A video clip on social network shows the “medical negligence” of the hospital and the lack of oxygen for Corona patients inside the intensive care unit, which led to their deaths, sparked controversy and discontent among the Egyptian public opinion.
On the other hand, Dr. Mamdouh Ghorab, the governor of Ash Sharqia Governorate, denied what happened and said that it is not truth that 7 cases of Coronavirus patients died in Al Husseiniya Central Hospital due to lack or out of oxygen from the hospital, indicating that “the number of the dead is only 4 cases and they were on ventilators, and that the death is natural as a result of their deterioration due to infection with the Coronavirus, and that they have chronic diseases. Despite this statement, there is a conflict about the numbers, but the main one is the human tragedy that occurs under the neglect of the Egyptian state.
The victims’ families had another opinion, as Gamal Mahfouz said that his father did not suffer from any chronic diseases or a severe deterioration in his health, continuing:
On the other hand, judicial sources said that the Public Prosecution decided to summon the director of Al Hassania Hospital in Ash Sharqia, 3 doctors and 4 nurses to ask them about what happened inside the intensive care room, in order to investigate the death of 5 people infected with the Coronavirus.
The sources said that the prosecution summoned hospital and intensive care room officials to find out what happened, without filing any charges so far. The prosecution requested the appointment of a medical committee to explain what happened and the validity of the oxygen deficiency in the hospital.
According to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate page, the number of victims among doctors in combating Corona virus has reached :
The Human Rights Bulletin: Repression is an assault to human rights and Egypt
The Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, condemned in a statement the statements of his Ethiopian counterpart, which according to the ministry, “touched upon the Egyptian internal affairs,” a day after the Egyptian Foreign Ministry summoned the Ethiopian Chargé d’Affaires to Cairo to provide clarifications about those statements.
The statements that angered Cairo came during the weekly press conference of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which the ministry’s spokesman, Dina Mofti said that Egypt had turned Ethiopia into the existing danger and that it would cause Egyptians to thirst and starve, with the aim of escaping from its local problems, which reflects the depth of the Egyptian local crisis, as he put it.
he problems referred to by Mofti related to some of the international criticism that Egypt faces in its handling of the human rights situation. Addressing journalists, he said,
Mr Dina Mofti
You know how the former Egyptian president [Mohamed Morsi] died in court, and inside Cairo there is a closed area which is tens of times larger than the largest market in Ethiopia where thousands of Islamists were detained in.”
The Egyptian official authorities rejected this rejected statement, according to what they said as it touched the Egyptian sovereign, but the reaction of the regime was expected. This response reflects the absence of human rights from the regime’s vision, as the violations are a real and tangible reality, and the repeated violations against them are what allowed Ethiopia, and later Italy, to offer lessons and sermons about it, in an insult to the Egyptian people and to Egypt.
The Egyptian “Public Prosecution” stated that it continued the investigations regarding what was sparked by the investigating authority from accusing 4 police officers and a policeman from “the National Security sector” of the murder. The investigations ended up excluding all that was attributed to them, describing it that all suspicions presented by the Italian investigating authority had come as a result of wrong conclusions. It is neither accepted by logic nor in agreement with internationally established criminal legal rules and basic principles of law, which require the availability of evidence with certainty and absolute certainty of the right of suspects to be criminally prosecuted, and not relying on suspicions that do not rise to the level of evidence or even indirect leads.
On the other hand, Reuters quoted the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the statements of the Egyptian Attorney General regarding the murder of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni are “unacceptable”. As well as their assertion of their full confidence in the work of the Italian judiciary, in a comment from the ministry on the statement of the Egyptian Public concerning the murder of Regeni.
The Italian Foreign Ministry indicated that it will continue to work on several fronts, including the European Union, “until the truth about the brutal murder of Regeni appears,” adding that it hopes that the Egyptian Attorney General will share this need to show the truth and provide the necessary cooperation with the Attorney General in Rome.
