Top News: Brotherhood Vows Retaliation Against Latest Execution

Mohamed Montaser, spokesperson for the banned Muslim Brotherhood, urged the Egyptian people to prepare for a heavy retaliation in response to the execution of six men sentenced to death by a military court. Montaser stressed the need for “retribution,” calling for a revolution that “cuts the heads from the rotten bodies.” He asked the Egyptian people to march in all public squares. Montaser asserted that no statement or condemnation is enough to denounce the executions. The Monday statement came after many Islamist entities expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Muslim Brotherhood and the pro-Mohamed Morsi coalition, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy. [DNE, 5/19/2015]

Campaign to submit alternative labor law draft to government
Labor activists are submitting a draft of a new labor law to the Manpower and Immigration Ministry on Wednesday, which they say serves to protect workers’ rights better than the law currently being prepared by the government. Towards a Fair Labor Law, a coalition of forty-four labor unions, civil society organizations and political parties launched in March 2014, also said it is going to submit another copy to the office of the International Labor Organization in Cairo on May 24. The campaign says its proposed draft is backed by several trade unions, as well as political and human rights activists. The campaign’s document strips employers of the power to arbitrarily dismiss workers without a judicial verdict and ensures the right of peaceful protests and strikes. It also proposes changes that include the establishment of an independent “supreme labor commission” that will have binding decision-making powers. [Egypt Independent, 5/19/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ghad al-Thawra members banned from travel to Prague | Egypt Independent
  • Negotiations in Wafd Party over return of suspended members stopped | Egypt Independent
  • 67 percent of citizens believe Egypt is on right track according to cabinet poll | Cairo Post
  • Former presidential candidate Sabbahi tweets: Death penalty is not the solution | Ahram Online


Egypt issues arrest warrant against newspaper chief editor for “false news”
Egypt’s top prosecutor issued an arrest warrant against the chief editor of a newspaper on Monday  for “publishing false news which would disturb public security, spread terror among citizens and harm the public interest.” Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat said in a statement published by his office that al-Bayan newspaper published on Monday a “false” news story on its website saying that six prosecutors were assassinated on the Cairo-Suez Road. The editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Aref, is currently being questioned by prosecutors in Cairo, and the Journalists Syndicate has sent a lawyer to represent him. Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate objected to his arrest, saying it sends a “negative” message. The syndicate said that the arrest warrant violates two articles of the law organizing journalism. It also noted that Egypt’s laws ban preventive detention in cases related to publishing. Additionally, it said that the prosecution must notify the syndicate of questioning any journalist, while in Aref’s case it only asked for information on his syndicate membership and arrested him directly. [Aswat Masriya, 5/19/2015]

Two men sentenced to death for forming terrorist cell in Egypt
Cairo Criminal Court sentenced two men to death on Monday, on charges of forming a terrorist cell. The first defendant was convicted of forming and leading a terrorist cell that aimed to prevent state organizations from performing their duties with additional plans to attack the personal freedom of citizens, harm national unity, and supply money to individuals to execute terrorist attacks. The second defendant was charged with joining the aforementioned terrorist cell with the knowledge of their intentions to destroy and bomb state institutions and spread terror and chaos in Giza’s Kerdasa district. The second was also charged with possession of explosive devices. The court is scheduled to issue its final verdict in the case on July 4, by which time it would have received the Grand Mufti’s opinion. The judge who presided over the court, Moataz Khafagi, told Aswat Masriya that investigation proved that the two defendants supplied other defendants with explosive devices and funds to carry out “terrorist operations” against security locations and personnel in Giza. [Aswat Masriya, 5/19/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Court adjourns Air Defense Stadium trial to June 13 | DNE
  • Luxor governor, mayors allowed judicial seizure | DNE
  • Judiciary highlights contradiction in Egypt, international law on strikes | Egypt Independent

