Tunisia speaker rejects president’s dissolution of parliament

Tunisia speaker rejects president’s dissolution of parliament
Parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, looks on during an interview with AFP at his office in Tunis on Thursday. (AFP)
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Updated 01 April 2022

Tunisia speaker rejects president’s dissolution of parliament

Tunisia speaker rejects president’s dissolution of parliament
  • "We consider that the parliament remains operational," Rached Ghannouchi told AFP
  • US deeply concerned by Tunisian president’s move to dissolve parliament

TUNIS: The speaker of Tunisia’s parliament on Thursday rejected President Kais Saied’s dissolution of the assembly the previous day.
“We consider that the parliament remains operational,” Rached Ghannouchi told AFP in an interview.
“The president does not have the constitutional right to dissolve parliament.”
Saied had dissolved the chamber on Wednesday, dealing another blow to the political system in place since the North African country’s 2011 revolt which sparked the Arab Spring.
It came eight months after he sacked the government, froze parliament and seized sweeping powers, later moving to rule by decree in moves opponents have dubbed a “coup.”

The US State Department on Thursday said Washington is deeply concerned by Tunisian President Kais Saied’s move to dissolve parliament, which has been suspended since last year, after it defied him by voting to repeal decrees that he used to assume near total power.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters the United States has consistently communicated to Tunisian officials that any political reform process should be transparent and inclusive.
The president’s announcement on Wednesday evening came hours after parliamentarians held a plenary session online — their first since Saied’s power grab — and voted through a bill against his “exceptional measures.”
Addressing his National Security Council, Saied said MPs who had taken part would be prosecuted.
But Ghannouchi, who heads the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party that has dominated Tunisia’s post-revolution politics, Saied’s decision was “null and void because it contradicts the constitution.”
Many Tunisians welcomed Saied’s moves against political parties seen as self-serving and corrupt, but his moves have prompted accusations that he is moving the country back toward autocracy.

(With AFP and Reuters)


Egyptian man who stabbed female student to death to be hanged

Egyptian man who stabbed female student to death to be hanged
Updated 6 sec ago

Egyptian man who stabbed female student to death to be hanged

Egyptian man who stabbed female student to death to be hanged
  • Accused entered guilty plea over premeditated killing of Nayera Ashraf, who rejected his advances
  • Fast-tracked trial, judgment deters public from committing gruesome murders, lawyer tells Arab News

BEIRUT: An Egyptian man will be executed by hanging after a court convicted him of the premeditated killing of his female colleague by slitting her neck outside their college after she rejected his advances.
Egypt’s Al-Mansoura Criminal Court on Wednesday found defendant Mohamed Adel guilty of using a knife to kill Nayera Ashraf outside the campus of Al-Mansoura University last month.
The June 20 murder triggered widespread outrage among Egyptians and in the Arab world. It took place in Mansoura, 130 kilometers north of Cairo.
Reading out the judgment sheet during a public hearing, the presiding judge said: “The court heard the opinion of the republic’s grand mufti, who concluded that a death sentence is obligatory in the crimes of killing with a knife, as per the Shariah.
“The court has unanimously agreed to sentence Mohamed Adel to death, confiscate the murder weapon and refer the civil lawsuit to the pertinent court.”
Adel entered a guilty plea in court.
Speaking to Arab News, Egyptian lawyer Hani Hammouda Hagag said that the “rapid trial and swift judgment in such a gruesome murder that awed the public opinion acts as a stern deterrent.”
The legal procedures were fast-tracked due to the gravity of the crime, the modus operandi and the location of the murder outside a college campus, said the lawyer.
“The speed of arresting, investigating, trying and sentencing the accused would definitely deter anyone from the public to think of or commit a similarly gruesome murder,” said Hagag, who added that “such crimes worry and terrify the community.”
As per the Egyptian penal code, the primary verdict is subject to automatic appeal, said the lawyer.
During the last week of June, a video went viral appearing to show the victim being stabbed by the accused outside the university. The murder was followed a few days later by a similar incident in which Jordanian medicine student Iman Irshaid was shot dead on a university campus in Amman.
Social media users immediately drew comparisons between the two murders, decrying cases of femicide in the Arab world.
As published earlier by Arab News, Ashraf had previously reported the perpetrator to the police, fearing that he would attack her.
“He stabbed her several times,” said the prosecution, which found “messages threatening to cut her throat” on Ashraf’s phone.
 


