Top News: Egypt Court Sentences Mubarak-era Prime Minister to Five Years Over Graft

An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced former prime minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, Ahmed Nazif, to five years jail over graft charges, toughening an earlier three-year sentence in a retrial. Nazif was also given a EGP 53.3 million fine in the corruption case dating to his tenure under Mubarak. In addition to the fine, Nazif was ordered to pay back EGP 48.6 million to the Egyptian government for the charges of illegal profiteering in his official roles. Nazif was charged with exploiting his position to make “illicit gains” worth 64 million Egyptian pounds ($8.17 million), as per investigations by Egypt’s Illicit Gains Authority. He was also accused of accepting gifts from national press associations. Two of Nazif’s sons, also facing re-trial on graft charges on Wednesday, were ordered to pay fines, the sources said. [Ahram OnlineDNEReutersAswat MasriyaMada MasrCairo Post, 7/23/2015]

Forty-five officials promoted in Ministry of Interior reshuffle
Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar promoted Wednesday forty-five officials in a ministry reshuffle, state-run media reported. The restructuring included twenty-one deputy ministers and twenty-four security chiefs. Maj. Abu Bakr Abdel Karim, who used to head the human rights department, is currently the official spokesperson for the Interior Ministry. His position is to be filled by Maj. Mohamed Salah al-Din Kamel, former director of the information and documentation authority. Security chiefs were appointed for the directorates of Ismailia, Alexandria, Marsa Matruh, Qena and Qaliubiya. The changes will go into effect on August 22. [DNE, 7/23/2015]  

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Morsi unable to attend espionage court session due to health problem
Ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was prevented from attending court on Wednesday for his trial on leaking classified documents to Qatar due diabetes-related health issues. A prison hospital report was presented to the judge during the hearing which showed that Morsi’s illness rendered him unable to attend his trial session at the Cairo court. The prosecution said Morsi was suffering from low blood sugar levels and followed a physician’s recommendation not to transfer him to the court session. The presiding judge Mohamed Shereen Fahmy explained the court’s decision to postpone the trial, stating: “It doesn’t work to listen to statements from prosecution witnesses in the absence of one of the accused.” The judge adjourned the case of Morsi and ten other defendants to August 2. Tuesday’s session saw the prosecution witnesses’ statements backing the charges of espionage against a group of defendants close to Morsi. The statements claimed some were actively involved in gathering information and handing it over to foreign agents. [Ahram Online, DNE, 7/22/2015]

Kuwait’s Al-Salam to list on Egypt exchange
Kuwait’s Al-Salam Holding received approval to list on the Egyptian stock exchange and offer depository receipts, exchange chairman Mohamed Omran said. Al-Salam Holding, an investment company listed on the Kuwait and Dubai exchanges, has tried unsuccessfully to offer depository receipts on the Egyptian bourse since 2013. The Egyptian bourse listing committee also approved Beltone Capital’s request to offer shares later this year. The private equity firm plans to offer 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($128 million) of shares during the fourth quarter. The listing of Al-Salam and Beltone Capital brings the number of new companies listed on the Egyptian bourse since the beginning of the year to twelve, Omran added.  [Reuters, 7/22/2015]

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Egypt‘s state television and radio to be ‎restructured: Transitional Justice Minister
Egypt’s state-owned Television and Radio Union — ‎popularly known as Maspero — will be restructured to ‎be part of a national media authority mandated with ‎supervising all forms of government-affiliated media.‎ According to Minister of Transitional Justice and ‎Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim al-Heneidy, a new law ‎is being drafted to bring Maspero under the ‎supervision of one authority. “This goes in line with ‎Article 213 of the new constitution and aims at ‎promoting the competitive capacity of Maspero in a ‎market increasingly dominated by the private ‎sector,” Heneidy told parliamentary reporters in a ‎press conference Tuesday.‎ Heneidy said Article 213 of the 2014 Constitution mandates the establishment of a national media authority ‎to take charge of supervising all government-‎owned audiovisual and digital media outlets, ‎developing their financial assets and reinforcing ‎their independence and impartiality. “As a result, a ‎legislative reform committee is currently in the ‎process of drafting a new law aimed at achieving the ‎philosophy of Article 213 and turning the anticipated ‎national media authority into a reality,” said Heneidy.‎ [Ahram Online, 7/22/2015]

