Egypt Opens Jail After UN Report On Inmate Morsi’s Death

A picture taken during a guided tour organized by the Egypt’s State Information Service on November 11, 2019, shows an inmate working at a metalsmithing workshop in Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP

 

Egyptian authorities Monday opened up Tora prison in Cairo for a media tour, following a UN report on the “brutal” conditions in which jailed ex-president Mohamed Morsi was held before his death.

In a rare tour of the sprawling jail complex, journalists were shown an exhibition of furniture made by inmates, a farm with cows and ostriches, and a brief football match between prisoners.

The guided tour comes ahead of a mission to Geneva by Egyptian officials for a review on Wednesday before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

It was arranged in response to a stinging review last week by an independent panel of UN experts that blasted conditions in Tora.

The experts said the death of ousted Islamist president Morsi, who was held in Tora for five years, could amount to a “state-sanctioned arbitrary killing”.

The former president died in June after collapsing in a Cairo courtroom while on trial.

“Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” the experts said in a statement.

His death “after enduring those conditions could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing”, the experts added. They also warned that thousands are at risk of death in the same prison.

On the media tour, abuse charges in Tora were dismissed by politicians and personalities that included for example retired ex-national football goalkeeper turned television pundit Ahmed Shobeir.

“This prison is more of a seaside resort now compared to what it used to be,” Mostafa Bakry, a pro-Sisi parliamentarian, contended.

He told AFP that inmates were treated with dignity, pointing to a newly-mowed football pitch.

On documented allegations of abuse, Bakry said these were foreign-originated charges designed to sow chaos, echoing the common response of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The former head of the army turned president led the military’s ouster of Morsi in 2013.

“Inmates are not sitting in their cells. They can play soccer or exercise and there are a lot of activities for them,” said Alaa Abed, a former policeman and current head of parliament’s human rights committee.

Other senior officials declined to speak on the record during the tour, while AFP was prevented from talking directly with inmates.

The family of prominent human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, who was detained in September, said on social media they were prevented from seeing him Monday because of the media tour.

Rights groups have regularly accused Egyptian authorities of severe violations including torture, overcrowding and medical negligence in jails.

Some 4,000 people, including lawyers, activists, professors and journalists, were detained in a wave of arrests following rare anti-Sisi protests in September, according to local rights groups.

Nigeria, Egypt Face Tough Draw At ITTF Team World Cup

A file photo of Nigerian table tennis star, Aruna Quadri.

 

 

Africa’s representatives at the 2019 ITTF Team World Cup – Nigeria and Egypt have received a tough draw at the tournament.

Both teams will battle world and Olympic champions – China in the first round of the competition holding at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Tokyo, which recently hosted Rugby World Cup to next year’s keenly awaited Olympic Games, Japan is very much at the centre of the sporting world right now as the anticipation and excitement that come with staging the most prestigious sports event of all are certainly not shifting away from these shores.

Before Tokyo 2020 is duly paraded across the nation next summer, there is a very important test event taking place – 2019 ITTF Team World Cup between Wednesday, November 6 and Sunday, November 10.

Twelve of the strongest national associations, in each of the men’s and women’s competitions, are battling for glory, which will also be the venue for next year’s big event and a dress rehearsal for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The roadmap for the first two days of the Team World Cup was confirmed on Tuesday at the draw which split the teams into groups of three with the top two positions of each group proceeding to the knockout rounds.

 

African men champion, Nigeria will play the opening match in Group A against China on November 6 while their second group match will be against Chinese Taipei on November 7.

Aruna Quadri will lead the Nigeria team alongside Olajide Omotayo, Bode Abiodun, Segun Toriola and home-based Azeez Solanke.

Like Nigeria, Egypt will also begin their campaign in Group A against China while their second match will be against Ukraine.

African Games gold medal-winning Egyptian team would be led by the continent’s women singles champion – Dina Meshref, as well as Yousra Helmy.