Social media outrage over US handling of Shireen Abu Akleh killing

Social media outrage over US handling of Shireen Abu Akleh killing
Updated 07 July 2022

Social media outrage over US handling of Shireen Abu Akleh killing

Social media outrage over US handling of Shireen Abu Akleh killing
  • Abu Akleh’s family said US’s total lack of transparency, undefined goals, and support for Israel’s overall position is a disappointment

LONDON: The US Department of State’s handling of the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has sparked widespread social media outrage.

After summarizing both Israeli and Palestinian Authority investigations, the US Department of State concluded on Monday that gunfire from Israeli positions “was likely responsible for Shireen Abu Akleh's death,” but dismissed the incident as an unintentional “result of tragic circumstances.”

Eyewitnesses and multiple investigations by US media outlets, including CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and the New York Times, have previously concluded that Israeli forces fatally shot Abu Akleh.

Investigations and video evidence also confirm that there were no armed Palestinians in the area where Abu Akleh was killed, and she and other journalists were wearing visible press gear.

Even so, the US statement emphasized that the Israeli raid was aimed at extremist fighters, which was in response to previous attacks by Palestinian assailants.

The Palestinian Authority has rejected “the US' dismissal of the Israeli occupying forces” intentional targeting and killing of Shireen Abu Akleh as "tragic circumstances" rather than an intentional war crime.

“We are incredulous,” Abu Akleh’s family said in a statement published on social media.

“To say that this investigation, with its total lack of transparency, undefined goals, and support for Israel’s overall position is a disappointment would be an understatement,” her family said.

Palestinian rights advocates have also taken to social media to express their indignation at the US announcement.

“This is a shameful day for the US, which failed to properly investigate the murder of one of its own citizens by a military it sends $3.8 billion to every year” the Jewish Voice for Peace tweeted.

The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem said: “As far as Israel is concerned, its policy regarding the killing of Palestinians has never been anything other than an organized whitewash meant to enable the continuation of the killings with impunity, and it is no different when it comes to a US citizen as in the current case.”

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan tweeted: "Where is the outrage from the Biden administration? Where is the urgency to find out how an American citizen was shot & killed? And how long will the US continue to give Israel a pass on, apparently, everything?"

Abu Akleh's family has stated that regardless of the investigation's findings, they will continue to fight for justice and accountability for her death.

“It’s very disappointing but at the same time, it’s not discouraging. We will continue to fight for justice. We will continue to fight for accountability and an end to this impunity because this result, that we received today, just adds on to the impunity that Israel enjoys,” the family said.

“But we will not be discouraged and we will continue on our path for justice and accountability,” the family added.

Al Jazeera has already referred the case to the International Criminal Court, and has vowed to seek justice through all international legal avenues.

Abu Akleh's family, the International Federation of Journalists, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians have directed the legal team to file a new complaint with the ICC.

The complaint requests that the ICC prosecutor investigate the circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh's death and Samoudi's shooting.

Israel claims it is not bound by the court's mandate because it did not sign the Rome Statute, and that the ICC cannot investigate abuses in Palestinian territories because Palestine is not a state.

However, the ICC ruled on February 5, 2021 that its criminal jurisdiction extended to "the situation in Palestine," and that its territorial scope included allegations made in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to the lawyers.

The new complaint follows an April submission to the court in which the ICC prosecutor requested that an investigation into the systematic targeting, maiming, and killing of journalists, as well as the destruction of media infrastructure in Palestine, be launched, the legal team says.

Abu Akleh was killed just days after the ICC prosecutor acknowledged receipt of the first complaint.

“This presents for the first time a real opportunity for the accountability of Israel’s alleged policy of targeting journalists and could lead to a formal investigation by the ICC prosecutor and potential prosecutions,” the lawyers' statement said.

More than 100 celebrities and artists have signed a statement demanding accountability for Israel's killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the immediate aftermath of the killing.

Actors Mark Ruffalo, Tilda Swinton, Susan Sarandon, Steve Coogan, and Miriam Margolyes, as well as filmmakers Asif Kapadia, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, and former footballer Eric Cantona, were among those who expressed they were “deeply disturbed” by her death.

As a result, an ICC investigation set on an international stage is expected to continue attracting global attention.

