Arab news

A woman’s brutal killing shocks the Arab world

According to Egyptian prosecutors, 21-year-old Naira Ashraf was fatally stabbed on Monday by a man whose claim she denied.

A video from a nearby CCTV camera showing a man attacking a woman outside the university went viral in the Arab world this week. Ashraf’s family’s lawyer confirmed to CNN that the video shows the incident in which Ashraf was killed.

The Egyptian prosecutor’s office said the suspect has been referred to the criminal court and will be tried for willful murder. The first hearing is scheduled for Sunday. CNN was unable to reach out to the suspect or his family for comment, and it was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.

“Certainly, Naira’s murder was not an isolated incident,” Lobna Darwish, gender and human rights officer at the Egyptian Civil Rights Initiative (EIPR), told CNN. “[But] We [now] to see more room for violence against women.”

Darwish said that data is incomplete as such incidents are not properly documented by the state, but abuse cases appear in the news almost every month. “We’re seeing worrying patterns,” he added.

The Arabic equivalent of the hashtag #Justice_for_Naira_Ashraf has been trending widely in Arab countries since the murder.

“We need a law that tackles violence,” said Azza Suliman, an Egyptian lawyer and head of the Egyptian Women’s and Legal Aid Centre. She added that in order to build trust between women and the state apparatus, there should be a respectful and honorable discourse around women.

Ashraf Abdelkader, the murdered woman’s father, told CNN that the suspect wanted to marry her several times but was refused. It was also alleged that the suspect created fake accounts to follow him on social media. Eventually, Abdelkader issued a restraining order in April.

“She didn’t want to get married, she wanted to pursue her career … and she wanted to be a flight attendant,” Abdelkader said. Said.

Darwish said the victim and his family had exhausted all measures to protect Ashraf and that “yet the whole system – whether social or legal, has failed”.

Suliman said there is a need to “improve the justice channels that include the police, judges and the prosecution” so that women feel comfortable reporting such incidents.

Some responded to the murder by blaming the victim. Mabrouk Atteya, a controversial former TV presenter, said in a video on social media that women “should be covered” to prevent men from killing themselves.

“Women and girls should cover and dress loosely to stop seduction… if you think your life is valuable, cover the house completely to prevent those who want to kill you from killing you,” Atteya said in a live broadcast. Said.

Atteya’s comments sparked outrage on social media and she launched a social media campaign for her arrest.

Darwish noted that while Egypt continues to move forward with tougher sexual harassment laws, sanctions are still lacking, both among the police and the public, which has deterred many women from seeking legal help.

Egypt’s State Information Services did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. The Egyptian National Council of Women could not be reached.

Harassment is illegal in Egypt, and in June last year, the state tightened sexual harassment laws, increased fines and extended prison sentences, according to state media.
The United Nations Development Programme in 2019 ranked Egypt 108th out of 162 countries measured in terms of gender disparities in health, empowerment and economic activity.

Nine women were prosecuted last year for violating family values ​​for posting videos of them dancing and singing and inviting their millions of followers to monetize their social media platforms, Reuters reported.

“When the state supports such discourse in any way, by declaring women guilty for the way they dress or for how they present themselves, it gives these people the green light,” Darwish said. on women.

“This happens a lot,” said Darwish, referring to violence against women. “Not just on camera.”

CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi contributed to this report.


Iran-backed parties strengthen after Sadr leaves Iraqi parliament

Iraq’s parliament on Thursday strengthened the power of rival Iran-backed politicians in the legislature by sworn-in dozens of new lawmakers to replace a bloc loyal to powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
  • Background: The bloc of 73 Sadr deputies resigned two weeks ago after months of stalemate over forming a new government. Deputy Ahmed Rubaie, whose party is part of an Iran-backed bloc, said the coalition is now the main force in the 329-seat parliament.
  • why is it important: Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in October’s general election, and its success raises the possibility of knocking out Iran-backed rivals who have dominated politics in Iraq for years. Sadr is critical of Iran and has cordial relations with Gulf Arab states that are against Iran.

Top EU official travels to Tehran to discuss Iran nuclear deal

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell was to visit Iran on Friday and Saturday to discuss reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a tweet on his official account.

  • Background: A deal with Iran to re-implement the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers seemed imminent in March, but talks have sparked turmoil in part over a dispute over whether the United States should remove Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard from its Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Borrell will meet with Iran’s foreign minister. “Diplomacy is the only way to return to full implementation of the agreement and reverse existing tensions,” Borrell said.
  • why is it important: The EU agreed last month to partially ban oil imports from Russia in hopes of paralyzing Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine. Europe, which previously relied on Russia for more than 20% of its oil imports, is now trying to find alternative sources. A nuclear deal with Iran could lift sanctions and bring its oil back to the market, cool prices and fill in some of the gaps left by the Russian oil boycott.

Turkey and Israel working to bring back ambassadors

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, on Thursday that Turkey and Israel are working to return diplomatic relations to ambassadorial level.

  • Background: After more than a decade of strained relations between Israel and Turkey, relations have been heated for months. Tensions came to a head in 2018 when the two countries expelled their ambassadors. However, they found common ground in the debate on energy. Cavusoglu visited Israel last month to promote expanded economic cooperation, making it the first of such a visit by a Turkish official in 15 years.
  • why is it important: Israel is another key state in the region that will improve relations with Turkey. Turkey, once excluded by regional giants Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Egypt, is now mending ties with multiple old foes. Erdogan met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday.

What to watch

Amineh Kakabaveh, who fought as a Kurdish Peshmerga member and has been a member of parliament for the past 14 years in Sweden, tells CNN’s Becky Anderson why Turkey is fighting for Kurdish rights when it opposes Sweden’s NATO membership. Watch the interview here.

around the area

Mobile operators in the United Arab Emirates are going beyond phone numbers by allowing users to communicate with each other through “tags” and selling them for big bucks.

Tags will act as shortcuts to phone numbers. They consist of a hashtag of one to five digits. The country’s main telecom company, e& (formerly Etisalat), has begun auctioning some of the most sought-after numbers.

In a country obsessed with elite numbers, some labels are offering offers of millions of dirhams.

Some of the available tags are #10, #1234, #11 and #55555.

According to the Khaleej Times, a local newspaper, the bid for the 10th label has reached 1.5 million dirhams ($408,000) and 800,000 dirhams for the 15th label, although the final bids have not been announced.

“#TAG is not only a unique short phone number, but also an innovative marketing and communication tool,” said Omar Matar Al Manna, Managing Director of Emirates Auction, who organized the sale. “Creating a business-specific VIP number sets them apart and attracts new customers,” he told state-owned WAM news agency.

The country has seen bids for phone numbers and license plates reach millions of dirhams in the past. In April, Abu Dhabi license plate number “2” sold at auction for $6.3 million, while a traditional phone number sold for over $800,000 last year.

by Mohammed Abdelbary

Photo of the day

Supporters of Yemen's Houthi movement listen to the speech of their leader, Abdel Malek al-Houthi, broadcast on a giant screen in a mosque in the capital, Sanaa, on June 22.

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