Others are Farah Abdel-Aziz, Reem El-Eracky, as well as teenage sensation, Marwa Alhodaby.

As first and second seeds in both men’s and women’s competitions – China and Japan are the favourites to meet in Sunday’s finals.

Their strongest challengers among the men’s teams are Germany (thrid) and Korea Republic (fourth), while Chinese Taipei (third) and Hong Kong, China (fourth) are the other top seeds in the women’s team groups.

Egypt Army Reports Killing 83 Militants In North Sinai

 

Egypt’s army said Monday it had killed 83 militants in clashes in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State group affiliate has waged a long-running insurgency.

Security forces “eliminated 77 takfiris”, referring to Sunni Muslim extremists, who were found with stacks of weapons and ammunition in north and central Sinai, the army said.

Six other “highly dangerous” militants were killed in shootouts in the region, the army said in a statement on a nationwide anti-militant operation between September 28 and November 4.

Three soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting, the statement added, without elaborating.

About 61 “criminals, wanted individuals and suspects” were arrested, it said.

Security forces also destroyed dozens of hideouts and vehicles as part of the ongoing operation, according to the statement.

Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants, mainly focused on North Sinai.

The operation also targets other areas including the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.

The latest army figures brings the death toll of suspected militants in the Sinai region to more than 830.

About 60 security personnel have been killed since the start of the offensive.

Following the death of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi late last month, the group’s North Sinai affiliate has pledged allegiance to his successor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi.

Join Us In Calling The World To Take Action Against Boko Haram, Osinbajo Tells Egypt

Osinbajo Proffers Solutions To Challenges Facing Legal Profession In Nigeria

 

A concerted action by countries around the world is crucial towards tackling terrorism in the Sahel region, as well as the challenges posed by Boko Haram and ISWAP in Africa, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo made this call when he received a delegation of members of Egypt’s Parliament (House of Representatives), led by its Honourable Speaker, Dr. Ali Abdel-Aal Sayed Hamad. The delegation also included the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Assem Hanafy Elseify.

Similarly, speaking on behalf of the government of Egypt, Hamad said Egypt shared the same view as Nigeria that concerted efforts was needed to combat terrorism in the Sahel region.

Prof. Osinbajo, who welcomed the delegation on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that Egypt and Nigeria have enjoyed very good relations over the years.

“Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, we’ve always had friendly relations and cooperation with the Republic of Egypt. We know that this very friendly and brotherly relations will continue.”

On the issue of security challenges on the continent, the Vice President urged for more concerted global action to prevent similar escalating situations in some parts of the Middle East as related to ISIS.

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He said, “We would want to urge that Egypt joins us in calling upon the world, the international community, to immediately see the need for a concerted action against Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), and terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, in particular.

“We think that it is time for that kind of concerted action in the Sahel. And with such concerted action, we believe that we can prevent a situation as seen in some parts of the Middle East where damage to lives and livelihoods was done by ISIS.

The Vice President added that the world should not look away and hope that the problem would disappear, unless world powers come together to tackle it.

“Just as was done in Iraq, where the world powers came together to drive out ISIS, that is the sort of cooperation that we should have now to ensure that we’re able to deal with terrorism, especially terrorism in the Sahel,” he said.

Prof. Osinbajo also stated that Nigeria would continue to join hands with Egypt in promoting religious tolerance and tackling extreme poverty and challenges to social inclusion.

The Vice President further said Nigeria is open to Egypt for more investments, especially in the agri-business, agro-allied value chain, and also in light manufacturing and other such areas; just as he equally noted that Nigerian companies, particularly in the financial sector and industrial investments, are willing to do business in Egypt if given the opportunity.

In the same vein, the Egyptian Parliament speaker delivered a personal message from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to President Buhari and the VP, inviting him for the Africa Investment forum and the inaugural Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development in Egypt in November and December respectively.

