Top News: Cairo Court Confirms Death Sentence on Ousted President Morsi

Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death by hanging and handed a life imprisonment sentence after being convicted in two cases on Tuesday. The first case, which sentenced him to death, claimed that Morsi and 129 others were guilty of escaping the Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising with the help of Hamas and Hezbollah. The second, in which he was sentenced to life in prison, accused Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members of spying for Hamas. More than eighty others were sentenced to death in absentia. The death sentences were originally issued in May, and according to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper can still be appealed. The court also ordered the defendants to collectively pay LE250 million in civil compensation for the lawyer who originally filed the lawsuit. The Muslim Brotherhood described the sentences as “null and void” and called for a popular uprising on Friday. Yahya Hamid, a former minister in Morsi’s cabinet and head of international relations for the Brotherhood, said the trial had “fallen below all international standards,” and that “[the] verdict is a nail in the coffin of democracy in Egypt.” Morsi’s court appointed lawyer said he plans to appeal the court rulings. [Ahram OnlineAPReutersAswat MasriyaMada MasrThe GuardianCairo Post , DNEEgypt IndependentThe Guardian, 6/16/2015]


Shafiq party rejects his resignation
The Egyptian Patriotic Movement has rejected the resignation of its leader Ahmed Shafiq, Al-Ahram website reported. The party’s higher committee met on Monday and discussed the former presidential runner-up resignation where they decided to reject it. The movement’s supreme council said it would form a committee to travel to Abu Dhabi, where the Mubarak-era prime minister has lived for “security reasons” since he lost the presidency to Mohamed Morsi in 2012, to convince him to remain with the party. The council said in a statement that they see Shafiq as a “principle,” not a person, and that he is a true symbol of the party and will remain its head “forever.” Shafiq founded the Egyptian Patriotic Movement in December 2012. [Ahram Online, DNE, 6/16/2015]

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Egypt’s interior ministry drops complaints against two newspapers
The interior ministry dropped on Monday complaints against two newspapers “as part of the ministry’s efforts to strengthen its relationship with the different parties in the nation and different media outlets,” a prosecution statement read. The ministry had pressed charges in the past few months against al-Youm al-Sabei (Youm7) and al-Masry al-Youm for “publishing false news” and “libelous content” related to the ministry. The statement said the waivers come after Youm7 issued a correction of the story it ran. Youm7 Editor-in-Chief Khaled Salah and reporter Sayed Falah had been released on Saturday, prior to the dropping of the charges, with the requirement of LE10,000 bail. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 6/16/2015]  

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Egypt enters into initial deal for projects worth $10 billion with China
Egyptian Trade Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour has signed an initial framework agreement with representatives from the Chinese trade ministry for fifteen projects worth about $10 billion. Financing agreements for the projects will be signed between late June and September, the ministry said. The projects will focus mainly on the electricity and transport sectors, but will also include direct Chinese investment in other projects. The minister added that the Export-Import Bank of China will provide financing for six transport projects, including building a new railroad and developing several existing ones. [Reuters, 6/16/2015]

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Al-Azhar accepts resignation of institute’s editor-in-chief
Al-Azhar accepted the resignation of its publications editor-in-chief on Sunday following a publication that described Christianity as a “weak” religion. Mohamed Emara, the editor-in-chief of “Sot Al-Azhar,” told reporters that he had wanted to resign from his position a long time ago but the institution’s board had not accepted his resignation. However, sources inside Al-Azhar said that the publication’s last issue had raised controversy among scholars and clerics both inside and outside of the institution. A spokesperson for Al-Azhar, Ayman Ibrahim, confirmed that Emara had resigned, however he refused to give additional information on the reasons. [Ahram Online, 6/15/2015]

Former Egypt President Morsi sacked from Zagazig University
Zagazig University on Sunday fired former-President Mohamed Morsi from its engineering faculty, saying that Morsi’s recent twenty-year jail sentence for inciting violence “contradicts the university’s customs.” Morsi was the head of the university’s materials engineering department. University president Ashraf al-Sheehy headed a committee of three law professors formed to decide whether Morsi had the legal right to continue in his position or not. The committee received a copy of the criminal court’s verdict before taking its decision. The committee said the decision to fire Morsi was also based on his absence from the university for over six months. [Ahram Online, 6/15/2015]

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Sinai tribes feel safer, reject further Rafah border evacuations
Prominent Sinai chieftain Sheikh Aref Abu Akr said the army has set up four security checkpoints south of Sheikh Zuweid where militant elements of the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis terrorist organization operate. He said the checkpoints have greatly contributed to the reduction of the organization’s movement. Abu Akr said he is requesting that more checkpoints to be established further south. He added that security forces have promised tribal elders that detainees who are not proven to have been involved in terrorist acts will be released before Ramadan. Abu Akr also objected to the evacuation of an additional 500 meters to be added to the already evacuated 1,200 meters along the border with the Gaza Strip. [Egypt Independent, 6/5/2015]

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Activists in London, US, Canada plan protests in solidarity with Egyptian prisoners
Activists in London, Ottawa, Montreal, and New York announced plans to stage protests on June 20 and 21 in solidarity with political prisoners in Egypt, the MENA Solidarity Network said in a statement on Tuesday. The statement called for an end to the repression of protests in Egypt, freedom for thousands of political prisoners, fair trials, and an end to abuse, torture and executions. The statement also called for the release of activists Mahienour al-Masry, Shawkan, Abdallah al-Fakharany, Ahmed Douma, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Sanaa Seif. [Egypt Independent , 6/16/2015]

Washington Post: Obama supporting Sisi is a mistake
The Washington Post published an editorial on Sunday, criticizing the Obama administration for supporting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the face of violence, instability, and “indiscriminate repression” in Egypt. “The world has seen this dynamic play out many times before: A violent regime breeds more violence,” the editorial read. While Sisi and his supporters maintain that the current military-backed regime is the only force that can restore stability in Egypt, the editorial argues that the country has become more violent under Sisi’s rule. The Washington Post also spoke to Amr Darrag, head of the executive committee of the Freedom and Justice Party, who told the newspaper, “We are against any kind of violence from a very practical point of view. We don’t want our country to go through what Syria and Iraq have gone through.” [Egypt Independent, 6/15/2015]

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  • Assistant Foreign Minister meets UN special representative on Libya | SIS
  • Egypt saves stolen ancient statuette from German auction house | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s Ministry of Youth organizes camp for 100 Ethiopians | Cairo Post