Top News: Egypt Courts Ban April 6; Sentence 683 Morsi Supporters to Death

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned the activities of the April 6 Youth Movement on Monday. Lawyer Ashraf Saeed, who filed the lawsuit against the group, accused it of espionage and defaming the Egyptian state. In an official document released after the ruling, the court did not comment on the specific accusations made against April 6 by the lawyer, Ashraf Saeed.


Egypt’s PEC announces election monitoring and media details
At a press conference on Sunday, the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC) officially announced Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi’s candidacy. It also announced it granted approval to six international organizations to monitor the elections and 79 domestic ones who met the requirements. A total of 116 Egyptian organizations applied for monitoring status. The spokesman also pointed out that the PEC is considering allowing the eliminated domestic organizations to participate in the monitoring process through granting them a “guest status”, the same status granted to the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and the National Council for Women. Out of 44 national and international media institutions that applied for covering the elections, 36 were granted approval, while 13 out of 18 satellite channels were permitted to cover the elections. [Ahram Online, SIS, 4/27/2014]

Parties announce stance on upcoming presidential elections
In a press conference held at the headquarters of the Socialist Popular Alliance Saturday, the party officially announced it is backing the presidential bid of Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi. The Revolutionary Socialists also announced their support for Sabbahi, saying it will not boycott and that it plans to campaign against Egypt’s former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi whom it described as the anti-revolution’s contender. Meanwhile, the Free Egyptians Party announced in a statement on Sunday its support for Sisi in the upcoming elections. The Social Democratic Party voted on Saturday, on the other hand, against backing any particular candidate in the coming presidential elections and leave the decision up to each individual member. The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy said that the upcoming presidential elections are an illegal farce that they will boycott. A statement, released on Sunday by the Islamist coalition formed to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Morsi, reiterated that Egypt’s presidency is not a vacant position and that “the coup” of July 3 2013 is null and void. [Mada Masr, 4/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Strong Egypt party criticizes lifting natural gas prices | DNE
  • Al-Sayed Al-Badawi wins Al-Wafd Party presidency | DNE
  • Salafist Nour Party meets presidential hopeful Sabbahi | Ahram Online
  • Sisi: the challenge of keeping opposites in the same boat | Ahram Online
  • Sisi urges big turnout in Egypt presidential poll | Ahram Online, Reuters


Egypt court sentences 683 Morsi supporters, Brotherhood Supreme Guide to death
A court in Minya sentenced 683 supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi to death on Monday. The Islamist group’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie was among the defendants found guilty of attacking Adawa police station and killing a police officer, Mamdouh Kotb Mohamed Kotb, on August 14, 2013 – following the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins at Raba’a and Nahda squares. The verdicts must be ratified by the grand mufti before they can be carried out. The court has set June 21 for the final verdict to be passed, after the grand mufti has made his assessment. The law allows the verdicts to be appealed. The same judge upheld thirty-seven of 529 death sentences handed down to defendants late last month, sentencing the remaining 492 defendants to life in prison. 381 defendants were sentenced in absentia. Lawyers of the thirty-seven sentenced to death have confirmed they will appeal the verdicts. The same judge handed on Sunday sentences ranging from five to forty-five years in jail to another thirty-seven alleged supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi charged with attacks on police stations last August. On Saturday, he sentenced eleven defendants charged with raiding a Minya police station last August with fifty-five to eighty-eight years in prison. In related news, another twelve Muslim Brotherhood leaders were handed seventeen years in prison and another defendant twenty years by the Kafr al-Sheikh Misdemeanors Court, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Sunday. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, AP, Mada Masr, 4/28/2014]

Egypt court bans April 6 over espionage claims
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned the activities of the April 6 Youth Movement on Monday. Lawyer Ashraf Saeed, who filed the lawsuit against the group, accused it of espionage and defaming the Egyptian state. In an official document released after the ruling, the court did not comment on the specific accusations made against April 6 by the lawyer, Ashraf Saeed. But it said the issues raised represented a “real danger”. “It is necessary to immunize the country from this danger,” it said. The lawyer also accused April 6 of seeking protection from the United States, using media to cause “anarchy” and attacking security institutions – a reference to the storming of the headquarters of Egypt’s domestic spying agency in 2011. The verdict can be appealed. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 4/28/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian belly dancer summoned for ‘spreading obscenity’ in Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Mubarak retrial adjourned to Tuesday | Aswat Masriya, DNE
  • Egypt’s representative in Intel Science competition detained for fifteen days | DNE
  • Morsi’s defense to complain of arbitrary measures to top Egypt judge | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Egyptian public figures lobby against death penalty | Mada Masr


