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Category: Egypt

EGYPT: Hosni Mubarak and sons to be tried in Cairo

Photo: Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak. Credit: Associated Press

A conference hall in east Cairo will serve as the courtroom Wednesday when the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons gets underway, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported Thursday.

“It has been finally decided that the trial for ex-President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, businessman Hussein Salem, former Interior Minister Habib Adli and six of his aides" will take place in the Public Investment Administration building in Cairo's Nasr City district, Deputy Minister of Justice Mohamed Manie was quoted by MENA as saying.

Concerns over Mubarak’s reputed deteriorating health have been growing in recent weeks and many Egyptians believe the trial may be postponed. The former leader is reported to be refusing food. His lawyer told journalists that Mubarak was suffering from cancer and on the verge of death, claims that have been denied by Health Ministry officials.

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EGYPT: Activists to sue ruling generals over treason accusations

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Two of Egypt’s most prominent political movements have announced they will sue the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces for “libel and false accusations" over comments made by a senior army official suggesting the organizations were receiving foreign funding and were involved in treason.  

The announcement by the April 6th Youth Movement and Kefaya came two days after a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces accused a number of political movements, specifically April 6th, of having hidden agendas and working against the country’s interests. The military blamed April 6th for "igniting strife between the army and the people."

The military added: “SCAF calls on all sects of the people to remain cautious and not to be led by such a suspicious plot, which aims to undermine Egypt’s stability.”

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EGYPT: New ministers sworn in after lengthy nomination process

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Fourteen new ministers were sworn in Thursday to Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's Cabinet in an effort to calm protests against the nation's ruling military council and its troubled interim government.

The Cabinet reshuffle is a response by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and an embattled Sharaf meet demonstrators' demands of reforming ministries and purging officials who served under former President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade-old regime.

The official state news agency MENA reported that new Cabinet appointments included ministers of foreign affairs, higher education, finance, telecommunications, civil aviation and industry. The swearing-in ceremony was twice postponed following delays over selecting ministers and Sharaf's brief hospitalization after suffering from low blood pressure on Monday evening.

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EGYPT: Tahrir Square protesters not appeased by ministerial reshuffle

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Protesters camping in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the 12th day remain unconvinced by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s overtures to placate them through a major Cabinet reshuffle.

“A minister comes, a minister goes and we’re yet to feel any change,” shouted scores of demonstrators in the square. Over the last few days, Sharaf has made sweeping changes to the Cabinet, appointing 12 new officials, including new foreign and finance ministers. Protesters are not impressed.

"These changes are no more than an intrigue. Sharaf is trying to gain more time in order to destroy what’s left of the Jan. 25 revolution’s gains," Ayman Shalaby, a 49-year-old lawyer told The Times. "What they’re doing in the cabinet is no more than just flipping the same cards. The new ministers will be as bad as their predecessors and this is not what we called for."

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EGYPT: Man shot by police during uprising dies

62425192 Moustafa Ahmed, an Egyptian profiled last month by The Times after he was seriously injured during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, has died.

On Saturday, crowds of protesters carried Ahmed’s body in a white coffin from Kasr El Aini Hospital where he had been treated, to Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands of protesters have been rallying, calling on the new government to prosecute officials accused of crimes, including police suspected of shooting protesters such as Ahmed.

 

No one has been charged in connection with Ahmed’s shooting, relatives said.

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EGYPT: Prime Minister Sharaf begins cabinet reshuffle amid protests

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Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf began overhauling his cabinet Sunday by accepting the resignations of ministers in an effort to calm nine days of protests against the military council ruling the country and the slow pace of reform.

Sharaf promised last week to reshuffle his cabinet and purge the Interior Ministry of police officers and top officials accused of murder in the deaths of more than 600 protesters during the crackdown on the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Sharaf accepted the resignations of Finance Minister Samir Radwan and Industry Minister Samir el Sayad. Foreign Minister Mohamed el Orabi resigned on Saturday. The state news agency MENA reported that Sharaf has submitted a full list of cabinet changes, including ministers for higher education and communications, to the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces, or SCAF, for approval.

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EGYPT: Protests continue but activists divided over goals

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Thousands of demonstrators continued their weeklong sit-in across Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday as more than 28 protest movements called for a “final warning” against the nation's ruling military council to make sweeping reforms and bring members of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime to justice.  

The square, where hundreds of thousands of Egyptians camped for 18 days in January and February as part of a push to topple Mubarak, has again become the epicenter of the struggle over the country's future. In recent days, however, the protests have revealed divisions among activists over what exactly would mark a success in rallies against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its appointed interim government.

“We are here until a new cabinet with revolutionary ministers is appointed,” said Khaled Sayed, a member of the Jan. 25 revolution youth coalition, standing amid tents and banners near the square's central garden.

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EGYPT: Mubarak denies accusations of killing protesters

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Egyptian former President Hosni Mubarak has denied ordering police officers to kill protesters during the 18-day uprising that ended with his ouster Feb.11, according to interrogation transcripts leaked to the media.

