speeches returns the idea of the national dialogue

At the Assembly’s level, the Tunisian General Labor Union, in an official letter to the speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, Racheed Al Ghannouchi, on Monday December 21, 2020, presented its proposed initiative to overcome the crisis towards new national alternatives. Previously, it presented its initiative to the Presidency of the Republic. Although the initiative may remind with the national dialogue since 2013, it confirms the failure of the institutions and parties in managing the political crisis that becomes greater due to other crises.

 As for the governmental action, due to the impact of the recent events related to the Italian wastes, the prime minister, Hecham Al Mechichi decided to exempt the minister of local affairs and environment, Moustafa Al Orwa from his duties and assign the minister of equipment, housing and infrastructure, Kamal Al Doukh, to supervise the ministry of the local affairs and environment. Following the same events, the prime minister authorized a comprehensive audit in the environmental sector.

As  on Tuesday morning, December 22, 2020, the prime minister, Hecham Mechichi met, in the cabinet’s palace in Kasbah, the head of the General Financial Supervision Authority, the head of the General Supervision of the State’s Properties and the head of State’s Auditors Authority in the presence of the Secretary General of the Government. 

During this meeting, he authorized the heads of the state’s higher control bodies to launch a deep and comprehensive audit mission for the ministry of environment and local affairs, the establishments and institutions affiliated to the environmental sector, after reviewing all the previous monitoring reports which included the sector during the recent years, in order to determine the extent of commitment with its observations and recommendations. The prime minister stressed that the state’s approach to consolidating the principles of good governance and preserving the public funds must be an objective and professional approach that doesn’t have any other considerations.

The customs confirmed that the ministry of environment gave the permission to bring these wastes to Tunisia The number of the arrested persons in this case is raised to 23 persons including the minister of environment and a number of directors in the ministry. Earlier, the investigating judge at the Sousse 1 Court of First Instance had issued 3 orders to imprison the dismissed Minister of Environment, Mustafa Laroui, the director of the National Agency for Waste Recycling, and the Evaluation Director of the Ocean Conservation Agency.

Concerning the presidential appointments  the President of the Republic, Kais Saeied decided to end the duties of the head of the Supreme Authority for Administrative and Financial Supervision, Kamal Al-Ayadi, and to appoint former Defense Minister Imad bin Muhammad Al-Hazqi as his successor.

On Monday December 21, during heading a meeting of the supreme council of the armies at the Carthage palace, Kais Saeied considered that the protests are “ a normal phenomena and similar to the protests of December 2010 as the demands remained the same and didn’t change. He said: “ today,  the Tunisian people raise the same demands which are freedom, national dignity which is considered a failure in the social and economic alternatives, and an evidence that what was achieved during this decade wasn’t the safest for Tunisians”.

In addition, the president of the republic reminds once again of the duality of legitimacy and legality, but the hiddenness of his speech remains more important as he still confirms the existence of conspiracies and betrayals at home without more details or identifying those involved ones.

The justice facility is in a complete suspension due to the failure to reach an agreement

In a follow-up to the judges’ strike that continues to this day without new news, on Friday morning, December 18, 2020, at the Government Palace in Kasbah, the final agreement was signed between the Prime Minister, represented by its General Secretary Walid Al Dhahabi, and the Tunisian Judges Association represented by its president, Anas Al-Hammadi.

The agreement stipulates:

Meanwhile, the strike continues without actually focusing on the problem of interference in the judiciary and the politicization of the bodies associated with it, especially the Supreme Judicial Council.

The municipal work: No parties and more independants

Following up to the news of the partial municipal elections in Kondar town and commune in the Sousse Governorate, the teams of the Independent Electoral Commission for Elections in Sousse, last Sunday evening, completed the counting of the votes of the voters in the partial municipal elections in the municipality of Kondar, after completing the processes of collecting the preliminary counting minutes and counting the papers of the voters who participated in these Elections at a general rate of 585, according to what was confirmed by the commission’s regional coordinator, Afaf Jagham Louat.

The vote counting operations, according to the same source, resulted in:

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The Zaitouna’s lis
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The list of the hope’s boat
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The lists of the Free and the rising of Kondar and the star
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Lists of Kondar First, The Mostaqbal, Al Noor, Al Tayyara, Al Ittihad, Al Yasmine and Awlad Ame

In these partial municipal elections, 19 independent lists competed for 18 municipal council seats in Kondar. What is noticed at the level of local work is the absence of parties and the dominance of independent lists, despite reports that some independent lists enjoy partisan support.

