Tuesday’s papers: Mubaraks’ assets frozen, army vows to reset minimum wage, al-Adly makes excuses

In what has become an increasingly common trend, state-owned and independent papers share similar headlines on Tuesday. They feature the much-anticipated decision to freeze the assets of former president Hosni Mubarak and his family, and ban them from travel.

Both decisions were officially announced on Monday by Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, following “numerous complaints filed referring to the expanding fortune of the former president, as well as those of his family members,” reports state-owned Al-Ahram. Independent daily Al-Wafd adds that a significant number of the complaints came “attached with incriminating documents” as evidence.

However, as Assistant Attorney General Adel Said told Al-Ahram, “the authenticity of many of these documents must first be verified” before any official action can be taken.

Meanwhile, Al-Wafd reports that copies of the decrees have been sent to the nation’s banks, financial institutions and auditing organizations, along with demands that they “adhere to the ruling and take all necessary measures to confirm the nature of complaints filed against the Mubarak family.”

Independent daily Al-Shorouk claims that the former president was notified of the decisions the night before the public announcement. The paper also reported that the travel ban was only announced by the Attorney General after it was confirmed that all the former president’s family members were in the country and that his son Gamal had returned home from abroad.

Unspecified “sources” in Al-Shorouk claim that investigations of employees at various national airports are currently underway, in an effort to determine whether or not they permitted Mubarak to fly some of his family’s “valuable possessions” out of the country in the days leading up to, and immediately following, his ouster on 11 February.

Tuesday’s papers collectively report that a Cairo criminal court will look into the Attorney General’s decision on 5 March.

In their reports on the issue, state-owned and independent papers also mention the corresponding investigation launched by the Ministry of Justice’s Illicit Gains Authority into the individual estates of the former president, his wife and their two children. The investigation began on Monday in response to an official complaint filed by Mostafa Bakry, editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Osbou.

In other news, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has “promised to determine minimum and maximum wages shortly,” according to a headline on Al-Shorouk’s front page. Following a five-hour meeting with “the 25 January Youth Coalition,” members of the armed forces announced their intention to “remove all current governors and dissolve the state security apparatus in approximately two months’ time” and release all detainees. The council reportedly vowed to find and hold accountable all those responsible for last Saturday's clashes between soldiers and protesters attempting a sit-in to protest against current Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and his cabinet.

Concerning the ongoing investigation into the killing of protesters and the subsequent–and still unexplained–withdrawal of police during the 25 January uprising, former Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly claimed on Monday that he had consistently filed reports on the escalating violence and the police forces’ “weakness” in containing it, but these went unanswered. In a report published in independent daily Al-Dostour, the former minister allegedly explained that he had interpreted the lack of response as an indication that he should “continue to deal with the issue in the same manner” as before. During his second day of questioning on Monday, al-Adly accused members of the then ruling National Democratic Party of “directly and indirectly getting involved in state security affairs,” an involvement which he claimed directly resulted in the “confused decision-making,” which led to the withdrawal of police forces.

The situation continued to deteriorate for Egyptians stranded in Libya, as discussed in Al-Wafd’s report, which came under the headline "20,000 Egyptians with no food or shelter seeking to return home.” In a situation that has been described by the Red Cross as representing a “humanitarian disaster,” tens of thousands of refugees gathered at the Libya-Tunisia border, among them a large number of Egyptians desperately seeking a way home. “All other nations are sending airplanes to rescue their citizens, and everyone is sent home, except Egyptians,” an unnamed Egyptian was quoted as saying. Al-Wafd reported that several groups of Egyptians began to protest, calling for immediate rescue, along the border. In a report taken from BBC, Al-Wafd stated that Tunisian officials relocated individuals to nearby camps and schools, but were struggling to deal with large numbers of refugees.

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-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

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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