Wednesday’s papers: Regime officials released, religious tension simmers

After weeks of arrests and prosecutions filling the papers, the campaign against former regime officials seems to be waning as many are being set free pending further investigations.

Following the release of regime pillars Moufeed Shehab, Fathi Sorour and Zakariya Azmy, news of the release of the former First Lady Suzanne Mubarak headed today’s newspapers, as did the public’s reaction to rumors that ousted President Hosni Mubarak would seek a pardon.

The former first lady was released after relinquishing her assets while investigations into her fortune continue.

While most newspapers overlooked rumors Mubarak would seek amnesty in an apology speech, the independent newspaper Al-Shorouk dedicated substantial space to reactions to the rumor. Judges suggested a referendum to determine whether to pardon the former president whereas political activists and the public strongly rejected the idea through social media.

State-run Al-Ahram, which frequently uses its front page headline as a platform for the military, transcribes an armed forces statement on its front page, quoting Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as saying continued protests and strikes are the main threat to the revolution.

Amid a growing petrol crisis, Al-Dostour warned of an imminent food shortage in Egypt caused by strikes and lack of security.

Al-Ahram also announced the cabinet on Wednesday would discuss the political participation law to introduce widely demanded changes. According to the newspaper, the suggested changes include enforcing judicial supervision of elections, granting Egyptians abroad the right to vote and allowing citizens to vote with their national ID rather than a voting card.

As Coptic protests continue at the Egyptian state television building in reaction to Imbaba sectarian clashes, the military, according to Al-Ahram, assured protesters that it was there to protect them and would not end their sit-in violently.

Leftist party paper Al-Wafd reported that the protesters said they would end their 11-day sit-in if two of the churches closed in the wake of the violence were reopened.

As sectarian tension continues, Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and Coptic Pope Shenouda III attended the first meeting for the “Family House” initiative aimed at strengthening national unity.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood announced its selection of Coptic thinker Rafik Habib for vice president of the group’s fledgling political party.

In an interview with Al-Shorouk newspaper, Habib denies that his recruitment was meant to attract Copts to the party and emphasized the importance of cooperation between members of the group and non-group members in the party as a means to consolidate social unity.

Al-Shorouk offers a comparison of the online popularity of presidential candidates Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, leaving substantial comparisons between their policies or expertise for another day. While ElBaradei beats Moussa by a large margin on Twitter, their stats
on Facebook and Google searches are close, according to the paper.

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-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

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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