The terrorist threat is again, and the health threat continues

This week, a treacherous terrorist operation took place in Douar Al Soltaniyeh on the evening of Sunday, December 20, in which the young “Oqba Al Dhibi” was killed, who was slaughtered  deplorably by the terrorists. It is noteworthy that this operation is not the first of its kind, as this region has previously witnessed similar operations that claimed the lives of Mabrouk and Khalifa Al-Sultani. Once the perpetrators of the two murders of the Sultani brothers were arrested or eliminated, the remnants of the terrorist groups “ISIS” in Jebel Mghila and Salloum continued to target the defenseless residents who did not obey their blackmail or threats.

With the deterioration of the health situation in the country, the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronavirus held a press conference on Tuesday December 22, 2020 to inform the citizens about the latest developments in the health situation in the country. In the press conference, it announced its decisions  for the coming period, mainly to continue the curfew until January 15, to ban New Year’s celebrations, and to continue to prevent movement between cities. the prime ministry had decided the same decisions in its regular meeting.  These decisions remain useless in light of the lack of respect for the procedures and the failure of the state to provide the necessary capabilities to confront the virus despite the large funds.

On the human rights level, economic and social rights remain the most important for large sectors of Tunisian society, but they were not consolidated in the absence of a truly just and comprehensive development. And it is noted in all the popular protests that have become more violent. A group of young men in the Zanoush district of Gafsa governorate, seized a group of passing trucks and took their drivers as hostages for days to force the government to negotiate with them and respond to their demands. Violence continues due to oppression, and the economic and social injustice that does not find peaceful ways to be corrected  in light of the state’s failure.

The sit-in at the industrial zone in Skhira was renewed by the protesters demanding employment and development, as this industrial station in Al-Skheira has the storage depots for oil companies to supply the distribution stations in the south and some areas of the center. These companies refused to bear the additional transportation costs to secure Sfax with the fuel from La Goulette, Bizerte and Zarzis depots, besides waiting problems with the Ministry of Industry regarding providing support for the transportation of fuel when supplying stations from outside the Al-Skhira warehouse. This led to a large percentage of the petroleum distribution stations in Sfax, about 60%, to stop providing their services to customers, after they became out of service due to the depletion of their fuel stocks after the oil supply stopped for the third day in order. It was also confirmed that all kinds of fuel were about to run out from the filling stations in the various delegations of Kasserine.

 

Libya

The Libyans receive their 69th independence feast under an overlapped political situation and a fragile military situation despite the great efforts of the UN Mission in Libya in order to bring the views of the Libyan parties closer over the past weeks and the long rounds of dialogue that took place in more than one capital and city around the world. The road seems long and bumpy in order to restore the state under regional and foreign interventions which dominate the Libyan resolution and increase the complicated public situation inside the country.

The economic and political dialogue: A gradual progress

Previously, the Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Stephanie Williams announced that the formation of the legal committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum has been reached The Legal Committee informs the Forum about the progress of the discussions every two weeks. It is also responsible for providing advice to the forum on legal issues related to the necessary legal framework to implement the elections on December 24, 2021. The Acting Special Representative also welcomed the implementation by the Government of National Accord of its commitments to the High National Elections Commission, as the Commission confirmed today that it has received 50 million Libyan dinars in preparation for the national elections.

On December 21, 2020, the work of the legal committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum began in a video-conference meeting. The legal committee which includes 18 members from the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, aims at following up the discussion of the Constitutional Committee that is formed from the House of Representatives and the Supreme State’s Council, and presenting the recommendations in order to help including the appropriate constitutional proposal/proposals that lead to the national elections.

On the local level, Ms. Williams described the municipal elections in Al Zawiyah Al Gharbiya and Al-Rajban that took place today as  “another excellent sign”. She indicated that this is considered a confirmation for the strong Libyan desire in choosing their representatives on the local and national level in a democratic way.

ستيفاني وليامز
the UN Secretary General, Stephanie Williams

The Acting Special Representative urged the members of the legal committee and the different parties in Libya generally to make all necessary measures to make rapid progress, “and avoid stopping in the small sub-issues that don’t have any value except causing a deliberate suspension and delaying the aspirations of the Libyan People”.

