Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Giulio Regeni's disappearance's first anniversary : The curious case of the leaked video

Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni's disappearance in Egypt as his murder is still officially a mystery that affected the Egyptian-Italian relations.
The Italians and Regeni's family commemorated the sad anniversary with protests demanding the truth in the murder of that 28-years student in several Italian cities as well cities around the globe.

In Cairo, things were different as we suddenly found the Egyptian State TV broadcasting last Monday an alleged "exclusive" video clip showing late Regeni speaking Arabic in January 2016 with someone.

The video was aired suddenly in less than 24 hours after Egypt's General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek approved a request from Rome to allow Italian experts to take part in the retrieval of CCTV footage showing Regeni before his disappearance on 25 January 2016.

Regeni's dead body resurfaced later on 3 February with horrifying traces of torture. His death is still mystery as the Egyptian security authorities deny involvement from any kind in his disappearance of murder.

The 3.46 minutes clip was aired at about 10 AM Cairo Local Time showing Regeni speaking with a man, reportedly the head of West Cairo street vendors union Mohamed Abdullah.

An enhanced screen capture from the video 
Mohamed Abdullah is the man who reported Giulio Regeni to Egyptian security authority on suspicion that he were a spy. According to the official Egyptian security's version of the story, the security authorities followed Regeni for 3 days and then suspended the operation.

In the video, Abdullah asked for money personally to save "his daughter and wife" as Regeni was speaking about a grant presented by some British Foundation to the Street vendors Union.

"It is not my money, I am an academic and I can not submit an application to the British foundation saying that I want the money for personal reasons," Regeni told Abdullah.

In the video clip, Regeni tells the Unionists how the money comes from the British foundation to the "Egyptian Center". It is unclear which center he was speaking about in the video.

Abdullah again raises again the matter of money asking how to get it and Regeni says that "the matter is not in his hand" and there were proposals from all over the world including Egypt submitted to get the LE 10,000 grant in March. The proposal is actually how the Union was going to use the grant.
This is what was shown and said in the edited video in nutshell.
It is unclear in what context the Egyptian State TV aired that leaked video.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Business tycoon , publisher and dead people : Abu Trika and the 1512 other names in that terrorists list

Last week the Egyptian people were in shock after knowing that their beloved footballer Mohamed Abou Trika was added to the terrorists list.
The news is still making people angry and the popular retired footballer received support and solidarity from fellow footballers as well media figures unexpectedly now for me.
But despite Mohamed Abu Trika deserves all the support and solidarity, yet there are 1512 people on that terrorist list that we should pay attention to as well.
Egypt's terrorist list
A copy of the names in the list from Al-Shorouk Daily Newspaper
which published the news before anyone else 
Already, one thorough look at that list tells much about it.
Aside from Abou Trika, there are other prominent political and economic figures in the list.

There are 5 journalists in the list including journalist Hisham Gaafar, the CEO of Mada Foundation for media development who has been detained pending investigation since October 2013; Samhy Mostafa, the co-founder of RASSD News and publisher Mostafa Sakr whose assets were frozen in December 2016 over Brotherhood ties.
Sakr is the publisher of Daily News Egypt "DNE" and El-Borsa Daily. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi published two Op-eds about Egyptian economy in DNE during the Euromoney conference, Which DNE is a media partner.
Abu Trika and Mostafa Sakr
Publisher Mostafa Sakr and Footballer Mohamed Abu Trika 
The list also included famous businessman Safwan Thabet, the founder of Egypt's dairy giant Juhayna who is currently abroad. Thabet was sentenced one year in prison for producing products that do not meet market standards in March 2014.
In August 2015, the Egyptian government confiscated the assets of Safwan Thabet in Egypt over his ties to Muslim Brotherhood.
His only known and confirmed relation to the brotherhood is summarized in the fact that his sister is married to the son of the late Ma'mun al-Hudaybi, the sixth general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ironically after the ouster of the 25 January revolution, it was said that he was Suzanne Mubarak Thabet's brother because of the "Thabet" family name.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#Jan25 : May it remain scary memory for tyrants

