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Arabic press review: Egyptian prisoners launch collective hunger strike

Meanwhile, Qatar is set to boost investments in Egypt while Saudi Arabia tops regional box office revenues
A media tour of the Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in Badr City, 70 kilometres northeast of Cairo, on 16 January 2022 (AFP)
A media tour of the Correctional and Rehabilitation Center in Badr City, 70 kilometres northeast of Cairo, on 16 January 2022 (AFP)

Egypt: Hunger strike begins over jail conditions

A group of Egyptian detainees launched a hunger strike against their poor imprisonment conditions, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news website reported on Monday. 

The prisoners at Alexandria’s Borg el-Arab prison are protesting alleged violations against them, including banning families from bringing them food, restricting access to medications, and limiting access to the canteen, according to the El Shehab Center for Human Rights (SHR). 

The hunger strikes were confirmed by the detainees’ relatives. 

The families said at least seven prisoners have attempted suicide amid the poor detention conditions,  the SHR added.

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Borg el-Arab prison, established in 2004, is located in a desert area west of the Alexandria governorate. 

Moroccan-French politicians urge Paris to end standoff

Four Moroccan-French politicians called on Paris to end its “silent diplomatic feud” with Rebat, according to the Hespress news website

Ghost towns, rockets and drones: Polisario’s war in Western Sahara
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The signatories of the letter - Fatna Lamir, Khadija Gamraoui, Youssef Douh and Said Laatiriss -  said they “defend the integrity of Morocco and its Sahara,” in reference to the disputed Western Sahara region. 

They also demanded the French government put an end to the diplomatic stalemate between the two countries. 

“The deterioration of ties between our two countries should alert us all,” the letter, dated 19 May, said. 

“We have been witnessing for several months the dissemination of political tribunes from opponents of the Moroccan government, sometimes supported by local elected officials.” 

The politicians said they have a duty to “mobilise fully to defend the integrity of Morocco and its Sahara without any restriction”.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, was claimed by Morocco in 1975 and is believed to have significant offshore oil reserves and mineral resources. 

Its indigenous population has fiercely rejected Moroccan control, however, and between 1975 and 1991 the Polisario Front fought an insurgency against Rabat's presence.

Qatar invests in Egypt transit system

Qatar is seeking to boost investment in Egypt through the management of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the Doha-based Al Sharq newspaper reported.

The new transit system aims to enhance the quality of transportation services in densely populated cities. 

It also plans to reduce traffic and provide time-efficient transport through specified routes and fixed stations.

The BRT system, which runs on electricity and can accommodate up to 170 passengers per trip, was recently launched by Egypt as an alternative to microbuses. 

Qatar, along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has pledged billions of dollars investments in Egypt in recent months as Cairo struggles with a worsening economic crisis. 

Saudi cinema ticket sales top region

Saudi Arabia has topped revenues from cinema ticket sales in the Middle East, new data shows, according to the Alkhaleej Online news portal. 

The kingdom’s share of regional revenue has jumped from 15 percent to 40 percent, the country’s General Commission for Audiovisual Media government body said.

They reached approximately $250m in 2022, marking a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

Saudi Arabia’s entertainment sector went through a significant transformation in recent years with cinemas opening for the first time in 2018. 

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.