Top News: After Classmate’s Death, Ain Shams Students Resign from Union in Protest

After an Ain Shams University student was allegedly killed by security forces on Tuesday, his classmates released a statement Wednesday announcing they would resign from their student union in protest. The Students Union said in a statement published on its Facebook page late Wednesday that on Tuesday that student Islam Salah al-Din Atitu was taking an exam with his fellow students in the electric power department when an unknown person entered the room accompanied by a faculty member. They told him to go the student affairs office following the exam. The unknown person allegedly waited outside of the examination area until Atitu finished, then left with him. This was the last time Atitu was seen alive by his classmates. News of his death soon spread on campus the following day, the union reported. However, the Interior Ministry offered a starkly different account of events. In a statement released on its official Facebook page, the ministry claimed that Atitu was killed after he opened fire on security personnel during an attempted arrest in the Fifth Settlement, not on campus. Officials claimed Atitu was wanted for alleged involvement in the assassination of former head of the Matariya police station, Colonel Wael Tahoun, and that he belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 5/21/2015]


Sisi approves UAE grant to reconstruct Islamic Art Museum
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Thursday a decision approving a 50 million Egyptian pound grant from the United Arab Emirates to reconstruct the Museum of Islamic Art. The museum was badly damaged by an explosion which rocked the capital in January 2014, killing four people and destroying several artifacts. The UAE announced in September 2014 its plans to fund the museum’s reconstruction. The plans were finalized with the signing of a deal in Cairo last March. The presidential decree comes to strengthen ties between both states, reported the state news agency MENA. It also comes as a form of cooperation to preserve Islamic heritage. [Aswat Masriya, 5/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Wafd Party says Morsi is a traitor who deserves to be executed | Ahram Online
  • Cabinet announces 5,000 jobs nationwide for people with disabilities | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Alexandria military court hands prison sentences to 147 defendants, including children
An Alexandria military court issued sentences against 147 defendants, including at least twelve children aged between fifteen and eighteen, according to the National Community for Human Rights and Law. The Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions (EFACC) stated that despite the due release of six children in the case, the foundation maintains that all military trials of children must end. The sentences varied, with approximately fifty receiving life sentences, while thirty received fifteen year prison sentences, seven received ten year sentences, two received seven year sentences, and eighteen received five year sentences. A total of thirty-seven were found innocent. Three children were declared as falling outside the jurisdiction of the court, whereas six others received fifteen year sentences, and another three were proven innocent. According to EFACC, the charges include “offenses against public property and intimidating civilians through force and violence.” [DNE, 5/22/2015]

Also of Interest
Morsi insulting the judiciary trial begins on May 23 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Q&A: Capital punishment in Egypt | Ahram Online
New justice minister says combat administrative corruption in ministry | SIS, EGYNews (Arabic)
Peter Greste: My treatment by Egypt’s legal system has been a travesty of justice | The Guardian


Egypt set to launch up to $3 billion LNG purchase tender in June
Egypt is set to launch what will be a highly sought after tender in early June to buy up to $3 billion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over 2016 and 2017. Egypt has emerged as a major new market for LNG as it looks to ease its worst energy crunch in decades. This year it secured $2.2 billion worth of LNG largely from European traders in its first-ever tender to supply a newly installed import terminal. A new tender to purchase additional cargoes will go towards supplying Egypt’s second planned floating import terminal. [Reuters, 5/22/2015]

Also of Interest


Academics banned from travelling without prior security approval
The Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemned the Ministry of Education for cooperating with the security apparatus in not allowing academics to travel without obtaining prior security authorization. Faculty of Science Professor Nabil Labib was banned from traveling outside of Egypt to supervise a student’s PhD dissertation. Labib told AFTE that he went to the Ministry of Higher Education to submit the Cairo University approval for his request to travel to Hungary, where he is due to follow-up on supervising an Egyptian student’s PhD dissertation. There, he was told that he had to obtain approval from security forces before traveling. Without security approval, Labib cannot get the Ministry of Higher Education’s approval for travel. AFTE said the obligation of security service approval for academics and researchers before working abroad is a clear violation of Egyptian law, the constitution, and international conventions. [DNE, 5/22/2015]

