By Nasser Elazazy
Morsy made a speech in Al-Arish on Friday. He had said before his trip he would visit Rafah and the Copts forced to flee from there. Morsy did not visit Rafah in his trip however, citing security reasons but he did say he would ensure the security of Christians in the area.
President Mohamed Morsy announced some measures relaxing restrictions on Sinai prisoners. He said the trials of 252 Sinai residents, sentenced in absentia under Mubarak, would be reviewed, according to MENA. He announced he did not believe that any Egyptian had been sentenced to death during his presidency, as no such order had come to him as yet, reported MENA.
This may mean that the 14 death sentences handed down to Sinai residents of 24 September may not get approved. Last week the wives of the 14 men protested against the court’s decision. He also announced that he had given instructions to transfer prisoners from the Burj Al-Arab to Tora prison in order to alleviate the fears of their loved ones.
Morsy said that Egypt needs to overcome the “obstacle of development, production, security and stability,” adding “the era of exclusion and marginalisation will not return.”
He continued, “the era of corruption, extortion and discrimination between citizens has passed. This applies to the Sinai, the whole of Egypt, earth and human beings.”
Morsy’s remarks came during his third visit to the North Sinai governorate in as many months.
Morsy held a conference with the people of the town of Al-Arish. In attendance were Minister of Defense and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces General Abdel Fattah Sissy, Minister of Interior Major General Ahmed Gamal El Din and North Sinai Governor General Sayyed Abdel Fattah Harhour, populist factions, the executive in northern Sinai and the sheikhs and elders of tribes and families.
The president also said he would form a committee comprising of people from Sinai, for solving their problems, especially the issue of land ownership. He said he will visit the Sinai again to follow up on this matter. Sinai residents complain that they can’t own land in the area, a policy from the Mubarak-era, brought in for security reasons.
On the sidelines of his visit to North Sinai, Morsy held a closed door meeting with Sissy, El Din and Sinai security forces in order to discuss the latest security developments and the results of a security crackdown in northern Sinai.
Additional reporting by Joel Gulhane