The Vice President said he would convey the message to President Buhari. He also said President Buhari would be briefed on the request to mediate in the issue between Egypt and Ethiopia over the building of the Renaissance Dam project on the Blue Nile River.

“I would certainly ensure that I convey the strong feelings of the Egyptian government on this point to our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, and I believe that, within the auspices of the AU, we would be able to reach a just and fair conclusion. I’m sure that he would work within the AU to find a solution that is fair to all parties,” the VP stated.

Also, Hamad pledged the full support of the Egyptian government for the candidacy of Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who is running for a second term as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The Vice President had earlier stated that he (Adesina) has done quite well in the first team and that he would do better in the second term.

Speaking further, Hamad noted that, “Egypt and Nigeria are two big nations in Africa in terms of population and capabilities. We also pledge to put our expertise to foster and strengthen economic relations, especially in the economic and energy sector.”

Salah ‘Must Rest’, Says Egypt Coach

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Liverpool and Salzburg at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on October 2, 2019./AFP

 

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah “must rest” and will miss Egypt’s friendly against Botswana on October 14, national team coach Hossam El Badry said Thursday.

The announcement came days after Salah raised eyebrows by changing his Twitter bio to say he only played for Liverpool, removing any mention of his affiliation to Egypt.

Salah finished fourth in the balloting for the FIFA best player award last week, with two of Egypt’s votes rejected by football’s governing body after they were signed in capital letters.

El Badry said he spoke to Salah following a report from the national team doctor on the fitness of the squad’s overseas-based players.

“I agreed with him that it is in his best interests and those of the national team that he rests,” El Badry told local channel MBC Masr.

“He won’t be with us at the training camp for Botswana, but God willing, he will be with us for the official matches.”

Salah scored twice on Wednesday as holders Liverpool defeated Salzburg 4-3 at home in the Champions League group stage.

Salah and the Egyptian FA have butted heads before several times, most prominently when a photo of him was plastered on the squad’s plane ahead of the 2018 World Cup, causing sponsorship problems for the star.

El Badry will take charge of his first match as Egypt coach against Botswana following his appointment last month.

Egypt begin their qualifying campaign for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at home to Kenya in November.

CAF Probes Cancelled Champions League Match In Egypt

File Photo

 

African Football Confederation (CAF) officials confirmed Monday that they are investigating why a CAF Champions League match scheduled for Egypt at the weekend was not played.  

Zamalek of Egypt were due to meet Generation Foot of Senegal in Cairo Saturday in the second leg of the last-32 tie with the west Africans holding a 2-1 aggregate lead.

But Zamalek decided last Friday to move the match to Sunday in Alexandria, a coastal city 220 kilometres (137 miles) northwest of Cairo, citing unspecified “security reasons”.

There were protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last Friday, but they did not prevent domestic league matches being played in Cairo on Saturday.

Generation rejected the new date and venue and turned up Saturday at the original match venue only to be barred from entering the stadium.

Zamalek pitched up at the new venue in Alexandria the following day and the referee waited 15 minutes after the kick-off time before calling off the match.

Senegalese officials insist that, according to CAF rules, a match date and venue can be changed only if both teams agree.

“The relevant CAF bodies and representatives are currently examining the situation and further information and updates will be issued in due time,” a CAF statement said.

Whichever club wins the disputed tie will join 15 others in the October 9 group phase draw and be guaranteed at least $550,000 (500,000 euros) prize money.

The losers drop to the less lucrative second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, where the minimum prize money is $275,000, half that of the Champions League.

AFP

Egypt Kills 15 militants In North Sinai Shootout

 

Egyptian security forces have killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout in restive north Sinai, the interior ministry said Sunday.

A militant group was “planning hostile acts targeting military and police forces…in order to destabilise national security”, the ministry said in a statement.

It did not name a specific group, but said “terrorist elements” had been hiding in a farm in El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.

When forces approached, “the militants shot live rounds forcing troops to deal with them (and) leading to 15 deaths”.