Regarding human rights, some judicial directions seem positive regarding women’s rights. The Appellant Misdemeanor Court in Benha, headed by Counselor Ahmed Wissam Qandil, decided to refer Articles No.274 and No.276 of the Penal Code to the Supreme Constitutional Court, because they include discrimination against married women in the punishment for adultery, and they are not equal to the husband in punishment if he commits the same crime. They stressed that Islamic Sharia did not differentiate between male and female adultery in punishment or evidence.
The court stated in the reasons of its ruling that was issued on December 16, which the court revealed its reasons two days ago, that the legislator made a distinction between a man and a woman in the crime of adultery without a legal or objective justification for this distinction based on sex only in violation of the articles of the constitution and Islamic Sharia. Ali pointed out that the court noted that the provisions of the penal code relating to the punishment for the crime of adultery were taken from the old French Penal Code issued in 1810, which was repealed by the French legislator in 1975, while the Egyptian legislator adhered to it without a legal or constitutional justification.
The Penal Code differentiates between the husband’s adultery and wife’s adultery in several points. The husband is not punished unless he committed adultery in the marital home only. It punishes the wife if she commits adultery anywhere. The penalty for an adulterous husband is six months imprisonment. While the punishment for an adulterous wife is two years imprisonment.
However, on a related level, and in the judicial matter, the flow of unfair rulings against activists of various backgrounds continues. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms announced that the Engineer Ibrahim Ezz El-Din, the researcher, has been re-accused 5 days after the decision to release him, in a new case No.1018 of 2020 State Security. This comes after 5 days of illegal detention since the Cairo Criminal Court decided to release him on December 27.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution decided to renew the imprisonment for 15 days against tens of detainees in cases No.880 and 960 of 2020 by the State Security which were known as “the incidents of September 20”.
As for workers’ rights, security forces arrested at least ten workers from the Delta Fertilizer Company of the Holding Company for Chemical Industries, including the elected member of the workers in the Board of Directors, including four members from the Trade Union Committee, and five workers. This arrest took place due to the continuous sit-in in the company since a month to protest its liquidation, according to Abd Al Samai Ghaith stated to “Mada Masr” who is a former member of the union committee at the company, which includes 2,500 workers.
Abdul Samai said that the arrests took place at the homes of the arrested persons, explaining that
“by the end of the week, it was natural for some workers to try to return to their homes to catch a breath, and to meet their families after a continuous month of sit-in at the company,”. He noted that “ it is possible also that the arrests included some other workers and it was not possible to communicate with them,however this has not been confirmed until now."
In addition, the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Cairo decided to imprison eight workers of the Delta Company for Chemical Industries and Fertilizers “Samad Talkha” for a period of 15 days pending investigation, according to a member of the trade union committee of the company who said to “Mada Masr”, demanding not mentioning his name. He added that the charges against workers are still unknown and that the arrest was due to the continuous sit in for more than a month, protesting the liquidation decision of the company affiliated to the Holding Company for Chemical Industries.
In addition, the Cairo Criminal Court decided to renew the imprisonment of the journalist Khalid Dawood for 45 days pending investigations under charges of spreading false news. The accused persons in case no.488 of 2019 the Supreme State Security Prosecution, face charges of committing crimes by joining a terrorist group in achieving its goals, receiving funds for a terrorist purpose, gathering and using private accounts on the international information network in order to commit a crime that is punishable by law in order to disturb the public order.
The receive 2021 with a clear obstacle in the path of the political dialogue which is under the auspices of the UN Mission in Libya in light of great concerns from the return of armed conflict in case of the collapse of the existing political dialogue currently. These concerns are reinforced by military build-ups in the border regions between the 2 conflicting parties in Libya, especially in Sirte which is considered the borderline between the 2 powers. As a result, many observers of the Libyan issue expect that the international community will intervene to create a buffer zone with the presence of an international force in order to ensure the ceasefire agreement to not be collapsed.
Politically, the Acting Deputy Head of the UN Mission, Stephanie Williams held the first meeting of the consultative committee of the political dialogue forum in order to discuss the tasks of the committee and the timeline of its work. During the session that was held via video call, Williams confirmed that the committee will work for two weeks to produce and make recommendations to address the disagreement concerning the mechanism of choosing the executive authority, the procedures of naming its members, presenting recommendations concerning the candidature and building consensus among the members of the forum. And she considered that as an opportunity that should be taken to push the political dialogue.