Quotes from the questioning of Mubarak by prosecutors in April have appeared in Egyptian newspapers in recent days and offer a prelude to the former leader's defense when his trial on financial corruption and murder charges begins on Aug. 3. They come as protesters are camping out in Cairo's Tahrir Square, demanding that Mubarak and members of his regime be brought to swift justice.    

"These accusations are not true at all. I would never participate in the killing of Egyptian citizens,'' Mubarak reportedly told investigators. ''I gave orders to deal with protesters without violence, peacefully, without the use of weapons, or bullets or even carrying weapons during the protests,'' he added.

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EGYPT: Tahrir Square looks like February all over again

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Cairo’s Tahrir Square is beginning to look and feel like it did last winter when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protested, camped and fought for 18 days to topple President Hosni Mubarak. Activists have returned to the now-fabled square with banners and anthems in hopes of reigniting the passions of a revolution that stunned the Arab world.

A march on Friday started with tens of thousands filling the square and ended with several thousand holding a sit-in that has stretched into a fourth day in a provocative challenge to the ruling military council. Protesters are demanding speedier trials for members of Mubarak’s regime who have been charged with corruption and the murders of hundreds of protesters during the revolution.

Several other demands include an end to military trials set up for civilians detained in various incidents over the last few months, the firing of all former regime officials still holding public office and the setting of a minimum wage. An televised address to the nation on Saturday by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf promising meet some demands did little to calm the furor.

The protests in Tahrir are smaller than they were in January and February. Most of those joining the sit-in fear that the revolution is slipping away from them, and that the promises by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the interim government cannot be trusted.

“Many people are here to fulfill the remainder of the revolution’s goals, but I say that none of the revolution's main aims have been achieved,” Mohamed Fawzy, an 18-year-old aviation engineering student, told The Times from his tent in the square’s middle garden.

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EGYPT: Activists back in Tahrir Square to salvage revolution

Amro photo

For the first time since the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, a large-scale sit-in with tents and banners is hunkered in Tahrir Square as protesters and activists demand that the revolution's ideals are not swept aside by the ruling military council.   

Angered by the adjournment of trials for police officers charged with killing protesters between Jan. 25 and Feb. 11, as well as corruption trials involving Mubarak, his two sons and ex-ministers who served during his reign, tens of thousands marched in Tahrir on Friday. Many of them were still there Sunday.

Unlike many past Fridays, when demonstrations in Cairo's main square ended at nightfall, as many as 2,000 protesters, activists and families of those killed and injured during the revolution have decided not to leave the square before all demands of the revolution are met by both the interim government and the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).

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EGYPT: Ex-newspaper editor appointed as Information Minister

ALeqM5gh6p6HCD17oKu0ePV0cG8RpCIgRgThe former editor in chief of the Wafd party's newspaper was sworn in as the new Minister of Information by the head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on Saturday.

The appointment of Osama Heikal surprised many politicians and activists, who believed that the ministry, which had not filled the job for five months, might keep the position vacant. Many online activists and bloggers quickly highlighted what they called Heikal's "support" to Mubarak's regime through an article he wrote one day before the Jan. 25 revolt that ended with ousting Mubarak.

"I don't think that any devout Egyptian would want his country to witness a similar fate to Tunisia's [referring to the Tunisian revolution]. No one wants a clash between people and the regime. What we should understand is that people want change and the quieter those changes come the better this will be for Egypt," Heikal wrote in an editorial dated Jan. 24.

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EGYPT: Riots erupt after police officers accused of killing protesters are released on bail

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Hundreds of protesters attacked public buildings in the city of Suez after a court rejected an appeal Wednesday and allowed seven police officers charged with killing demonstrators during the Jan.25 revolution to be released on bail.

Protesters hurled stones, torched police cars and attempted to storm a police station immediately after the decision. Police officers responded by throwing stones back at the mob. The city has grown increasingly restive with scores of people taking part in a sit-ins in Suez's main squares over the last two days.

On Monday the Suez court adjourned until September the case of 14 police officers being tried for killing 17 protesters. Seven of the officers were later released on bail, infuriating the families of the dead and highlighting the national anger over what many Egyptians see as a lack of justice for security forces and former top officials charged with killing more than 800 protesters during the the revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.

The case is the third involving police officers and former officials charged with murder during the 18-day uprising that ended on Feb. 11. Former Interior Minister Habib Adli is on trial for similar offenses. Dozens of other police officers have been charged, but so far only one has been convicted, receiving a sentence of death.

Activists and politicians are calling for a million-man march in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to pressure the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces to speed up police trials. The council has established a $16-million fund to provide medical, social and financial aid for families of victims and those injured during the revolution. But this has not appeased the April 6th Youth Movement, National Front for Change and the Jan. 25 Revolution Youth Coalition, which are all joining the march.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: A relative of an Egyptian killed during protests carries his photo in a demonstration outside a government building. Credit: Reuters

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