Top News: Assets of Seventy-Eight Brotherhood Members Frozen

A Justice Ministry panel tasked with tracking the assets and funding of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has frozen the assets and properties of seventy-eight new group members. Sources within the commission, headed by Assistant Justice Minister Ezzat Khamis, said the measure raises the number of Brotherhood members subject to asset freezes to 1,330. According to the panel’s secretary general, Mohamed Aboul Fotouh, the frozen assets include six businesses working in the field of trade, real estate and industry. [Egypt Independent, 7/29/2015]

Climate for political participation in Egypt deteriorates further, says DI
Democracy International (DI) published a report Monday detailing its observation and analysis of the Egyptian parliamentary elections process, covering the period from candidate registration until after the announcement of the electoral process’ delay. “Unfortunately, the repression of political opposition has increased since the adoption of the constitution and the election of President Sisi,” the report stated regarding the current political environment. DI cites serious concerns regarding the lack of freedom of expression for individuals; the restrictive environment for parties and organizations in opposition to the government; and various legal restrictions that impede freedoms. The report came just before a law mandating Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) look into complaints against parliamentary elections within a maximum of five days after the court sessions begins was overturned on Tuesday.
Sisi signed into law the cancellation of the provision, which was introduced by former interim president Adly Mansour in 2014. Cancelling the law would not put a time frame on the court’s decision while studying the cases brought against elections. [DNE, Ahram Online, 7/29/2015]  

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Judge resigns amid accusations of sexual bribery
Judge Ramy Abdel Hady resigned on Tuesday amid accusations of demanding sexual favors from a woman who appeared before his court, a source from the Justice Ministry said. Hady was arrested while on vacation at a North Coast resort, after administrative officials received a report of the incident, state-owned Al-Ahram reported. The Supreme Judicial Council decided to lift Hady’s judicial immunity after an emergency meeting was convened Saturday evening. Hady told Al-Ahram that the accusations are a “Brotherhood campaign” to tarnish his image because he acquitted television host Ahmed Moussa of slander. The resignation also follows a publishing ban, issued by the Supreme Judicial Court on the case on Sunday morning.  [Mada Masr, 7/29/2015]

Esraa al-Tawil faces charges of spreading false news
State Security Prosecution officially charged photojournalist Esraa al-Tawil of belonging to a terrorist group and spreading false news on Monday, and ordered the renewal of her detention by fifteen days, after having spent fifty-seven days in police custody. A spokesperson for the anti-government Students Against the Coup movement said Tuesday that Taweel is not an official member, but added that they they are following her case. In mid-June, Tawil was spotted in Qanater prison after disappearing June 1, along with her two friends, Sohaib Saad and Omar Mohamed. Tawil was abducted by security forces and held in detention for almost two months without charges. Prosecution said that it will consider renewing Tawil’s detention again on August 11, 2015. Meanwhile, the Dostour Party launched a campaign on political detainees, torture, and forced disappearances. In a statement Monday, the party emphasized its rejection of what it described as “the regime’s unconventional practices and oppressive policies.” [DNE, Egypt Independent, 7/28/2015]

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Deutsche Bank, HSBC said arranging $3.7 billion Egypt power loan
Egypt is seeking to raise about $3.7 billion in loans to fund power plants after signing a deal with Siemens AG to build the projects. Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc. and Kfw-Ipex Bank AG are helping state-controlled Egyptian Electricity Holding Co. raise the funds. The loan is being supported by export credit agency Euler Hermes Group. A draft loan agreement has been referred to the economic ministers’ group for review, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said in a phone interview, without confirming the size of the loan. The loan carries a guarantee from the Ministry of Finance with the first tranche expected to be drawn in about six months, he said. A spokesman for Euler Hermes said the company is aware of the deal but no decision had been taken to back it.  [Bloomberg, 7/28/2015]

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Doctors Syndicate asks for arrest powers in medical violations
The Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate requested from the Minister of Justice to be granted the right of arrest powers to face any illegal medical actions, a statement read on Monday. After the Egyptian Engineers’ Syndicate was granted the same right earlier in July, the Doctors’ Syndicate requested the same powers arguing that it would help them control illegal medical actions in hospitals and clinics and to prevent non-doctors from practice.  Lawyer and constitutional law expert Essam al-Eslamboly said the right of arrest powers make it easier for syndicates and specialized institutes to report any illegal actions by directly referring the case to the general prosecution. However, Sameh Samir, a lawyer at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, said that most people in the syndicates do not have a legal background, which may lead to abuse of the powers. Right of arrest powers are meant to be given to the board of the syndicate and the chiefs of sub-syndicates. [Ahram Online, 7/28/2015]

Twenty-five killed in Egyptian Obour City furniture factory fire
Twenty-five Egyptian workers were killed and twenty-two others injured in a furniture factory fire in Obour, Egypt’s Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar said Tuesday. The fire took place in a three-story furniture factory based in an industrial zone in the city of Obour in Qalyubiya governorate, northeast of Cairo. According to a security official, a preliminary investigation indicated that the blaze started when a gas cylinder exploded as it was transported in an elevator. Egyptian state-run media said the factory in the city of al-Obour had not obtained a government safety certification. A statement released by the Ministry of Interior stated the fire had been completely contained by twenty-three firefighting trucks. The fire was subdued within four hours, and firefighters managed to save the lives of 150 workers trapped inside the factory, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. Families of the victims will receive EGP 5,000 ($700) in compensation according to Qalyubiya Governor Mohamed Abdel Zaher. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 7/29/2015]

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Policeman killed in drive-by shooting at Niger Embassy in Cairo
A policeman was killed and three others were injured when unidentified assailants opened fire at security forces outside the Embassy of Niger in Cairo, the Interior Ministry announced early Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement that a police conscript died and two other low-ranking policemen and an Egyptian civilian working at the embassy were injured when assailants in a private vehicle drove by and shot at them at around 1 a.m. The injured were transferred to hospital and police are conducting investigations, the statement added. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 7/29/2015]

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Egypt defends Syria’s territorial unity after Turkey moves against ISIS
Egypt said that Syria’s territorial integrity must be preserved – an apparent sign of its disapproval of Turkey’s intervention against militants in Iraq and Syria. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Cairo supported combating what it called terrorist groups in Syria. But this effort must happen “within the context of preserving the unity and integrity of Syria’s territories…in accordance with international legal norms and decisions,” it said. Turkey last week began bombarding targets in Syria linked to the Islamic State jihadist movement and granted access to its air bases to a US led-coalition – ending a policy which avoided direct intervention in the Syria conflict. It also struck militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq in recent days in response to attacks against its security forces. The Egyptian statement did not elaborate nor mention Turkey. [Reuters, 7/29/2015]

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