The Libyan file: The dialogue and the overconcern of war
In a related context, the legal committee which consists of 18 members of the forum of the political dialogue, held its third virtual session in which a number of the council’s members shared proposals for the constitutional arrangements of the national elections. The proposals included a set of choices that aim to facilitate the implementation of the road map which was agreed upon by the members of the forum of the Libyan political dialogue mid November 2020.
In the meeting, the election’s team in the UN Support Mission in Libya, presented a brief that shades light on the necessary sequence and the timebound milestones related to the constitutional arrangements to hold national elections on the agreed date on December 24, 2020.
In addition, the UN confirmed through the Spokesperson of the High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy to contribute in the Libyan issue, commenting on the news concerning the presented proposal by the General Secretary of the UN, Antonio Guterres regarding creating a mechanism to oversee ceasefire in Libya with international participation.
In this framework, it was confirmed that the EU works within the framework of Berlin’s operation and under the banner of the UN to help in finding a solution for the Libyan conflict. The European contribution in particular is evolving through “IRENI” operation which was established after Berlin’s conference and it works to monitor implementing the UN’s resolutions concerning amrs embargo to Libya.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, earlier proposed the formation of an international observer committee to support the truce in Libya, amid hopes for the imminent exit of foreign fighters and turning the country over the page of a ten-year war. In a message directed to the membering countries in the Security Council, Guterres demanded the formation of a monitoring group consisting of civilians and retired military personnels from international bodies such as the African Union, EU and the Arab League. In a letter, on Tuesday, December 28,2020, Guterres said according to what was reported by “France Press”.
In a letter of Guterres
“ i call all relevant international,regional and local bodies to respect the outputs of cease fire agreement and ensure its implementation without any delay”,
The political path moves in parallel with the continuous concern of the field’s change and the military balance that occurs by the international pressure till now.
The ceasefire agreement is in effect in the field, after the Libyan parties agreed, on October 23, to a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of all military units and armed militias from the fighting fronts, as well as the departure of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya, within 90 days. This could coincide with the recent invitation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Earlier, Major General Ahmed Al Mesmari, a spokesman for the General Command forces, announced that the United Nations would deploy international observers to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire. Al Mesmari said that the force of the Un in Sirte is to observe ceasefire and it consists of civilians and retired military personnels which is not a military force. He added that removing foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya requires a real will from the international community. He indicated that the existence of mercenaries and foreign forces on our lands threatens the future of reconciliation in Libya.
The Libyan Joint Military Committee (5 + 5) recently started implementing its decisions within the outcomes of the ceasefire agreement, as it carried out prisoner exchanges, but the militias are stumbling in the implementation of the rest of the provisions, especially opening the coastal road linking Sirte and Misurata. And that the United States embassy, the United Nations mission and the European Union mission threatened the persons who impede peace and the ceasefire agreement, to pursue them with international sanctions. However, Ankara, the biggest supporter of the militias, rejects the agreement and has numerous and continuous violations of it.
Meanwhile, some initiatives centered around neighboring countries haven’t seen the light and there is an intention to strengthen them. This is what was revealed by Umayya Al Siddiq, the special advisor for North Africa and West Asia at the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, regarding an agreement with Algeria on an initiative that would be based on geographical reality, meaning that its main focus be on neighboring countries. And he said on a media statements, the necessity “to unify the efforts among the neighboring countries, and he said: “We are in a very critical and important moment, in case the political path doesn’t bring its fruits this time, the Libyans will lose their confidence in this path, thus the return of military choices will deepen the crisis. He warned from the existence of “international parties” in which he indicated “their gambling on the division to deepen the crisis in Libya.
The Center for Humanitarian Dialogue sponsored, between the 7th and 9th of September, a consultative meeting between a number of Libyan personalities in the Swiss city of Montreux, during which the participants agreed on a time limit of a year and a half, to prepare for the parliamentary and presidential elections, according to a constitutional framework to be agreed upon. And according to the agreement, this period begins with the restructuring of the Presidency Council, the establishment of a government of national unity that represents all, and that it devotes its efforts to providing services and creating the necessary conditions for holding national elections.