Egypt targets $6 billion to $8 billion in foreign direct investment for 2014/2015
Egypt’s Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said he expects foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt to reach between $6 billion and $8 billion for the fiscal year 2014/2015. In January, Salman had said that Egypt would target $10 billion in FDI. Salman said that “tough times” are behind the lowered expectations of FDI. He said FDI in the first half of 2014/2015 amounted to $2.7 billion. Salman added that Egypt’s investment law is expected to be imposed within a month. [DNE, 5/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt seeks expansion of qualified industrial zone trade agreement | Ahram Online
  • Egypt seeks to double exports to $42 billion by FY 2018/19 | Ahram Online
  • Suez Canal expansion hoped to spur energy investment in Egypt | The National
  • Underground pipe to deliver Nile water to Sinai end of June | Egypt Independent
  • Telecommunications authority negotiates with Internet companies | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s stocks rally for second day, after capital gains tax suspension | Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Mada Masr
  • Egyptian pound steady at official auction, weaker on black market | Reuters
  • Egypt launches new power plant in Qalyubia | Aswat Masriya
  • Sisi meets members of Egypt-Kuwait Business Council | SIS
  • Trade Minister: Egypt seeks to increase exports to US | SIS
  • PM forms ministerial committee to settle investment disputes | SIS


Rights group says state-sponsored sexual violence surged under Sisi
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) released a report on Tuesday documenting a “surge of sexual violence perpetrated by security forces,” since former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in July 2013. The report states that women, students, minors, and LGBT people have been specifically targeted through arbitrary arrests that often result in sexual violence at the hands of security forces. It compiles dozens of interviews with survivors of sexual violence, including cases of rape, sexual abuse and torture by police and soldiers. “The scale of sexual violence occurring during arrests and in detention, the similarities in the methods used and the general impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators point to a cynical political strategy aimed at stifling civil society and silencing all opposition,” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. Reuters’ Michael George wrote on Tuesday, that it was not possible to confirm the allegations, and that spokesmen for Egypt’s Interior Ministry and military were not available for comment despite several attempts to reach them. [Mada Masr, Reuters, 5/19/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Increase in bird flu infections due to greater exposure: WHO | Mada Masr
  • Helwan University to test jailed students inside Tora Prison | Cairo Post
  • Ain Shams University, UN to adopt counter-harassment initiative | Egypt Independent
  • Committee formed to organize journalists strike on June 10 | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
  • Journalists at Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk strike over late wages, firings | Ahram Online


Egypt mulls installing surveillance cameras at pylons, says minister
The government is considering installing surveillance cameras at transmission towers nationwide to deter militants from targeting them, Minister of Electricity Mahmoud Shaker said on Tuesday. “The Ministry [of Electricity] is studying several proposals to secure transmission towers, especially those with 500 KV voltage capacities, to curb the frequent targeting of the towers that incurred the state millions of pounds,” he added. He also noted that several transmission towers nationwide are “under permanent security due to their importance to the national grid.” [Cairo Post, 5/19/2015]
Also of Interest


Libya deports nearly 200 Egyptians illegally traveling through its borders
The Cairo International Airport saw on Tuesday the return of 194 Egyptian workers deported from Libya’s Misrata for attempting illegal immigration in the neighboring country. The 194 workers were detained in Misrata after the Libyan authority for combating illegal immigration arrested them throughout the past two months, reported the state agency MENA. Egypt’s border police also stopped seventy-two people, including twenty-four Sudanese and a Syrian, from illegally crossing into Libya, state news agency MENA reported. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 5/19/2015]

US calls death sentence for former Egyptian president ‘unjust’
The United States believes the death sentence for former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is “unjust and undermines confidence in the rule of law,” the State Department said on Monday. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said during a press briefing Washington was also deeply concerned about “yet another mass death sentence” delivered by an Egyptian court. [Reuters, 5/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Iran regrets death sentence handed to Morsi | Egypt Independent
  • China says Egypt’s Morsi death sentence a ‘domestic affair’ | Ahram Online, SIS
  • UN chief concerned at death sentence for Egypt’s Morsi | Ahram Online
  • German ambassador does not see evidence of “Brotherhood terrorism” | Egypt Independent