Graphic pictures of the bodies of the alleged militants were sent along with the Sunday press release.

Authorities also said they found a small trove of stashed weapons including an explosive belt, several rifles and an explosive device.

The ministry did not specify when the reported shootout took place, but Sunday’s announcement follows recent military operations in Sinai that authorities say killed 118 suspected militants.

Nine soldiers were killed and one wounded in those “counter-terrorism” operations, a military statement said on Friday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid tribute to the dead personnel in a series of tweets late Friday, describing “terrorism” as a “cancer still trying to kidnap the nation”.

In February 2018, Egypt’s military launched a nationwide offensive against Islamist militants, focused mainly on North Sinai, where the Islamic State group still has a significant presence.

Some 665 suspected jihadists and around 60 soldiers have been killed since, according to official figures.

FIFA Awards: Salah, Egypt FA Fall Out Again

 

Egypt’s football association has asked FIFA for clarification after its vote for national icon Mohamed Salah was dropped from the final tally for the world’s best player award.

The results are based on the votes of national coaches, team captains and members of the press in selecting their top three players of the year.

When FIFA released its results, Egypt was curiously absent from the final vote count.

In comments online blame was aimed at Egypt’s football federation for failing to ensure Salah would be given the maximum chance in all votes, although he eventually finished fourth, 20 votes behind winner Lionel Messi.

Salah hinted at his disappointment through his social media activity, changing his Twitter bio to say he only plays for Liverpool and removing any mention of his affiliation to Egypt.

To add insult to injury, Hany Daniel, the Egyptian journalist in the voting, picked Senegalese forward Sadio Mane, Salah’s Liverpool team-mate, ahead of the Egyptian striker who he relegated to third place behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi won with 46 votes while Salah scored only 26 in fourth.

Salah posted a conciliatory tweet after saying “no matter how much they try to change my love for you and your people”, referring to Egypt, “they won’t be able to”.

Hours after the controversy, the Egyptian Football Association said it had asked FIFA for an explanation about why its vote “was not approved”.

The statement released late Tuesday said the association had sent its votes officially to FIFA on August 15 and they were registered on August 19.

“National team captain Ahmed al-Mohamedi voted while the Olympic team’s manager Shawki Ghareeb voted after the resignation of the coaching staff,” it added.

Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre and the entire board of the association resigned after the country’s abysmal showing in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations that it hosted.

The Pharoahs were knocked out in the second round by South Africa after being dogged by a lack of preparation and a sexual harassment scandal involving player Amr Warda.

Salah and the EFA have butted heads before several times, most prominently when a photo of him was plastered on the squad’s plane ahead of the 2018 World Cup, causing sponsorship problems for the star.

The EFA has been beset with governance issues and was vehemently pilloried by fans for Egypt’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was most recently headed by Hani Abou Rida, a powerful FIFA Council member, who was investigated for a massive corruption case that embroiled senior FIFA officials in 2015.

AFP

Egypt Arrests More Than 1,000 After Anti-Sisi Protests

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo’s downtown on September 20, 2019/AFP

 

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, two rights groups said Wednesday, in the wake of rare anti-government protests last week.

The Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights said 1,003 had been arrested, while the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights reported the figure of 1,298 detained. Two prominent academics were detained on Tuesday, relatives and lawyers said.

Dozens Arrested In Egypt After Anti-Sisi Protests

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo’s downtown on September 20, 2019./ AFP

 

Rare small protests were staged overnight in Cairo and other Egyptian cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, but authorities quickly dispersed them and arrested dozens, a security source said.

Hundreds of citizens took to the streets late Friday to protest, chanting slogans including “Leave, Sisi!” and holding up placards.

At least 74 were arrested overnight, a security source told AFP, with plain-clothed police patrolling sidestreets of downtown Cairo.

The country effectively banned protests under a 2013 law and a state of emergency is still in full effect.