The participants reached several recommendations, including the transfer of the headquarters of the main government and parliament to Sirte and the formation of the executive authority from a presidential council consisting of a president and two deputies, and from an independent national unity government from the Presidency Council. The Speaker of the House of Representative, Counselor Aguila Saleh, welcomed the outcomes of the consultations in the Swiss city of Montreux.
He said that it was agreed that “each of the three regions of Libya would separately choose its representative in the Presidential Council, consisting of a president and two deputies, through electoral complexes. It was also agreed that Sirte would be the headquarter of the legislative and executive institutions, and the Central Bank of Libya, during the preliminary stage for a comprehensive solution so that the new authorities could practice their work, given the geographical location of the city, which mediates the country. Without forgetting in the meantime the Russian role that maintains its presence through various statements and visits.
Militarily, there is news about a mobilization between two groups affiliated with the Government of National Accord and the General Command forces led by General Khalifa Haftar in the city of Sabha, in southern Libya, without direct clashes between the two sides.
On the other hand, “Nova” agency reported that the city of Sabha witnessed an armed clash between the two groups, and the agency quoted local sources as saying that the clash occurred due to a dispute between the two forces about the presence of traffic congestion in front of the headquarters of the army force which was caused by the force affiliated with the Government of National Accord. The sources mentioned that the clash Which lasted for a short time did not result in any injuries, and the clash ended after the army’s battalion of the army took control of the headquarters behind the Red Crescent in Sabha which was controlled by the group of GNA. The Libyan National Army controls most of the southwestern regions of Libya, however some armed tribal groups are still with loyalties to the Government of National Accord in Tripoli..
The Alarm Phone is not a rescue number, but an alarm number to support rescue operations.
We ourselves cannot rescue anyone; we are not in the area and do not have boats or helicopters. If you are in distress at sea or are experiencing a pushback
From the Libyan shores, a humanitarian tragedy of immigrants begins.
At the human rights level, the Kufra Security Directorate announced that the counselor in the Gallo District Court, Mustafa Lendi, and his family had been found after losing contact with him since December 25, after he left his hometown in Kufra on his way to his workplace in Gallo. The directorate confirmed that “the Sobol Al Salam Brigade – after strenuous efforts and the joint desert patrols between the army and the police – found the counselor, Mustafa Lendi, inside the Egyptian territories after he lost his way due to taking a desert path”, according to a statement published by the Ministry of Interior of the Interim Government on its Facebook page. The directorate indicated that Lendi and his entire family are in good health.
It is noteworthy that the Libyan Association for Members of the Judicial Bodies called for the search for Judge Mustafa Lendi, after he and his family disappeared on Friday, December 25.
On the humanitarian level, Malta refused to disembark 56 children in its ports, among them a large number unaccompanied with their families, after the rescue of 169 secret migrants in the Libyan search area, while other children were rescued in Maltese waters on the board of other boats.
The Spanish refugee rescue ship Open Arms has rescued :
ust 20 minutes before the end of last year, the crew rescued another :
After receiving another report from the refugee relief hotline, the Spanish rescue ship found another wooden boat carrying 96 people approximately 100 miles from Malta and 50 miles from the Italian island of Lampedusa and despite rescue operations in the search and rescue area in Malta, the coordinator said Search and rescue in “Open Arms”, Esther Campus, for the British newspaper “Morning Star” The Maltese authorities refused to assume responsibility for the rescue and their assistance. She added: «So we are now trying to reach Italy. We send them all medical reports on the situation on a plane and wait for a response. However, we still do not know whether we will get a solution soon or not. The official of the rescue ship continued that “neither Christmas nor New Year nor even the Corona pandemic will stop desperate people from fleeing war-torn Libya across the sea. In a previous statement, 11,265 refugees and migrants were rescued or intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard, as they were returned to the country during 113 operations in 2020.