Regarding the economic working group, it included representatives of major Libyan institutions, from the two branches of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, the Audit Bureau and the National Oil Corporation, and members of the Libyan Economic Experts Committee, headed by Egypt, the European Union and the United States. The economic path is based on 3 committees: The Banking Committee that is approaching the division in the banking system, the Committee for the Distribution of Public Revenue and the Management of Public Fund, and the Committee for Reconstruction and Development.

Regarding the meeting of the economic group, the UN statement indicated to continue facilitating the process of international auditing of the accounts of both branches of the Central Bank of Libya. The financial auditing process is now roughly halfway, describing it as a vital process that aims at facilitating the reunification of the central bank and fully re-establishing the national accountability mechanisms.

According to the statement, Williams expressed “”the hope that in the next two days an agreement would be reached on concrete goals on issues of currency reform, the cheques settlement crisis, the banking crisis in general, and the unification of the budget, as well as on a clear timetable for the measures that must be taken to implement these reforms”.

In a context related to the work of the mission, the United Nations announced that the Bulgarian diplomat, Nikolai Mladenov, apologized for the position of the United Nations special envoy to Libya, and the UN spokesman said on Tuesday that Mladenov informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, that he would not take over the position of the special envoy to Libya “for personal and family reasons”,  and last week the UN Security Council approved Guterres’s proposal to appoint Mladenov as a new envoy to Libya, and to appoint the Norwegian tor wennesland as a new envoy to the Middle East.

Militarily, the situation in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, seems confusing and liable to explode at any moment, especially after the controversial arrival of Haitham Al Tajouri (formerly the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade) who had left for the UAE during the recent Tripoli war, and many personalities accused him of betraying the trust and escaping from the battlefield except He has returned to Tripoli, and it seems that a new alliance is forming in the western region to restore the balance of power inside it after the war.

On the contrary, “the Libyan National Army” led by field marshal Khalifa Haftar, said in a statement on Wednesday, December 23, 2020, that it monitored a great mobilization for militias in Western Misurata. And the General Command of the Army published a statement on its official page on “facebook”, stating: “At a time when the General Command of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces affirms its commitment to the ceasefire and the implementation of the outcomes of the 5 + 5 Military Committee. And in response to the requirements of the international community and the efforts of the good Libyans, today we have observed a large mobilization of criminal and expiatory militias armed with advanced Turkish weapons and thousands of mercenaries and foreign fighters in the Hisha, Qaddahiyah, Zamzam and all of eastern Misrata, raising the level of their readiness and threatening to attack the areas of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces in Sirte and Jufrah and the matter reached to threaten the entire East

The Libyan army stressed that this is a clear violation of the principles of the ceasefire and the outcomes of the understandings to take practical steps on the ground to reinforce a permanent ceasefire and to implement the Geneva Declaration of the 5 + 5 Military Commission sponsored by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya into practical measures that contribute to the Libyan crisis is resolved. And it stated that it is still monitoring and following up the movements, warning against taking any escalatory and provocative steps in the region. The Libyan forces also published videos showing the mobilization of militias around the ceasefire line.

In a related context, the Turkish parliament approved, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, a request from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extend the work of Turkish military forces in Libya for a period of 18 months.

The Turkish parliament said, through its Twitter account, that “the presidency’s request to extend the mandate to send military forces to Libya for a period of 18 months was approved. This comes after the Turkish presidency submitted, earlier, a memorandum to the parliament presidency, to extend the tasks of its forces in Libya for an additional 18 months. And  the memorandum, signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, indicated that the efforts initiated by Libya after the events of February 2011 to build democratic institutions were in vain due to the armed conflicts that led to the emergence of a fragmented administrative structure in the country.

 On the human rights level, theGeneral Authority for Research and Identification of Missing Persons announced, last Wednesday, that three unidentified bodies were recovered from two cemeteries that were recently discovered in Al Rabt project in the city of Tarhuna. The three bodies were discovered by one from the first cemetery, and two from the second cemetery, which raises the number of newly recovered bodies to four. And the Commission’s teams were able to discover two new graves in the area of ​​Al Rabt project in the city of Tarhuna.

With regard to the latest developments in the spread of the virus in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya :
Last update : 24/12/2020 - 15:00
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