Police fired tear gas and deployed forces in Tahrir Square – the epicenter of the 2011 revolution that unseated long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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The protests came on the back of an online call put out by Mohamed Aly, a disgruntled exiled Egyptian businessman, demanding Sisi be toppled.

The construction contractor has been posting videos from Spain that have gone viral since early September, accusing Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.

The president flatly denied the allegations last week at a youth conference and sought to assure Egyptians that he “was honest and faithful” to his people and the military.

In his latest video posted early Friday morning on his growing social media accounts, Aly urged Egyptians to head to the streets after a highly anticipated football match between Cairo powerhouses Al Ahly and Zamalek in the Super Cup.

Thousands shared footage on social media documenting the demonstrations that sprang up in several cities including sizeable crowds blocking traffic in Alexandria, Al-Mahalla, Damietta, Mansoura and Suez.

Many users commented on the curious absence of military personnel and speculated about internal political squabbles between various Egyptian security agencies.

– Dangers of protesting –
Under the rule of general-turned-president Sisi, authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents, jailing thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists and popular bloggers.

He led the military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and won back to back landslide elections running virtually unopposed.

At the same youth conference where he denied graft allegations, he also warned of the dangers of protesting — a position he has repeatedly taken.

He has regularly invoked security and stability as hallmarks of his reign in contrast to the situations in regional hot spots such as Iraq, Libya and Syria.

But with his government imposing strict austerity measures since 2016 as part of a $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund, discontent over rising prices has been swelling.

Nearly one in three Egyptians live below the poverty line on less than $1.40 a day, according to official figures released in July.

Human Rights Watch urged authorities on Saturday to “protect the right” to protest peacefully as well as demanding that those arrested be released.

Sisi flew to New York on Friday night where he is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly next week.

The president’s office did not comment on the protests, when asked by AFP on Saturday.

Son Of Egypt’s Morsi Dies Of Heart Attack At 25

 

The youngest son of deceased ex-president Mohamed Morsi himself died Wednesday night of a heart attack in Cairo, a family lawyer said.

Abdallah Morsi, 25, suffered the fatal cardiac arrest while at the wheel of his car, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told AFP.

“A friend who was with him was able to stop the car and take him to hospital”, said the lawyer, adding that Abdallah Morsi’s funeral was set to take place on Thursday.

Mohamed Morsi — who as Egypt’s first freely elected president headed an administration loyal to the now banned Muslim Brotherhood until he was deposed by the military in 2013 — died in court on June 17.

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The military overthrow of Morsi was led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ascended to the presidency in 2014 polls, before securing an official 97 percent in elections last year.

Mohamed Morsi, 67, collapsed during a court session in Cairo, some six years after his ouster and imprisonment.

He had been sentenced to 45 years in prison for offences including “inciting violence” in late 2012 against protesters and “spying” on behalf of Qatar.

Sisi has stifled opposition, particularly from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in late 2013.

FIFA Appoints Emergency Committee To Run Egyptian Football

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations
File

 

With Egyptian football in the chaos following the sudden departure of the national federation’s leadership, FIFA on Tuesday appointed a temporary committee to take over.

Hani Abou Rida, the president of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), resigned last month immediately after the hosts’ shock elimination from the African Cup of Nations taking the rest of the board with him and “sacking” his technical staff.

The governing body of world football said it had appointed a “normalisation committee” to “run the daily affairs” of the EFA and “to organise and conduct elections of a new EFA board.”

It had until the end of July 2020 to complete its work.

The five members still had to pass a FIFA background check, said a statement.

Egyptian football was beset by problems during Rida’s three-year reign.

The decision to use Grozny in Chechnya as a base for the Pharaohs disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign, drew criticism.

Star striker Mohamed Salah accused the federation of misusing his image inside the country.

On the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations, the reinstatement of a player who had been banned following sexual harassment charges provoked further criticism.

AFP