Top News: Egypt’s Sisi Pledges Stricter Laws after Murder of Top Prosecutor

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to amend laws in Egypt within days to achieve “rapid justice” against militants a day after the assassination of the country’s top public prosecutor. “The arm of justice is chained by the law. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice as soon as possible,” Sisi said in televised remarks to reporters as he left a military funeral for Hisham Barakat, whose convoy was struck by a car bomb attack on Monday. Sisi addressed the judiciary, saying that following Barakat’s death, condolences will be paid by advancing the state, controlling terrorism, and creating rulings of effective justice as fast as possible. Repeating the words “the law, the law,” Sisi added: “If there is a death sentence, a death sentence shall be enforced.” Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend echoed Sisi’s statements saying the attack will not stop judges and prosecutors from enforcing the rule of law in the face of terrorists and criminals. [Ahram OnlineDNEAPMada MasrThe GuardianEgypt Independent, 6/30/2015]


Elections expected in September says Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim al-Heneidy expects parliamentary elections to be held in September 2015, with the first parliamentary session before the end of the year. “We are under pressure by political leaders to complete the third step of the roadmap,” Heneidy said Sunday. It is expected that the parliamentary law drafts will be presented to the cabinet this week, after the observations of the High Electoral Commission (HEC) are received, he said. [DNE, 6/ 29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s Prime Minister designates Tuesday a public holiday | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent   
  • SIS: Assassinating prosecutor general attests to MB rejection of State of law | SIS
  • No way to stop the bloodshed except with “breaking the military coup” – Brotherhood | Aswat Masriya
  • High profile figures expected to be further targeted: Security analysts | DNE

Egypt’s Justice Minister cancels all judicial leave this summer
Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend has decided to cancel Egypt’s annual judicial leave this year in order for judges to close ongoing cases in all courts, Ahram reported. “We will work at full capacity this summer for the soul of the martyr Hisham Barakat,” Zend said at the funeral of slain top prosecutor Hisham Barakat in New Cairo on Tuesday. In Egypt, judicial leave traditionally lasts for a period of three months, from July to September, during which the entire judicial process is halted. The courts also refrain from accepting new lawsuits throughout this period. Zend added that judges will keep on fighting for what they stand for,”” stressing that Egypt “will not be silenced.” He added, “We are not afraid of death. I might be killed next after Barakat, but I don’t mind.” [Ahram Online, 6/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt appoints new acting top prosecutor: Judicial source | Ahram Online

EBRD boosts trading facility for Egypt’s CIB to $100 million
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday it would increase its trading facility limit to Egypt’s largest private sector bank, the Commercial International Bank (CIB), to $100 million from $50 million. EBRD said in a statement the boost came in response to growing market demand to promote cross-border trade in Egypt. [Reuters, 6/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s bourse closed Tuesday on June 30 anniversary | Ahram Online
  • Sisi assigns ACA chief to solve investors’ problems | SIS
  • Egypt’s trade balance tips in favor of international blocs | DNE
  • Egypt looks to offshore efforts to shore up gas need | Forbes (blog)

El Pais correspondent flees Egypt under threat of arrest
The correspondent of leading Spanish daily newspaper El Pais was forced to make an emergency departure from Egypt mid-June on advice that local authorities were preparing to arrest him. Ricard Gonzalez said he was “forced to leave Egypt against [his] will,” on advice that Egypt was preparing to bring charges against him. Gonzalez told Daily News Egypt Tuesday: “The Spanish authorities warned me that I was under the imminent risk of being arrested and indicted, and they advised me not to go back to Cairo.” The journalist said that he still does not “have a clue why [he] was singled out among a group of foreign correspondents.” He added, “I have had contacts with the opposition, as have many of my colleagues. My newspaper, the Spanish El Pais, has been very critical with the current regime in its editorials, and I have written several articles on the violations of human rights in the country. But so have other outlets.” [DNE, 6/30/2015]

People pay price of failed security policies: 6 April
In a statement issued by grassroots April 6 Youth Movement condemning the terrorist attack that resulted in the death of Egypt’s Prosecutor General, Hisham Barakat, the group asserted their “unchanged stance against terrorism and full rejection to violence and blood shedding.” The statement added that the Egyptian people “pay daily the price of the security policies consecutive failures of the ruling regime which due to them the blood of Egyptians is being shed everywhere without accounting.” They called for “a political solution” to the crisis facing the country. The movement concluded that “there is no way to fight terrorism but through the coherence and stability of home front and implementing concepts of justice and law.” [DNE, 6/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • HRDO center: State is curbing press freedom | Egypt Independent
  • Port Said residents protest antique building demolition plans | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian cultural, media institutions suspend activities for Barakat mourning | Ahram Online