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the 25 January revolution that kicked off with a protest against the minister of interior Habib El-Adly originally in Tahrir square on the same day in 2011.
Personally, the true day of the revolution was 28 January 2011 when the Egyptian people surprised the regime, the opposition activists and above all the world with their long-held rage.
But it won't harm to celebrate the 25 January as the Egyptian revolution day at all.
#Jan25 New Hope
Taken in Tahrir square on 25 January 2011
It seems a distant memory.
It seems so faraway.
Yet it is still and it scares tyrants and their supporters.
The pro-regime media says it fails repeatedly for the rest year.
The pro-regime media continues to defame it and insults its supporters every day and every week despite that alleged failure.
What I see in front of me that 25 January revolution despite its ups and downs ,especially downs still scares the tyrants and their media so much.
The Egyptian revolution has not failed yet.
After all , you can not expect logically the revolution to fix the errors and sins of more than 60 years and beyond in Egypt, in the Middle East with in three years.
The Egyptian revolution continues
It will take time.
May be, we won't see the outcome in our lives but at least we are trying to put the corner stone.
The Egyptian revolution is not over

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seen in Alexandria : A view from the Greek Club

Alexandria's Greek club Egypt
Source: Instagram
Seen in Alexandria: A view showing boats and yachts from the famous Greek club's restaurant in one fine afternoon in May 2016.
The Greek Club's restaurant is currently one of the most hotspots in Alexandria due to its great seafood as well greek food and an amazing view overlooking the port.
The Greek Club or the Greek Community club in Alexandria was originally founded in 1906 in another location as a social gathering place for the Greek community in the cosmopolitan city.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Abou Trika , the hearts terrorist and the curse of stupidity in Egypt

Some people are saying what happened late Tuesday night was a pathetic attempt from the Egyptian government to divert the attention from Tiran and Sanafir political crisis but it seems that attempt failed anyhow.
Mohamed Abou Trika
Mohamed Abou Trika 
Late Tuesday, Al-Shorouk Daily announced that Cairo's Criminal Court added popular ex-footballer Mohamed Abou-Trika and 1499 others including public and political figures to a terror list.
Al-Shorouk Daily published a copy from the court order that surprised and shocked millions of Egyptians.
According to that court order, he is banned from travel and he may get arrested upon arrival to Cairo.
He is currently in Doha.
In May 2015, Abou Trika's assets and funds were confiscated by a government committee because he was officially accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood member.
For two years, he and his lawyers fought that order.
In June 2016, Egypt's Administrative court canceled the decision to confiscate his money but the government appealed it.
On 10 January 2016, the Administrative court upheld the June 2016 court ruling.
Now, many Egyptians are cursing the government and the regime above all.
Whoever thought about this right after Tiran and Sanafir verdict is so stupid !!! All people are really angry that the most beloved footballer in the last decade is being treated as a terrorist in his own country.
Last month, this man played in the FIFA team along with Football legends like Maradona
Abou-Trika is currently in Doha, Qatar where he works as a top football analyst in BeIN Sports.
He appeared on the channel during one of the AFCON 2017 football matches but he did not comment on what happened at all.
The popular football star appeared smiling.
Abou Trika
Abuo Trika on BeIN sports on Wednesday 

His lawyer said that they are going to appeal against the decision to list him as a terrorist.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tiran and Sanafir's court ruling echoes in Cairo

Here are the newspapers on Tuesday following Egypt's High Administrative court ruling to reject the appeal of the Egyptian government against the annulling of April 2016 Egyptian-Saudi demarcation deal. 
Egyptian Newspapers on Tuesday 
The best coverage goes so far to Al-Masry Al-Youm that dedicated its First page to the verdict and its impact.
Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian 
Most newspapers spoke about the deep trouble and crisis the Egyptian government and parliament are facing.