At least twenty-one dead in Egypt after boat capsizes on Nile
At least twenty-one people drowned when a small boat collided with a barge and capsized on the Nile River near Cairo on Wednesday night, according to a security source. The health ministry puts the official death toll so far at 16, with four injured, state news agency MENA reported. According to the ministry of interior, the accident took place late Wednesday when a passenger boat traveling down the Nile near Al-Warraq collided with a barge, causing the boat to smash and capsize. The skipper of the barge has been arrested. He will be detained for four days pending investigations into the incident. Health Ministry Spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told The Associated Press the rescue efforts continue, hampered by the darkness. Abdel-Ghaffar said only twelve  bodies have arrived in the morgues of hospitals nearby. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, The Guardian, Cairo Post, 7/23/2015]

Journalist reportedly arrested for alleged Brotherhood membership
Journalist Abu Bakr Khallaf was reportedly arrested on Tuesday at the headquarters of Egypt’s Syndicate Union and sent to Qasr al-Nil police station for interrogation. He faces charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Khallaf used to work for Doha-based media organization Al Jazeera. He is also acting as the managing director of the Electronic Syndicate, an unofficial syndicate launched independently to train and support digital journalists. He was arrested on Tuesday following a previous arrest order. On July 1, a TV program hosted by Ahmed Moussa interviewed journalist Mostafa Bakry which directly attacked the syndicate and claimed it is a terrorist body causing incitement. [DNE, 7/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian rights group condemns displacement of five families in Minya by security forces | Egypt Independent
  • No forced evictions of locals: Minister of urban development to Maspero Triangle residents | Ahram Online
  • Exemption of mosques and churches from electricity bills canceled | Egypt Independent
  • Bulletin: Electricity Ministry has achieved power surplus | Egypt Independent
  • Report: Factory, public sector workers at forefront of labor protests | Egypt Independent
  • Suez Canal Development Axis plan to be announced at opening ceremony | Egypt Independent
  • Red Sea Reserves take legal action to protect dolphins | Egypt Independent  

Over 100 policemen stage strike to support ‘wrongly disciplined’ colleagues
One-hundred and two traffic police personnel have started an open-ended work and hunger strike against the disciplining of seven of their colleagues. The seven people were transferred to the Alexandria Security Directorate. Police officer Saeed Mahmoud Heiba, one of the detainees, reportedly attempted suicide with a knife and was subsequently transported to the hospital. His colleagues said he had been working for twenty-four years at the traffic department and had never been disciplined. The strike is unacceptable, an Interior Ministry official said upon anonymity, as the seven police personnel were being punished for their lack of attendance during the month of Ramadan. [Egypt Independent, 7/23/2015]

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  • Egyptian militant who released audio message seeks fund: Expert | Reuters/Ahram Online

Egypt to receive German Submarines soon, a new French multipurpose frigate
Egypt is expected to receive two German submarines and a French global combat ship as part of comprehensive armament plans for the armed forces, the Commander of the Naval Forces Osama Rabie said on Wednesday. The announcement came during the graduation ceremony of the 66th class of the maritime college. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other state officials attended the ceremony. Egypt had signed a deal with Berlin to buy two German-made submarines in 2011, then ordered two more in 2014. The navy commander did not specify the time frame in which Egypt is expected to receive the submarines or the ship. “The navy will witness a new qualitative shift and will receive the arms and weapons from a variety of sources, from both eastern and western states,” Rabie said. The navy commander also revealed that Egypt would be receiving a new French warship, the FREMM naval frigate, as part of a one-billion-euro deal signed in 2014 to purchase four warships. Rabie also said that the Egyptian-French deal would include joint manufacturing between the two countries of three other warships in the Egyptian shipbuilding arsenal. [Ahram Online, 7/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Fishermen seek intervention for detained colleagues in Tunisia, Libya | DNE
  • Seventeen illegal Sudanese migrants arrested | Egypt Independent
  • Trial of Egyptian fisherman charged with espionage in Sudan postponed to Tuesday | Egypt Independent