Top News: Britain Defends Invite to Sisi After Morsi Death Sentence

The British government on Thursday defended its plan to invite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to visit, saying it was important to engage with countries and to raise “matters of concern.” Egypt’s state news agency said on Wednesday that Prime Minister David Cameron had invited Sisi to visit, a day after a Cairo court sentenced former president Mohamed Morsi to death. A spokeswoman for Cameron said on Thursday that British government was looking at the possibility of Sisi holding talks in London with Cameron “at some point later this year.” Asked whether the invitation was controversial given the Morsi ruling and Sisi’s human rights record, the spokeswoman said, “[Cameron] has talked before about how it is important that we engage with countries where there are issues which are important to the UK’s national interests and how we can work together on them.” [Reuters, 6/18/2015]


Nageh Ibrahim: reconciliation between Brotherhood and Egyptian state the ‘only solution’
Nageh Ibrahim, cofounder and former leading member of the Islamist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, said he believes that reconciliation is the only solution to the current crisis in Egypt. “Polarization harms the country,” said Ibrahim. “It cannot be that one political group lies in prison, while the other, against them, is in power…This cycle has to stop.” Ibrahim said he believes in the need for reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the Egyptian authorities based on the “historic experience of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya with [former President Hosni] Mubarak.” He also mentioned Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia, who has taken initiatives towards a possible reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the Egyptian state. In a visit to Saudi Arabia last week, Ghannouchi suggested that Saudi Arabia oversee a reconciliation in Egypt. [Ahram Online, 6/18/2015]

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Egypt establishes department for unlicensed weapons | Cairo Post
Egypt’s cabinet approves Sinai Development Law amendments | Cairo Post


Lawyer appeals Morsi’s twenty-year jail verdict
Ex-President Mohamed Morsi’s lawyer on Thursday appealed a twenty-year prison verdict against the former leader over inciting violence during protests against his rule outside the presidential palace in December 2012. “We are unable to communicate with the ousted president, but I have an authorization from him to take the necessary decisions when needed,” said lawyer Abdel-Monem Abdel-Maqsoud, who explained that the appeal was his decision. Morsi’s defense team had been undecided on the issue, as Morsi does not recognize the court that issued the April verdict, he said. The team had previously filed a complaint stating that the court did not have the jurisdiction to conduct the trial, but it was rejected. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 6/18/2015]

Judicial committee investigates unregistered NGOs, says ministry
A judicial committee that visited a local rights group last week was mandated by a judge to look into unregistered bodies, the Social Solidarity Ministry said on Thursday. The ministry said in a statement reported that the purpose of the visit was to “examine the work” of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). It denied that the committee’s work reflects a crackdown on civil society. The ministry did not mention any other organizations that have been or are due to be examined by the committee, yet it stressed the importance of all civil society organizations to register under Law 84/2002. [Aswat Masriya, 6/18/2015]

Also of Interest
Egypt says commenting on judiciary’s decisions is ‘inappropriate’ | Aswat Masriya


Egypt draft 2015/2016 budget projects 9.9 percent deficit, 5 percent growth
Egypt’s cabinet approved a draft 2015/2016 budget that projects a deficit of 9.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), narrowing slightly from an expected gap of 10.8 percent in the current fiscal year. The draft budget, which has yet to be approved by the president, also includes a large increase in social welfare program expenditure. The budget also earmarks 38.4 billion pounds for bread and commodities subsidies. Growth is projected at about 5 percent versus a projected 4.2 percent in the current fiscal year, while the projected deficit increased to 281 billion Egyptian pounds. [Reuters, DNE, SIS, 6/19/2015]

Also of Interest
Sisi directs Suez Canal Authority to develop Port Said harbor, industrial zone | SIS
Noble Group to supply Egypt with LNG cargo | Reuters


Displacement of Copts raises persecution fears in Egypt
Five Coptic Christian families from a village in Beni Suef governorate were forcibly displaced on May 22 after a young member of one the families published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook page. A displacement sentence was issued on May 25 during a customary court hearing in Kafr Dahshur. The forced displacement provoked criticism from rights organizations and several Egyptian parties. On June 2, the displaced families returned to their village after Beni Suef Governor Mohamed Selim worked with security services on bringing them back to their homes during reconciliation meetings between the village residents. Coptic intellectual Kamal Zakher told Al-Monitor that the Copts’ displacement is part of the conflict between political Islam and the current regime, as many Copts support the government, making them a target for those looking to challenge the state. [Al-Monitor, 6/18/2015]

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Facebook alternative Muslimface officially launches | Ahram Online
Matariya police station says inmate died of ‘circulatory collapse’ | Cairo Post
Al-Azhar condemns China for forbidding East Turkestan Muslims from fasting | Egypt Independent


Interior Ministry officer orders released detainee to bow down for cameras
An Interior Ministry officer ordered one of the 165 detainees released by presidential pardon yesterday to bow down in front of cameras. The incident took place on Wednesday outside Torah Prison. “Make sure we are not in the picture,” the officer was heard as saying. Ordering the detainee into the submissive and humbling posture, the officer apparently wanted to force him to show extreme gratitude to government officials for his pardon. Assistant Interior Minister for Media Affairs Abdel Kerim Abu Bakr said this behavior from the officials is “unacceptable” and will be investigated. [Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 6/19/2015]

Also of Interest
Student killed in clashes between security forces and Brotherhood supporters | Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online
Telecommunication networks halted six hours for security campaign | Egypt Independent
Policeman injured in Arish blast, say security sources | Aswat Masriya


Shoukry says Egypt committed to Yemen stability; Sisi meets with Yemeni VP
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has reiterated Egypt’s support for achieving stability in crisis-torn Yemen. “Security in the Gulf is an integral part of Egypt’s security,” Shoukry said in an interview. The minister said Egypt and Saudi Arabia share a “common vision” and “identical stances” on the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is pounding Houthi rebels. Shoukry said Cairo is closely working with Riyadh to provide humanitarian aid to Yeminis and protect Egyptians residing in Saudi regions bordering Yemen. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Yemen’s Vice President Khaled Bahah also met on Thursday in Cairo to discuss security around the Red Sea, according to Egyptian presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef. Explaining Egypt’s support to the Saudi-led military campaign, Sisi said that securing the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the south of the Red Sea between Djibouti and Yemen was “a top priority for Egypt’s national security.” He also stressed the importance of supporting the Yemeni army’s role in restoring security and stability to the country. [Ahram Online, SIS, 6/19/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Amr Darrag: The west’s betrayal of Egypt will reap a bitter harvest | The Guardian
  • French FM in Egypt to discuss Palestinian-Israeli peace talks | Ahram Online
  • Egypt contracts French Sagem to receive AASM Hammer missiles | Cairo Post