Monday, January 16, 2017

And The High Administrative Court says its word : Red Sea's Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian islands

And Egypt's High Administrative has said its word loud and clear on Monday: Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian Island
Yes, in a historical verdict after a lot of anticipation and drama, the High administrative court rejected the government appeal against the administrative court ruling in June 2016 annulling the Egyptian-Saudi deal to redraw maritime deal, which placed the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi Sovereignty.
Here is the moment Judge Ahmed El-Shazly announced the famous historical verdict.
The verdict
I am so happy and people are so happy. I do not need to tell you that many people I know since early morning following the lawsuit and its update online and on TV.
Khaled Ali
Khaled Ali and Ambassador Massoum Marzouk at the court
after the verdict "AP 
Needless to say, security forced surrounded and nearly besieged the State council to the level that they did not let most people in including journalists.
After the verdict, there was a big celebration in the street outside the State council.

Khaled Ali
Khaled Ali outside the State Council after the verdict
 "Mohamed El-Ra3y"

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tiran and Sanafir : A big day for the Egyptian State Council "Updated"

Early Monday, Egypt will be waiting to the know the final verdict of the High Administrative court on the Egyptian government appeal against the court verdict annulling the Egyptian Saudi demarcation deal in April 2016, which placed the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir under Saudi
Egypt's State council
 Lawyer Khaled Ali at State council "AP"
"Updated: The High Administrative court issued its verdict rejecting the Egyptian Government's appeal stating the two islands are Egyptian"
It is important day and it comes in a very critical time especially for Egypt's State council, which the High administrative court follows.
In June 2016, the administrative court issued its historical verdict annulling the Egyptian-Saudi deal to redraw the maritime borders and reasserting the truth that Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian islands.
In August 2016, the Stat lawsuit authority which represents the government in front of courts challenged the court verdict and filed an appeal in front of the High Administrative court.
In the same month, it filed another lawsuit in front of the Supreme Constitutional court arguing the administrative court had no jurisdiction when it comes to the demarcation deal.
in September 2016, the Court of Urgent Matters suspended the administrative court's ruling in a surprise that stunned many mostly law experts because article no.190 of the current Egyptian constitution states that the administrative judiciary is the only jurisdiction in settling administrative disputes and only the High administrative court can challenge a lower administrative court's ruling.
The administrative court slammed publicly the Court of urgent matters describing it as "void" in what was considered a clash between courts thanks to the government.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

After Egyptian Jews and Egyptian Italians , it is time for Egyptian Armenians

You saw the Jews of Egypt and the Italians of Egypt , now it is time for Armenians of Egypt.
Here is the new "We are Egyptian Armenians" Documentary featuring the long history of the Armenian community in Egypt in the past 150 years.
You can see the trailer here.

WE ARE EGYPTIAN ARMENIANS TRAILER from waheed sobhi on Vimeo.

This documentary film's creators are director Waheed Sobhy, fantastic researcher and producer Hanan Ezzat "Whom you should follow on Twitter if you love really rare old photos of Egypt and screenwriter Eva Dadrian.

The documentary features the history of the Armenian community in Egypt in the past 150 years and the prominent Armenian Egyptians figures like Van Leo. The documentary started as a project dedicated to the famous photographer at first but it grew later to cover the bigger sector of the Armenian-Egyptian society.
Famous singer and actress Anoushka is appearing in the documentary speaking about herself and her family.

We are Egyptian Armenians
The film was screened at Cairo International Film Festival.
It also participated in International Documentary film festival in Amsterdam and Karama Human rights film festival in Jordan.
It already got very positive reviews from critics in Egypt and was considered one of the best Egyptian films produced in 2016 by Ahram Online.

