Top News: Court Acquits Journalist and Twelve Others on Rioting Charges, Sentences Sixty-Three

A Cairo criminal court has acquitted journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziyada, after he spent more than 486 days in pretrial detention. The court acquitted twelve other defendants and sentenced sixty-three others. The sixty-three sentenced defendants received prison sentences ranging from a year to seven years’ hard labor. 


Sisi says parliamentary election to be held before year-end
Egypt’s president told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in an interview published on Wednesday that the country’s delayed parliamentary elections will take place before the end of 2015. “We wanted to launch the (election) process in March but it was stalled by the constitutional appeals … We’re discussing it with all political parties. I give my word that they will be held before the end of the year,” Sisi was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ibrahim al-Heneidy said that final drafts of the elections laws were sent to the State Council for review prior submitting them to Sisi for his approval. [Reuters, AP, SIS, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Political party calls on April 6 to renounce disagreements | Egypt Independent
  • Parliamentary Affairs minister says parliament to review decrees issued by Sisi and Mansour | Shorouk (Arabic)


Court acquits journalist and twelve others on rioting charges, sentences sixty-three
A Cairo criminal court has acquitted journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziyada, after he spent more than 486 days in pretrial detention. The court acquitted twelve other defendants and sentenced sixty-three others. The sixty-three sentenced defendants received prison sentences ranging from a year to seven years’ hard labor. All defendants were accused of organizing an assembly with the purpose of vandalizing public and private property, threatening public employees, assaulting security personnel and torching a university building, among other charges. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 4/29/2015]

Egypt sentences sixty-nine to prison for Kerdasa church attack
The Giza Criminal Court sentenced on Wednesday seventy-one defendants to life in prison for breaking into a church in Kerdasa and torching it in August 2013. The court also sentenced two minors to ten years in prison.  Of the sentenced defendants, fifty-two were sentenced in absentia. The sixty-nine were also fined 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,623) each. All defendants were accused of joining an illegal group, possession of firearms and unlicensed ammunition, attempted murder, torching a religious facility, stalling traffic, and resisting the authorities. The presiding judge, Nagy Shehata has handed out hundreds of death and prison sentences to defendants in several cases, and also sentenced three journalists to up to ten years in prison in the Al Jazeera trial. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court reduces sentence for Morsi-era governor to two years | DNE
  • Court to rule on Mubarak and sons for embezzlement on May 9 | Aswat Masriya
  • Administrative court receives lawsuit to protect elections law’s constitutionality | DNE
  • Morsi Qatar espionage trial postponed to April 30 | Egypt Independent


Global financial regulator says investors will not come to Egypt without stability
Egypt and other emerging markets must create the right conditions, with stability and the rule of law, to attract foreign investment, the Secretary-General of the International Organization for Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has said. Egypt is pursuing a series of economic and legal reforms with the aim of attracting investors to boost an economy damaged by four years of political upheaval. More than a hundred leaders in financial regulation from around the world are currently in Egypt to attend the annual meeting of the Growth and Emerging Markets (GEM) division of the IOSCO. [Ahram Online, 4/29/2015]

Sainsbury’s rejects Egypt legal case against CEO
British supermarket Sainsbury’s on Wednesday rejected all allegations against its chief executive after it emerged he was sentenced in absentia last September to two years in an Egyptian jail after being found guilty of embezzlement. Chief Executive Mike Coupe attended a court hearing in Giza last Sunday to try to overturn the conviction which related to the collapse of an Egyptian business which Sainsbury’s had invested in over a decade ago. The case relates to the supermarket’s attempt to open in Egypt in 1999 by buying 80 percent of Egyptian Distribution Group, known as Edge. After a chaotic eighteen months, Sainsbury’s withdrew and sold its stake back to Edge’s founder, Amr al-Nasharty, at a cost of 111 million British pounds, according to the Times. The hearing was adjourned to May 3. [Reuters, The Guardian, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian investors turn to courts to abolish tax on capital gains, dividends | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues at $420.1 million in March | Reuters
  • Access Power agrees Egypt solar plant deal, in talks for wind scheme | Reuters
  • Egyptian pound steady at official market, weaker on black market | Reuters
  • Egypt stocks rebound from four month low | Reuters
  • Gasoline smart cards go into effect June 15 | Egypt Independent


