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By RANY MOSTAFA
CAIRO: Forty-seven artifacts have been restored, out of 179 damaged in the bomb attack near the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in January, the head of the restoration department at the Antiquities Ministry, Hamdy Abdel Moneim announced in a press conference Sunday.
Abdel Moneim, who heads the team of archaeologists tasked with the restoration of the artifacts, said the restoration of another 37 artifacts is in progress while the rest will be restored during the next few months.
Present at the conference was Dr. Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State who expressed the “keenness of the UAE’s government to safeguard Egypt’s heritage” and support the ongoing development projects.
“The UAE will fund the restoration of the MIA and the damaged artifacts to return it to its original state, in cooperation with reputable archaeology and renovation centers in Europe and the United States,” Jaber said.
A delegation from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) is scheduled for an inspection visit to Egypt in order to overview the MIA’s structural damages and suggest ideas for the required restoration, Damaty said.
In January, UNESCO director Irina Bokova granted $100,000 to restore the MIA.
The museum, which was built in 1881, is the oldest building purposefully built to display Islamic art and houses one of the world’s richest collection of Islamic history artifacts.
It was under restoration for eight years before it was opened for public in 2009, two years before the start of the January 25 Revolution.
It housed over 1,700 artifacts dating back to different Islamic eras before it was hit by a severe explosion in January.
The explosion, which targeted Cairo’s security directorate facing the museum, caused extensive damage to its main building, smashed its facade and covered its artifacts on display with debris.
Business tycoon Naguib Sawiris called for the release of Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy in a video posted Tuesday.
“He cannot be dragged into a case related to the Muslim Brotherhood. I say this with conviction and am clearing my conscience because I feel he is aggrieved,” Sawiris said.
“No one disagrees that Al-Jazeera is an inciting channel, but it is difficult to punish everyone just because they wanted to earn a living and build a future,” he added.
Egyptian-Canadian Fahmy is serving a seven-year prison term along with Al-Jazeera’s Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed. They have been jailed since December 2013 for “publishing false news” and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organization by the government.
Qatar, whose royal family owns the channel, and Egypt have been at odds since the ouster of PresidentMohamed Morsi. Egypt has claimed that the Gulf State used Al-Jazeera as a media and political tool to attack Egypt and spread rumors that Egypt is suffering from a “civil war.”
The three journalists are appealing the verdict, but the Cassation Court has yet to set a date for the appeal.
“With this message I hope whether there could be a pardon from Mr. President or other judicial stages, and that the judiciary takes all factors into consideration,” Sawiris said in his video.
On June 24, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said in a speech at the Military Academy graduation ceremony that he called Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber and told him, “We will not intervene in the affairs of the judiciary because it is independent. If we earnestly seek a state of institutions, we must respect judicial rulings.”
Sisi’s statement came one day after the journalists were sentenced.
Sawiris made a distinction between Al-Jazeera English, where Fahmy worked, and Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, which he said is “purely inciting” and “baseless.” He said that the former CNN reporter supported the June 30 popular protests that led to the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.
“My personal opinion is that there is no way he could be involved in anything illegal, unlike others who incite against the country in Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr.”
The billionaire said that although Al-Jazeera has “lost its credibility,” one of “our countrymen” should not be wronged in this issue.
In May, Fahmy received the Canadian World Press Freedom award. He also donated 15,000 EGP ($2,097) to an account dedicated to support Egypt, as part of an initiative launched by Sisi, reported Aswat Masriya June 25.
He and his fiancée Marwa Emara announced they wish to hold their wedding ceremony in prison, Emara said in a statement published by CBC News Aug. 20.
“We have submitted a request to the Ministry of Interior to allow us to have our wedding in prison alongside our immediate family members,” Emara said in her statement.
According to Emara, the lead investigator revealed in court that his whole investigation was based on Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel.
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI
CAIRO: Professors at Cairo University Sunday rallied in support of two colleagues who are detained by security forces and are currently on a hunger strike.
The professors have created a group called “Independent University,” in support of Dr.Mostafa Zidan, imprisoned since April, and on a hunger strike since Aug. 23, and Dr. Magdy Khalifa, in detention for nine months, and on a hunger strike since Aug. 1; both are accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The scientists and intellectuals of the country are now behind bars, paying the price for defending this nation’s freedom and dignity,” read a Sunday statement by the group.
The professors also criticized the conditions of their detention: sharing cells with 50 other detainees.
The arrest of university professors across governorates has become common in the period following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi and Brotherhood supporters starting July 2013, including mass arrests during students’ demonstrations during last year’s first academic term.
The most recent arrest took place on Aug. 7, when seven professors were arrested in Alexandria. Like their fellow colleagues, they are charged of joining the Brotherhood, inciting the overthrow the regime and other charges related to disrupting national security, Al-Wafd reported.
While there is no accurate data providing numbers, it has been reported also that some professors, usually associated or in favor of the Brotherhood, were dismissed from their position. However, this did not necessarily have a political dimension, but was more about the legal framework of their jobs.
Pakinam al-Sharkawy, a media advisor to former president Mohamed Morsi, was a professor of politics at Cairo University before being appointed by the presidency. In February 2014, a suspension from work was issued by the university against her, which news reported at the time was because of her affiliation to the Brotherhood.
The university said her suspension was due to her absence of work without justification, when she went to work with the president.