 


UK warship seizes advanced Iranian missiles bound for Yemen

UK warship seizes advanced Iranian missiles bound for Yemen
Updated 07 July 2022

UK warship seizes advanced Iranian missiles bound for Yemen

UK warship seizes advanced Iranian missiles bound for Yemen

DUBAI: A British Royal Navy vessel seized a sophisticated shipment of Iranian missiles in the Gulf of Oman earlier this year, officials said Thursday, pointing to the interdiction as proof of Tehran’s support for Yemen’s Houthi militia in the country.
The British government statement was striking in that it provided some of the strongest findings to date that Tehran is arming the Houthis against the Arab coalition with advanced weapons smuggled through the Arabian Gulf.
The UK Embassy in the UAE described the seizure of surface-to-air-missiles and engines for land attack cruise missiles as “the first time a British naval warship has interdicted a vessel carrying such sophisticated weapons from Iran.”
“The UK will continue to work in support of an enduring peace in Yemen and is committed to international maritime security so that commercial shipping can transit safely without threat of disruption,” said James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.
The announcement signals an escalation as Western officials have in the past shied away from public statements that definitively blame Iran for arming Yemen’s Houthis with military contraband. The route of the smuggled shipments through the Arabian Sea or Gulf of Aden, however, has strongly suggested their destination.
Despite a United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Yemen, Iran has long been suspected of transferring rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other weaponry to the Houthis since the war began in 2015. Iran denies arming the Houthis, independent experts, Western nations and UN experts have traced components back to Iran.
Citing a forensic analysis last month, the British navy linked the batch of rocket engines seized earlier this year to an Iranian-made cruise missile with a 1,000-kilometer range that it said the militia have used against Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis also used the cruise missile to attack an oil facility in Abu Dhabi in January of this year, the British navy said, an assault that killed three people and threatened the key US ally’s reputation as a haven of stability. The US military launched interceptor missiles during the attack, signaling a widening of Yemen’s war.
The HMS Montrose’s helicopter had been scanning for illicit goods in the Gulf of Oman on January 28 and February 25 when it spotted small vessels speeding away from the Iranian coast with “suspicious cargo on deck.” A team of Royal Marines then halted and searched the boats, confiscating the weapons in international waters south of Iran.
A US Navy guided-missile destroyer supported the British warship’s February operation. Fifth Fleet Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said the seizure reflected the Navy’s “strong commitment to regional security and stability.”
The Houthis seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 and forced the internationally recognized government into exile. The Arab coalition armed with US weaponry and intelligence joined the war on the side of Yemen’s exiled government in March 2015.
Years of fighting have ground into a bloody stalemate and pushed the Arab world’s poorest nation to the brink of famine. A tenuous truce that began around the holy Muslim month of Ramadan appears to be holding, although both sides have accused each other of violations.


8 killed, 44 injured in car crash in southern Egypt

8 killed, 44 injured in car crash in southern Egypt
Updated 07 July 2022

8 killed, 44 injured in car crash in southern Egypt

8 killed, 44 injured in car crash in southern Egypt
  • The incident took place in the early morning when a passenger bus collided with a truck
  • Deadly traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt

CAIRO: Eight people were killed and 44 injured in a car crash on Thursday near Egypt’s southern province of Aswan, the state-run news agency reported.
The incident took place in the early morning when a passenger bus collided with a truck, on a highway linking Awsan to Abu Simbel, the seat of the ancient temples of Ramses II, MENA said.
Ambulance vehicles rushed to the scene to carry the casualties’ bodies to Aswan’s morgue and to transfer the wounded to the province’s main hospital, added the report.
Deadly traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. The crashes and collisions are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws.
In January, at least 16 people were killed 18 others injured when a microbus collided with a public transportation bus in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt’s official statistics agency says there were around 10,000 road accidents in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, leaving over 3,480 dead. In 2018, there were 8,480 car accidents, causing over 3,080 deaths.


Egypt, UK to cooperate in renewable energy

Egypt, UK to cooperate in renewable energy
Updated 07 July 2022

Egypt, UK to cooperate in renewable energy

Egypt, UK to cooperate in renewable energy
  • Britain ‘commends Egypt’s leadership and efforts on renewable energy generation’

LONDON: Egypt and the UK have signed a statement of intent to cooperate in reforming renewable energy regulations.

The signing took place in London during a meeting between Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Liz Truss, the UK’s secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs.

The UK said it “commends Egypt’s leadership and efforts on renewable energy generation and opportunities for British investors and firms within the energy sector.”

Alongside the plans to cooperate on energy, there was news of a joint $325 million investment for the launch of the Lekela wind farm, located in northern Egypt, boasting 252-megawatt capacity and expected to boost the country’s wind output by 18 percent.

The ministers also explored opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries, and agreed on a need to work on growing bilateral trade and investment.

The meeting also witnessed the finalization of British Investment International’s $100 million acquisition of Egypt’s Alfa Medical Group.