The chaos of Parliamentary action: Is the solution is to amend the rules of procedures?
On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, the Assembly held a plenary session to consider and approve the bill related to revise and complete the Assembly’s rules of procedure. The most prominent proposed amendments concerning ending the special committees, stressing the procedures related to the absence of the representatives and limiting the change of blocs by the representatives or what is called “the partisan tourism”, in addition to the procedures related to immunity.
Regarding tightening penalties on the absence of the representatives, the bylaws committee will suggest on the plenary session to tighten the penalties on the recorded absences on the plenary sessions and committees by reducing the minimum number of absence in the sessions and increasing the deduction rate due to the absence, in addition to putting a set of penalties that would be taken by the head of the session and office in this framework.
Regarding facing “the partisan tourism”, the committee suggested that the representative who resigns from his bloc, can’t belong to another bloc in the Assembly.And that whoever resigns from the party in which he won under its banner, he would lose his membership in the Assembly (article 45 new). The new Article No.34 of the bylaw stipulates that every 10 or more representatives have the right to form a parliamentary bloc (instead of 7 representatives currently).
And for more control measures to lift immunity. At the beginning of the parliamentary term, it is not possible for any member of the Assembly to belong to a parliamentary bloc other than the one formed by the party or the electoral coalition in which he won under its banner, and resigning members of the blocs cannot belong to a new parliamentary bloc during the entire term.
The proposal to amend Article 29 of the bylaw related to immunity stipulates that the consideration of lifting immunity is on the basis of the request submitted by the judicial authority accompanied by the necessary support to the Speaker of Assembly. And if the referred file includes what indicates that the representative immunity has been maintained in writing, the president of the council shall immediately refer the file to the internal system committee which undertakes its study and listening to the concerned member.
As for the case in which the file referred by the judicial authority is incomplete, indicating that the representative adheres immunity , the speaker of the Assembly informs the relevant member by any means that leave a written record. The relevant representative should respond in writing within a maximum deadline of 3 days and provide evidence of adherence to immunity in writing or non-adherence. In the absence of a response or a written answer regarding adherence to immunity, the Speaker of the Assembly shall immediately return the file to the judicial authority and consider the representative is not adhering to his immunity.
And in the form of the response that he adheres to immunity and expresses this in a writing letter to the Speaker of the Assembly or one of his deputies, then the document is added to the received file from the judicial authority and referred immediately to the bylaw committee that is in charge of considering it.
Finally, the Bylaw Committee proposed, in the version presented to the plenary session, the end of the special committees and the preservation of the permanent committees with the increase in their number from 9 to 14 and the reduction in the number of members from 22 to 15 members, provided that forming special committees for specific topic or special mission.
The special session to amend the rules of procedure did not pass as scheduled, as it witnessed intense violence and tension. On Tuesday, 5 January, the representative of the Democratic Bloc, Samia Abbou, took the keys of the door of the public session from the cleaning workers, closed it and sat in front of it as a protest from her, as well as the rest of the representatives of the bloc for the failure of Assembly to issue a statement condemning the recent violence by some members of the Dignity Coalition . As well as not to assign a commission to investigate this matter. Therefore, the members of the bloc decided to resume their sit-in and prevent the rest of the representatives from entering the hall in order to resume the working session devoted to revising the Assembly’s bylaw.
On the other hand, the representatives of the Heart of Tunis bloc carried the white badge during the plenary session on Tuesday, December 5, 2020, denouncing the suspension of party leader Nabil Karoui.
The head of the bloc, Osama al Khulaifi, said that the bloc and party members would continue to hold meetings with various national organizations to present the breaches and fallacies contained in the experts’ report related to the Karoui case file, indicating the possibility of approaching international organizations in this regard. Meanwhile, new voices rose from the Long Live Tunisia party to organize premature legislative elections.
Governmental Action: The rivalry among the heads of the Executive Authority and the War of dismissals
In a follow-up to the government work, Prime Minister Hisham Al Mechishi confirmed that he has not yet received the National Dialogue Initiative document and that the dialogue has nothing to do with the ministerial reshuffle.