Cairo’s Tahrir metro station to be closed indefinitely for security reasons
Tahrir Square’s Sadat metro station will be closed indefinitely starting Tuesday morning for security reasons, Khaled Sabra, the CEO of the Egyptian Corporation for Metro Management & Operation, said in media statements on Monday night. According to a source at the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation, security officials requested that trains would not be permitted to stop at the metro station and that it be closed until further notice. The closure of the station comes after it operated for less than two weeks. It was opened to the public on June 17 following nearly two years’ closure. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 6/30/2015]

Interior ministry steps up security measures ahead of June 30
Following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat on Monday, security forces are on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the June 30 mass protests. The Minister of Interior presented a provisional security plan to the presidency, whereby the ministry has stepped up the security presence surrounding vital facilities and public institutions. Various means of public transportation and the metro will also see a higher security presence, according to a presidency statement. The health ministry also said Tuesday that it has placed its staff and facilities on high alert nationwide in preparation for the anniversary of. A broad alliance of thirteen groups had called on people to take to the streets on June 30, the anniversary of a popular uprising that eventually ousted former president Mohamed Morsi, to protest “against the military coup.” Among them are the Istiqlal Party, as well as ‘Women against the Coup’ and the ‘Movement of Azharis against the Coup.’ [DNE, 6/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Electricity, interior ministries step up patrols to secure power pylons | SIS
  • Tourist buses banned from Red Sea-Luxor road | Egypt Independent
  • Murders, army raids continue in Sinai on Morsi’s ouster anniversary | Egypt Independent
  • Mortar shell kills two children in North Sinai – medical sources | Aswat Masriya
  • Three killed, thirteen injured following a bomb attack in North Sinai | Ahram Online, DNE
  • One killed, four injured in Beni Suef, Qena shootings | DNE, Egypt Independent

World denounces assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General
Dozens of states worldwide and international organizations have strongly denounced the Monday assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in a car bomb attack. “We condemn the terror attack that was conducted today in Egypt against government officials,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in statement Tuesday. The UN security council also condemned the killing in a statement released Monday. “The members of the Security Council extended their condolences to the family of the victim and their sympathy to all those injured in this heinous attack, as well as to the people and the Government of Egypt,” read the UN statement. The attack also prompted some countries to support the government’s decision to increase counterterrorism efforts. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Bin Ahmad al-Jubeir added that the country stands by Egypt in its war against terrorism threatening the country’s security and stability, describing the attack as a cowardly act. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani, agreed, saying that the attack targeted Egypt and its stability. In a statement, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni voiced solidarity with the Egyptian government and people in standing against terrorism.  President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received two phone calls from his Sudanese and Tunisian counterparts Omar al-Bashir and Beji Caid Essebsi expressing their condolences over the assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat. The Sudanese and Tunisian presidents expressed condolences to the Egyptian people and Barakat’s family, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also extended the opportunity to mourn to Egyptians living abroad by instructing diplomatic missions abroad to open condolence books at their headquarters. Head to EgyptSource for earlier statements made by the United States, United Nations, and European Union, as well as more background information on Bakarat’s assassination. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, SIS , Reuters, 6/30/2015]

Amnesty decries Egypt “mass arrests”, Foreign Ministry condemns
Amnesty International has accused the Egyptian authorities of jailing young activists to quell unrest under one of the toughest crackdowns in the country’s history. In a report released Tuesday, Amnesty looked at the cases of fourteen young people among thousands it said were arbitrarily imprisoned in Egypt in the past two years in connection with protests. Amnesty and other human rights groups have criticized what they call repressive policies under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “By relentlessly targeting Egypt’s youth activists, the authorities are crushing an entire generation’s hopes for a brighter future,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Egypt’s foreign ministry said it “totally disapproves of” and “rejects” the report in which Amnesty International “falsely claimed that Egyptian authorities have targeted youths and detained dozens of people without fair trial.” The ministry said Amnesty “lacks credibility,” and that the report “blatantly violates the people’s right to choose their leadership and to reject acts of terrorism and violence.” It added that the report intentionally ignored a recent presidential pardon granted to more than 100 detainees.  [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 6/30/2015]