Personally, I believe that those films are important especially now with the disgusting xenophobic wave taking Egypt as well the World especially in Europe and in the United States.
The Cosmopolitan Egypt can be restored easily if the media stops spreading xenophobia before anyone.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

And the "Signal" still comes and goes in Egypt

It seems that the Egyptian government has not lost hope in blocking "Signal" private messaging app in Egypt.
"Signal" app was not working again last week. I have tested it myself on both iPhone and Desktop on Wednesday,Thursday and Friday on Orange DSL and 4G.
At the same time, Signal users in Egypt reported that they can not use Google's Search or Gmail on Chrome on iPhone and Desktop.
I did not have this problem on Desktop on iPhone to be precise.
We did not know that there was a connection but Open Whisper System confirmed that Egypt aka Egyptian government is still trying to block Signal's service in the country but they are trying to overcome this.

It is getting silly.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Merry Christmas again from Egyptian Chronicles

And Egypt is celebrating Christmas again tonight :)
Yes, tonight Egyptian Orthodox Christians are celebrating the Orthodox Christmas all over the country.
Happy Christmas from Egyptian Chronicles to all those celebrating the Christmas tonight especially in Egypt.
By Roger Anis , taken during the Virgin Mary Festival in Minya 
 For this occasion , I would like to share that beautiful mix of Christian Orthodox hymns and Islamic Inshad at the Cairo Opera House from Couple o f days ago when Cairo Steps celebrated both Prophet Mohamed "PBUH" Moulid and Christmas.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

And Ahmed Maher is out of prison at last

Prominent Egyptian activist Ahmed Maher, the co-founder of April 6 Youth movement and its former coordinator is out of jail. He has been released at last early Thursday after finishing a three-years prison sentence for breaking the protest law.
Maher already was released from prison on Tuesday but he had been on tour in a number of Cairo's police station for some unknown reason in the past 48 hours.
Here is the photo of Maher with his brother Mostafa and their friend Mohamed Samy from a couple of hours ago.
April 6 Youth movement founder Ahmed Maher
Ahmed Maher in the middle, Mostafa Maher on the right and Mohamed
Samy on the left " Mohamed Samy" 
The prominent Egyptian political activist is out of jail but he is still on a probation for three years and according to this he will spend 12 hours on a daily basis from 6 PM to 6 AM at a police station.
He is also not allowed to have any political activity in the upcoming three years.
He can not travel of course.
It is like that he is out of jail but he is not completely free.
According to his lawyer, he can appeal against all that ..only after 6 months !!
Maher was sentenced three years in prison along with April 6 Youth movement co-founder Mohamed Adel and political activist Ahmed Douma for breaking the protest law in December 2013.
Mohamed Adel is expected to join Maher and to be released from jail within few days.
Unfortunately, Douma is serving a life sentence in the December 2011 clashes trial in addition to three years for contempt of court "Remember Judge Nagy Shehata".
Personally, I am glad that both Maher is released without a presidential pardon. Hopefully inshallah, Mohamed Adel will join him.
I hope that they will be free soon for real.
FYI, the current coordinator of April 6 youth Movement Amr Ali is also serving three years sentence. in jail for possessing leaflets calling for the regime's overthrow.