Bomb explosion leads to Alexandria-Beheira water pollution says Environment Minister
Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy said a bomb explosion near a petrol line led to water pollution in the lake between Alexandria and Beheira, during a TV interview on Monday. Fahmy said the explosion led to gas leaking into the pipe which feeds the water stations in the neighborhood of Ibis, Kafr al-Dawar. The incident, which took place few days ago, led to the shutdown of water stations in Beheira for 72 hours, until Tuesday. No cases of poisoning were reported at Beheira hospitals, the preventive medicine director told state-run news agency MENA on Sunday. The Health Department in Alexandria also issued a statement denying rumors that water in the governorate was contaminated, and the Health Department said tests were conducted on drinking water at many water stations in Alexandria. Undersecretary of the Health Ministry in Alexandria Magdy Hegazy added that the ministry will conduct the tests again to make sure the water is completely safe. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Cairo’s third metro line back to full operation says minister | Ahram Online
  • The Egyptian Trade Union Federation: A history of obedience | DNE
  • Hussein Salem offers government EGP4.6 billion to return to Egypt | Egypt Independent
  • Four teachers referred to investigation for refusing to chant “Long live Egypt, Long live Sisi” | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Environment ministry says barge loaded with 500 tons of phosphate still in the Nile | EGYNews (Arabic)


Conflicting reports over Tarabin ‘war’ on Sinai militants
Contrary to local newspaper reports claiming Sinai’s Tarabin tribe declared “war” on the Islamist militant group, “Province of Sinai,” some local sources say recent attacks were not sanctioned by tribal leaders. Others suggest they were. Late Monday night, local media reported that members of the Tarabin tribe attacked several hideouts of the militant North Sinai group Province of Sinai, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The group changed its name after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014. However, Mohamed Sabry, a freelance journalist in Northern Sinai told Mada Masr that the conflict between the Tarabin tribe and Province of Sinai was led by prominent Tarabin businessman Ibrahim al-Argani, and was based on a personal vendetta over the destruction of his property by the militant group, not sanctioned by tribal leaders. In related news,  a body called ‘Sinai Tribes alliance’ issued a statement allowing ten days for different tribes to banish its members who are directly involved with the ISIS-affiliated Province of Sinai militants.[Mada Masr, Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ISIS announces Egyptian member’s suicide attack | Egypt Independent
  • Twenty-four suspects arrested in North Sinai | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt, Cyprus, Greece sign Nicosia declaration, boosting ties on combating terrorism
During a tripartite summit held on Wednesday in Cyprus, the leaders of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece agreed to step up cooperation on combating terrorism amid fears over worsening security conditions in neighboring countries including Libya. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said this would involve boosting defense and security ties and “discussing relevant information” to counter terrorist threats. The three leaders made the pledge in a joint declaration during a summit in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia Wednesday. They expressed “grave concern” over a growing terrorist threat in Libya, and also expressed strong support for the legitimate government of Yemen. [AP, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 4/29/2015]

Italy PM and Sisi discuss Libya, Europe’s migrant crisis
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed ongoing fighting in Libya and Europe’s migrant crisis on the phone on Tuesday, according to a statement from the presidency. Renzi said that the Libyan crisis presented a danger not just to Egypt and Italy, but also to the world, according to the statement. Sisi said that the international community should support the Libyan government, parliament, and army based in Tobruk, the statement added. Renzi also told Sisi that Italy had called for emergency talks after over 950 migrants drowned trying to cross reach Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. [Ahram Online, SIS, 4/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Sobhi holds talks with Chinese counterpart strengthening military cooperation | DNE, SIS
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East needed says Shoukry at UN | DNE
  • Sisi invites Arab youth ministers to attend New Suez Canal inauguration | SIS