The sudden dismissal of the Minister of Interior also sparked controversy in political circles and the Tunisian public opinion, as the Prime Minister, Hisham Al Mechishi, decided to exempt Mr. Tawfiq Sharaf Al-Din, Minister of Interior, from his duties, provided that the Prime Minister would supervise the Ministry of Interior, pending the appointment of a new interior minister. It is a decision that raised a lot of surprise and questions, especially since this dismissal was carried out in secrecy in a sudden manner and without mentioning any reasons. Also, Hisham El-Mechichi canceled the decisions of exemptions and transfer which were done by the dismissed Minister of Interior. It became clear later that the reasons for this dismissal were likely to be that the dismissed minister prepared a list of reshuffle in sensitive central and regional security centers without consulting the Prime Minister, the Director General of National Security, the Director General, and the Commander of the National Guard. The dismissals included 27 high-ranking National Security officials and 12 National Guard officials. It is noteworthy that appointments to the highest security posts are among the responsibilities of the prime minister.
It is noteworthy that the President of the Republic, on his visit to the Ministry at the end of last year, was keen to confirm that he is the supreme commander of the military and “security” forces. This shows that the conflict among the authorities is about to be complicated and is expected to take other tracks in the coming period.
Suspicions of corruption against truth and dignity
In a follow-up to the work of the bodies, the head of the Administrative Reform and Anti-Corruption Committee in the Assembly confirmed that there is a fundamental difference between the two reports of the Truth and Dignity Commission and that it therefore intends to challenge these two reports for the existence of clear fraud that would harm the interests of the state. The foregoing represents an ethical and legal dilemma that must be overcome because it represents a blow to the process of transitional justice in itself and its credibility, especially since this period witnessed the launch of a sit-in for the victims of the revolution to demand their rights in light of limited media coverage of such an important event.
In the same context, the President of the Court of Accounts confirmed that the authority had disbursed large sums of money unjustly for new hires and promotions that were made unilaterally by the president of the authority.
Meanwhile, the President of the Republic and other national organizations called for a national dialogue to correct the path of transitional justice. It is another fact that confirms that the politicization and condoning of the path is the reason behind this result, which could lead to evacuate the path of its content and usefulness.
The Municipal action: The local authority to face violence
In the context of monitoring the attacks, the mayor of Al Ula Municipality confirmed that she was subjected to physical and verbal violence by a group of women who forcibly stormed the municipality headquarters. And after the incident it became clear that they were relatives of the family of the two dead children after a fire broke out in their house. Al Fajari added that a municipal employee was assaulted while she was pregnant which led to her transfer to the local hospital in Al Ula, according to her statement. She also confirmed the violent assault on another worker, in addition to smashing some equipment and supplies inside the municipality. On the background of this attack, the municipality officials decided to go on an open-ended strike, starting from Tuesday, to condemn what happened. The mayor denounced that the security forces did not intervene although the center is next to the municipality headquarters.
From the judiciary crisis to the public sector crisis
After the paralysis of the judiciary sector continued for a long time, an agreement was signed on Wednesday, December 30, between the Prime Ministry and the Public University for the employees of the Ministry of Justice, state property and real estate. According to this agreement, the courts will resume work on December 31, 2020.
However, in a related context, a number of agents and employees of the Ministry of the Interior who work at the headquarters of the governorate of Sidi Bouzid and the workers coming from most regions of the region organized a two-hour protest on Tuesday morning, January 5, 2021, in front of the state headquarters, and they raised a number of slogans calling for improving their professional positions. The protesters demanded the enactment of the basic law on intent and the empowerment of some grants to improve their financial and social situation.
The Regional Coordination Council for Urban Workers also called on the President of the Republic, Kais Saeied, on Monday 4 January 2021, in a letter addressed to him, to intervene to settle the situation of workers over the age of 45 and who were not covered by the agreement signed between the government and the labor union. The Council proposed a legislative initiative to enact exceptional provisions for assignment in the public sector to overcome the legal obstacle which was included in Law No. 112 of 1983 dated December 12, 1983, relating to the control of the general law for estate agents, local public groups and public institutions of an administrative nature.