Egypt sees deficit at 14-14.5 percent of GDP next fiscal year
Finance Minister Hany Dimian said that “we expect the budget deficit in the new budget to stand at EGP 340-350 billion Egyptian pounds ($48.60-$50.03 billion), which is around 14 to 14.5 percent of GDP”. Back in March, Dimian projected fiscal deficit will reach 10-10.5 percent. [Reuters, 4/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Op-Ed: Illegal housing boom is big challenge for Egypt’s leader | Reuters
  • Coal usage scrutinized by experts and researchers | DNE
  • Egypt’s military companies flirt with solar energy | Mada Masr
  • Unemployment is the major dilemma against Egypt’s economy: Minister | Amwal Al-Ghad
  • Beltone Financial granted Egypt’s first ETF license | Reuters
  • Egypt’s government to raise octane prices for first time in eight years | Ahram Online
  • Egypt invests millions in tourism | NAP, DNE


Egypt discovers first case of potentially deadly MERS virus
Egypt has discovered its first case of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in an Egyptian citizen who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s Ministry of Health said on Saturday. The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, has spread from the Gulf to Europe and has already caused over ninety deaths. The patient is being treated for pneumonia at a Cairo hospital and is in a stable condition, the ministry said in a statement. The man, who is from the Nile Delta, was living in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the ministry said. Egypt’s Health Minister Adel Adawy called on the country’s citizens to report early symptoms of influenza as soon as possible in order to avoid the spread of the MERS. [Reuters, DNE, 4/27/2014]

Secular parties march against protest law
Hundreds of Egyptian activists demonstrated on Saturday against an anti-protest law passed in November. They marched to the presidential palace in Cairo calling for the scrapping of the law passed by Egypt’s army-backed interim leadership to curb unrest that erupted after the army’s overthrow of elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Protesters marched to presidential palace demanding an end to the protest law and the release of detainees. They also chanted slogans against military rule. A few threw stones at the police, who did not react and there was no serious violence. Some burned posters of Sisi, who stepped down from his post as the head of the army last month to run for the presidency in the vote on May 26-27. Daily News Egypt reported that Hassan Shahin, co-founder of the Tamarod movement, was assaulted by protesters when attempted to join the demonstration.[Reuters, Ahram Online, DNE, 4/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • New AFTE report details ongoing security abuses in Egyptian universities | DNE
  • Politicized imams will be banned from giving sermons: Ministry of Endowment | DNE


Egyptian troops kill militant, arrest others in Sinai raids
Egyptian troops on Sunday killed a militant fighter and arrested several of what they described as some of the most dangerous militants in the Sinai Peninsula. Raids on the hideouts of suspected Islamist militants in the North Sinai towns of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, killed one and netted twenty arrests, a military official confirmed. In related news, three security personnel were killed on Sunday in an armed attack in Northern Sinai’s Al-Arish, Aswat Masriya reported.  A security source said that unknown assailants fired gunshots at a police car while it was patrolling al-Samran district in Al-Arish. [Ahram Online, 4/28/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Gaza tunnels discovered in Rafah Mosque | DNE
  • Gunmen fire at police in Giza’s Agouza, no injuries | Ahram Online
  • 99 percent of terrorism eliminated, says Egypt’s interior minister | Mada Masr


United States says democratic progress still needed in Egypt
Egypt still has more to do “in terms of [its] democratic transition” said the US State Department Spokeswoman ahead of a meeting between Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and his American counterpart John Kerry. During the first stage of his visit in San Francisco, Fahmy stressed that Egypt “expects [its] friends to appreciate the steps taken, what has been achieved so far and to recognize the size of the existing challenges to fulfil the democratic process.” US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday that Egypt’s democratic transition “will be part of the conversation” when the two senior diplomats meet in Washington DC on Tuesday. [DNE, 4/26/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Amnesty International criticizes Egyptian detention of refugees | DNE
  • Draft terrorism law ‘won’t make the country safer’: Human Rights Watch | DNE
  • Militants kidnap Egyptian minor in Libya | Ahram Online/MENA, Aswat Masriya
  • Foreign ministry backtracks, says Egyptian national in Libya not kidnapped | DNE
  • Al Qaeda chief declares solidarity with Muslim Brotherhood, urges followers to kidnap westerners | DNE
  • Former Egypt spy chief: Supplying Gaza not Egypt’s job | Mada Masr
  • We are not against the Ethiopian people, but we advocate our interests: Egypt’s PM | Ahram Online
  • Egypt to participate in joint air force training in the Gulf | DNE