Top News: Egypt ISIS Affiliate Purportedly Beheads Croatian Citizen

Islamic State’s (ISIS or ISIL) affiliate in Egypt, Sinai State, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has circulated an image online that purports to show the beheaded body of a Croatian man abducted in Egypt in July. The alleged beheading comes following the expiration of the 48-hour deadline set last Wednesday. The Sinai-based militant group posted a photo of the 30-year-old Croatian national Tomislav Salopek in a washed out orange jumpsuit seemingly after beheading him, in a post shared by its supporters on Twitter. A statement released with the still image accused Croatia of participating in “the war against the Islamic State.” The image bears some of the hallmarks of previous killings of foreign hostages by the militant group in Iraq and Syria. The purported killing could mark a shift in tactics for the Sinai State, which until now has focused the majority of its attacks on the Egyptian military and security forces. A spokesman from the Egyptian interior ministry’s press office said: “We have seen this news online but are currently making our own checks. If we confirm that it is indeed true, we will inform the media through a statement.” The Croatian embassy and foreign ministry declined to comment. [ReutersAswat MasriyaMada MasrThe GuardianCairo Post, 8/12/2015]  

New draft law implements constitutional guarantees of press freedom: Press Syndicate
Egypt’s Press Syndicate praised in a Monday statement a new draft press law, saying it “honestly translates constitutional articles guaranteeing media freedom into real legislations.” The new “unified press and media” law project was drafted by the governmental advisory committee for press and media legislations, headed by former Syndicate President Diaa Rashwan. The committee included forty-five members representing different media fields, including press, broadcast and the printing business. The Press Syndicate, headed by Yehia Qallash, said it will soon announce a copy of the law, which has seven chapters, in a press conference. During the press conference, he will call for open discussions on the law so it truly reflects the needs of the journalism and media community. The syndicate stated one of its most important achievements to be the cancellation of laws allowing the imprisonment of journalists in publishing crimes. [DNE, 8/11/2015]

Military court sentences 250 Brotherhood members to life in absentia
A military court sentenced 253 defendants tried in absentia to life in prison on Tuesday for committing acts of violence in the northern city of Beheira in 2013. Initially, 506 defendants were facing trial, all identified as supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The military prosecution charged the defendants with murdering six people, attempted murder, vandalism, breaking into a police station, helping prisoners escape, confiscating weapons and disrupting public transport. The court sentenced 199 other defendants to times ranging from three to fifteen years in prison. The remaining fifty-four defendants were acquitted of the charges. [Aswat Masriya,Ahram Online, Reuters, 8/12/2015]

Lawyers union to appeal twenty-five year terms for members in ‘insulting judiciary’ case
Egypt’s lawyers’ syndicate decided on Monday, after an emergency meeting, to form a team in order to take legal action against a recent court verdict sentencing eight lawyers in absentia to twenty-five years in jail for “insulting the judiciary.” The syndicate’s general board and the local board in Upper Egypt’s Minya, where the verdict was issued, decided on Monday to file an appeal against the court ruling. Sameh Ashour, head of the syndicate, told Al-Ahram that he had met with Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend and discussed this “unprecedented” verdict. Ashour added that the syndicate will provide legal support to the convicted lawyers. [Ahram Online, 8/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trials of Mubarak sons, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Port Said prison break postponed | DNE

Sisi establishes economic zone around Egypt’s Suez Canal
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree establishing an economic zone around the Suez Canal, the country’s state news agency said on Tuesday. The decree establishes a 460-square-kilometer economic zone around the canal. The government says the zone will be used to develop an international industrial and logistics hub that will attract foreign investment. It will include six ports and one thousand factories and will offer investors eighteen projects worth almost $40 billion. Egypt’s investment minister said in March that the economic zone is expected to eventually make up about a third of the country’s economy. [Reuters, Ahram Online, SIS, Mada Masr, 8/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • EGX gains EGP 1.5 billion | SIS
  • Suez Canal seen crossing of 130 ships since opening: Mamish | Cairo Post


Amnesty International denounces police violations in Egypt
Rights group Amnesty International (AI) called on Egypt’s Ministry of Interior, via its Twitter account on Wednesday, to stop violence against its citizens. The statement responds to a recent video that showed policemen beating a man in Dar al-Salam metro station on Monday. AI also called for the immediate investigation of the incident and the police officer. A video appeared on Tuesday on YouTube, and went viral across social media platforms, showing a group of policemen severely beating a man inside a metro station. [DNE, 8/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Baseera: 69 percent of Egyptians satisfied with public services | Egypt Independent
  • Head of Journalists Syndicate demands investigation of police violations | Egypt Independent
  • CAPMAS: 28 percent of youth live in poverty, 24 percent on the edge of poverty | Egypt Independent Sisi sponsors National Conference for Education | SIS
  • Agriculture sector employees over 25 percent of Egypt’s working children: CAPMAS | Cairo Post
  • Egypt mulls announcing extreme heat days as public holidays | Cairo Post
  • Human rights groups fear for rule of law in Egypt after lawyer dies in custody | The Guardian

Qalyubiya family accuses police of torturing son to death
The family of a man who died in police custody has accused officers at the Shubra al-Kheima police station of torturing their son, Hany Saeed, to death. Saeed was arrested for alleged drug and weapons possession. The family was citing an official medical report, a copy of which was obtained by independent daily al-Masry al-Youm. The report detected “bruises on various parts of his dead body.” The report was supported by a video also obtained by al-Masry al-Youm filmed inside Cairo’s Zeinhom Morgue. [Egypt Independent, 8/12/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Road collision kills eight, wounds six south of Cairo | Ahram Online, Cairo Post  
  • Fifteen suspected militants killed in airstrike in North Sinai – security sources | Aswat Masriya

Israeli delegation visits Egypt for bilateral security talks
A delegation of five Israelis led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy, Isaac Molho, were in Cairo on Tuesday for meetings with Egyptian military figures, Turkey’s Andolu Agency has reported. No further details about the talks were given. In July 2014, a delegation including Molho and other senior security members in the Israeli cabinet paid a short visit to Egypt and discussed Egypt’s mediation in a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. [Cairo Post, Haaretz, 8/12/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian-Ukrainian economic cooperation expected to grow | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt trains 600 African physicians in 57357 Cancer Hospital: Sisi | Cairo Post