Criminalizing harassment: Local initiative introduces new campaign
Harassmap launched on Thursday a new campaign entitled, “A harasser is a criminal,” to raise awareness about the legal ramifications of sexual harassment in Egypt. The campaign specifically points to Article 306 of the Penal Code, which stipulates a penalty of six months to five years in prison for committing acts of harassment. The initiative has outreach programs in twenty-two governorates, and the campaign has four stated goals: First, to stop tolerance of sexual harassment in any form, whether through words, body language or actions. The second is to make it known that sexual harassment is a crime and punishable by law. The third is to report sexual harassment to the police, and the fourth, to intervene whenever sexual harassment occurs. [Mada Masr, 5/21/2015]

Dar al-Ifta deems unregistered cell phone lines forbidden by Islam
State-backed Dar al-Ifta deemed the use of unregistered cell phone lines haram, or forbidden by Islam. Dar al-Ifta issued a statement on Thursday saying the reason behind the decision is “so that they are not used for terrorist operations.” The statement, from the foremost religious authority for issuing fatwas in the country, went on to clarify that all personal data must be specified and documented before buying a cell phone line. Activists mocked the fatwa, saying Dar al-Ifta is another arm of state control. [DNE, 5/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Alexandria’s al-Azhar university expels seven over anti-government protests | Egypt Independent
  • Adly Mansour bridge to be established in Beni Suef | Egypt Independent
  • Education minister admits high rate of students failing reading, writing | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt struggles to prevent animal cruelty | Al Monitor


Five policemen killed in Beni Suef, Fayoum and Sharqeya
Policeman were killed in three separate incidents in Beni Suef, Fayoum, and Sharqeya in the past two days. Fathi Shaaban, a thirty-three year old police corporal was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Beni Suef on Thursday while riding his motorcycle. He died on the spot, while the assailants fled the scene. In Fayoum, a secret police sergeant was killed and another wounded from random unidentified gunshots on Thursday while they were on duty. Sayed Hassan, thirty-seven, and Rabei Ahmed, forty, both low-ranking policemen, were shot and killed while travelling home on motorcycles when armed assailants opened fire on them. In Sharqeya, twenty-four year old Hisham Sobhi Abdel Latif, a conscript, was killed, and thirty-five year old al-Sayed al-Badawy Mohamed, a police sergeant, was wounded on Thursday by unknown gunmen, also while they were on duty in the village of Abu Hammad. The security director said one of the gunmen was killed on the spot and the other was arrested. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 5/22/2015]

Also of Interest

Two soldiers injured in Sheikh Zuweid explosion | EGYNews (Arabic)
Conscript injured dismantling nineteen explosives  |Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt to host 2016 World Economic Forum on MENA
The 2016 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will be held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh in May, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday at the 2015 Forum. Speaking at the conference, Sisi said the fight against extremism in the region must go hand-in-hand with pursuing greater “freedom, equality and justice.” He said extremism increases because of “desperation, regression of values of justice.” The world community should act together to face political, economic and security challenges, Sisi said, adding that this should be done through close cooperation between governments, the private sector and NGOs. The president also said, “Empowering the role of Youth is no longer such a luxury but it has become an indispensable necessity… to push the production wheel and achieve the desired civilized development.” He added that there should be plans to eradicate poverty since “it is unacceptable for poverty to continue as a reason for the suffering of a large part of our peoples despite the enormous economic potential that abounds in our states.” [AP, SIS, Cairo Post, Cairo Post,  Full Transcript, Video, 5/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Iraqi Chief of Staff arrives in Cairo | Ahram Online
  • Lavrov: Russia to back Egypt in its war against terrorism | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)