The new judicial authorities draft law : Back to the judges' anger

It seems that it is history repeating in a very a bad way, it is worse than what happened before in 2006.
Recently, Egypt’s House of Representatives proposed a draft law to amend the current Judicial authority that will kill what is known as the separation between authorities for real in the country if it is passed and ratified.
Proposed by a member of the Pro-regime “Support Egypt” Parliamentary bloc, the new draft law stipulates that the President chooses and appoints the heads of the four major judicial authorities in Egypt: The cassation court, the State council, The state lawsuits authority and the administrative prosecution authority.
In the current law’s article no.44, the heads of those authorities are chosen based on seniority by their general assemblies. The court presents the name of its senior judge as its head to the president and he just ratifies without rejecting or choosing another one.
In the proposed draft, the Supreme council of judiciary will present three names of senior judges from those authorities to the president and he/she will choose among them without any clear standards.
All the judicial authorities and clubs are rejecting the draft law which was discussed in December quietly somehow in the House of Representatives.
Egypt's Court of Cassation
The Cassation court in Cairo 
The MP who proposed that draft law says it is based on Constitution article no.186 that stipulates the judges’ conditions and procedures for their appointment, secondment, delegation and retirement are regulated by the law.
On 25 December, the parliament decided to send the draft law to the 4 judicial authorities mentioned above in addition to the Supreme council of judiciary to know their opinion for consultation only in accordance with the Constitution article no.185 within ten days.
If those authorities do not answer back within ten days, the parliament will go on and discuss it.
The answer of the judicial authorities or rather judges is crystal clear, they completely reject the draft law and consider it as an attack on the separation of powers in Egypt as well the independence of the judiciary.
On the same day, Egypt’s Judges club said in a statement that that draft law was like an attack against the judiciary independence in the country. The Judges club also hinted out that the draft law that constitution stipulates on the independence of the judiciary in Egypt in article 185.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Shawkan Photo awards 2016 : Egypt's best photos of the year

Shawkan awards For the second year in a row, a group of prominent of Egyptian photographers held the annual competition to name and choose Egypt's best photos in 2016.

The competition which was named after detained Photographer Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan was launched in 2015 is back with more photos and a new category to celebrate photography in Egypt.

For those who do not know Mahmoud Abu Zeid aka Shawkan is a freelance journalist who has been detained since the dispersal of Rabaa sit-in in August 2013.
Despite a massive a local and international campaign calling for his release, Shawkan is still detained pending trial.

This competition was launched first in 2015 to honor photojournalism in Egypt as well to remind the people of that young man who is currently behind bars for doing his job.

The judges of this year's Shawkan Photo awards are :
  1. Hossam Diab: The former head of photography section in Al-Masry Al-Youm and former head of photographers section in the journalists syndicate.
  2. Thomas Hartwell: An AP Cairo office photo editor and veteran photographer based in Cairo. He is also the head of Contemporary Image Collective "CIC"
  3. Mosa'ab El-Shamy: A photographer in AP Cairo office.
  4. Roger Anis: A photographer in Al-Shorouk News' Photography section.
  5. Ahmed Hayman: A freelance photographer who used to work in Al-Masry Al-Youm Daily.
  6. Randa Shaath: A freelance veteran photographer and former head of photography in Al-Shorouk Daily.
The Shawkan award 2016 panel of judges "Shawkan awards" 
Now here are the top five news photos of 2016 arranged descendingly.

5- The hug in court by Ibrahim Ezzat Hendy

The Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson and his wife
MB Spox Ahmed Arif hugs his wife in court
"Ibrahim Ezzat Hendy" 
The moment the Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Ahmed Aref hugged his wife in court during his trial in 2016. That moment was captured by Ibrahim Ezzat Hendy , a talented Photojournalist from Al-Shorouk Newspaper's photojournalism section.

4- Anti-sexual harassment policewoman by Ali Fahim

Egyptian Policewoman
Anti-Sexual harassment policewoman "Ali Fahim" 
Taken in Downtown Cairo during some feast, a photo featuring a policewoman from the Anti-sexual harassment force. That force is made of women.
The photo was taken by Aly Fahim.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New year From Egyptian Chronicles

Happy New Year From Egyptian Chronicles to all its readers from around the globe.
Happy New year
From me to you 
I hope that 2017 will be better inshallah than 2016.
Yes, all the indications when it comes to politics and economy say the opposite, that we will have hard year whether in Egypt or the world but God only knows what may happen in the upcoming 365 days.
I know it is a hard thing even for me with all that negativity around us but let's be optimistic.
For this occasion, I would like to share this hilarious video from Glocal website as an epic mashup of Egypt's top controversial and viral video clips.

And you must see the summary of 2016 in news by Glocal, it tells you a lot if you understand Arabic.