Tuesday’s papers: 47 state security officers arrested, Copts protest in Cairo

Tuesday’s issue of the state-owned daily Al-Ahram reports that the public prosecution has ordered that 47 state security officers and employees face detention pending investigation on charges of burning and destroying important state documents.

The paper states Adel al-Saeed, spokesperson for the public prosecution, declared that the prosecution is still pursuing investigations to find out who was behind the destruction of public properties.

Throughout the past week, protesters have stormed state security headquarters in different districts. Al-Saeed said that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has restored all the important documents and papers seized by protesters who broke into the state security building in the city of 6 October last Saturday.

It is reported that some of the burned documents detailed the corrupt practices of prominent businessmen and former officials. The defendant officers, however, justified the burning action as a routine action after downloading the papers’ contents onto computers.

On a different front, the independent daily Al-Wafd reports that on Tuesday 2000 Copts cut off the main roads of Cairo, including the Ring Road and Mehwar, in protest at sectarian actions that have taken place during the past few days in the village of Etfeeh.

Violent clashes broke out between members of a Muslim family after discovering an affair between a female member of the family and a Christian man. The clashes, which claimed the lives of two Muslims, were followed by the burning of Al-Shahedayn Church in Etfeeh village as an act of revenge on Christians. 

According to the opposition paper, traffic on 6 October bridge was also paralyzed after Copts refused to end their protests in front of Maspero state television building. They chanted, “Hold your head up high; You are Coptic” and carried crosses.

In a related context, Al-Ahram reports that yesterday Prime Minister Essam Sharaf met the Coptic demonstrators who staged a massive protest in front of the TV building in Maspero and called for immediate solutions to their problems.

Sharaf announced that the government will meet their demands by restoring the burned church’s land to Copts and rebuilding the church. He also pledged to conduct extensive investigations to arrest the church’s attackers. According to the report, Sharaf also vowed to release Mataeos, the priest of Kardasa Church.

Al-Akhbar features a report on Egypt’s new interim cabinet headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

While 19 ministers from former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq’s government remained in their posts, six new officials were appointed yesterday by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

The new cabinet includes Imad Abu Ghazy as Culture Minister, Ahmed Hassan al-Borey as Minister of Immigration and Manpower, Ambassador Nabil al-Araby as Foreign Minister, Mansour al-Essawy as Interior Minister, Mohamed Abdel Aziz al-Guindy as Justice Minister, and Abdel Ghorab as Petroleum Minister.

The paper quotes Tantawi as saying, “A national referendum on constitutional amendments is set for 19 March.” He also issued a decree stipulating that parliamentary elections will be held before presidential elections take place.  

Last month, Tantawi agreed on forming a constitutional amendment committee to introduce modifications to articles 75, 76, 77, 88, 93, 139, 149 and 179 of the Constitution in an effort to guarantee political reform and fair elections.

“Today the public prosecutor considers the disclosure of Mubarak and his family’s secret accounts,” reads a headline on Al-Dostour’s front-page.

The independent paper writes that the Court of Appeals has set 8 March as the date for deciding on former parliamentarian and chief editor of Al-Osboa newspaper Mostafa Bakry’s complaint which he filed with the public prosecution and values the assets of the ousted president and his family as being worth LE7 billion.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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