Top News: Egypt Recently Summoned US Ambassador Over Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt summoned the US ambassador in Cairo to show displeasure at Muslim Brotherhood figures coming to Washington for a private conference, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said US officials did not intend to meet the group although they had met some Brotherhood figures that came to Washington in January. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke declined to say whether Beecroft was summoned by the Egyptian authorities or whether US officials would meet Brotherhood figures visiting Washington, telling reporters he was aware of media reports of such a visit but that “I don’t have any meetings to announce.” He said it continued to be US policy to engage with people from across the political spectrum in Egypt. [Reuters, 6/9/2015]


Reports of cabinet reshuffle in Egypt, Sisi publicly criticizes ministers
Reports have circulated in the Egyptian media of a possible cabinet reshuffle as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly criticized on Monday a number of ministers, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. Sisi, who completes one year in office on Tuesday, told Mahlab “You promised me you’ll be a bulldozer to pave the road. Where is this bulldozer?” The president, who was the military chief before resigning to run for office, also criticized the cabinet’s delay in digging up wells to cultivate lands, state news agency MENA reported. He also addressed petroleum minister Sherif Ismail and criticized him for his shortcomings in providing the digging equipment for the wells. [Ahram Online, 6/9/2015]  

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  • Interior Ministry dispatches medical convoys nationwide to gain public support | Cairo Post
  • Sisi one year on: George Ishak | Ahram Online


Egypt sentences eleven to death in Port Said stadium massacre retrial
Seventy-three defendants faced trial on Tuesday in the retrial of the 2012 Port Said Stadium massacre case. The court sentenced eleven people to death, including one in absentia. The court also sentenced forty defendants to up to fifteen years in prison and acquitted the rest. However, the verdicts can still be appealed. Among those who received a five-year sentence was the former Port Said police chief. The defendants also include nine high-ranking police officers from the Port Said security directorate, as well as three officials from the Masry football club. The charges are related to the murder of seventy-two fans from Egypt’s leading sports club, Ahly, during a premier league match with Al-Masry at the Port Said Stadium in February 2012. In April, a judge referred the death sentences to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Shawqi Allam, the country’s most senior religious authority, in a step required by law for convictions in capital cases. The mufti’s opinion is not binding and not made public. According to the Journalists Against Torture Observatory, journalists who do not belong to the Journalists Syndicate were denied entry to the courtroom to attend the session. [Ahram Online,  Egypt Independent,  AP,  Reuters, Aswat Masriya,  The Guardian, Cairo Post, 6/9/2015]

Amnesty calls for release of 19-year-old detainee
Amnesty International has called for the release of a nineteen-year-old Egyptian, who has been detained for more than a year for taking part in an unauthorized protest. According to the organization, Mahmoud Hussein has spent 500 days in detention. He was arrested on his way home, after attending a protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. He was arrested “for wearing a ‘Nation without Torture’ t-shirt and a scarf marking the January 25 Revolution,” according to the statement. The organization says Hussein “has not been charged or tried for any offences. He has been tortured and ill-treated in detention and forced into signing a confession.” [Egypt Independent, 6/9/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ‘Sib Idi’ controversial clip director accuses police of demanding 100,000 EGP bribe | Egypt Independent
  • Lady pleads to president to return missing lawyer son | Egypt Independent
  • Lawyers Syndicate calls on activating Interior Ministry’s code of conducts | Cairo Post


Egypt inflation to fall to single digits in two to three years
Inflation in Egypt will slow to single digits within the next two or three years once a reform agenda has been implemented, Finance Minister Hany Dimian said. Egypt has been battling rising inflation since the government slashed subsidies in July 2014. According to the most recent data, Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation slowed to 11 percent in April from 11.5 percent in March. Dimian said he expects inflation to fall back below 10 percent once reforms are implemented. Following the slight fall in inflation, Egypt’s central bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold rather than cut costs.  Dimian added that he expects the government to finalize details of a value-added tax system in the coming days. [Reuters, 6/9/2015]

Also of Interest


Press freedom group says journalists faced fifty-one violations in May
The Journalists Against Torture Observatory has issued its monthly report on violations against journalists and media professionals, listing fifty-one violations in May. According to the report, twenty-eight cases were related to preventing media coverage in different places. Six cases were related to verbal assault and threats, whereas four involved beatings and physical injury. In three reported cases, the victims were arrested and faced accusations, while three others have been detained for investigation. Three other journalists were given jail sentences, while two have been released on bail. In addition, there was one reported case of kidnapping. The Interior Ministry, according to the report, was the main institution responsible for attacks against journalists, with thirty-two reported incidents involving journalists and eight involving civilians. Other government authorities and officials have been involved in seven cases of attacks, and judicial authorities are mentioned in four incidents, related to jail sentences and fines. [Egypt Independent, 6/9/2015]

Doctors mock Egypt Prime MInister’s shock at state of health sector
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab paid a visit to the National Heart Institute on Saturday where he said he was shocked at its bad conditions, prompting a group of doctors to set up a Facebook page mocking his surprise. The Facebook page, titled “So that he isn’t surprised,” details the deteriorating state of Egypt’s public health sector. The page posted pictures of several of Egypt’s hospitals showing cats and sheep inside, filthy bathrooms, broken equipment, as well as overcrowded rooms. The page that was set up shortly after the Prime Minister’s statement has already garnered over 172,000 likes overnight. Twitter users shared similar images using the same hashtag, with over 3,000 tweets shared by users. [Ahram Online, 6/9/2015]

Another civilian dead as army gives out Ramadan charity
A sixty-one-year-old woman died on Sunday in a stampede over food allotments customarily given out by the military to needy families before the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Souma Megahed died of suffocation during the stampede, according to the health department in Daqahlia, which informed security authorities of the postmortem results. The victim’s daughter said her mother fell to the ground and hit her head when citizens scrambled for the rations. The Social Solidarity Ministry’s department headquarters in the province said financial aid will be disbursed to the victim’s family. The incident came six days after an army vehicle ran over and killed four people when they were also rushing to receive Ramadan allotments in Sheikh Zayed, Giza.  [Egypt Independent, 6/9/2015]  

Also of Interest


ISIS in Egypt’s Sinai kills man accused of being police ‘spy’
The Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, released a video Monday showing the jihadists killing a man in North Sinai after accusing him of being a police “spy.” In the video distributed on Twitter and YouTube on Monday, the Egyptian man was shot in the neck by the jihadists. Before the killing, the man identified himself in front of the camera and said the security services had charged him with infiltrating the Sinai-based extremists and collecting information about them. In related news, security forces targeted early Tuesday a group of “highly dangerous extremists” in North Sinai, killing five of them, a military source said. The source said four of the killed suspected militants were plotting a “terrorist operation” against security forces in the Sheikh Zuweid region. The fifth was gunned down while attempting to plant an explosive device east of al-Arish, the source added. Twelve suspects were also arrested. Meanwhile, a child was killed when a rocket hit a house in North Sinai on Tuesday, medical sources and eyewitnesses said. Eyewitnesses said the rocket hit a house in a village near North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid city after clashes between security forces and militants. A police conscript also died on Monday in Egypt’s North Sinai and another one was injured when a mortar shell hit al-Gora security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid. [AFP, Egypt Independent, 6/9/2015]

Also of Interest


Egypt says Human Rights Watch report politicized, biased
The Egyptian government on Tuesday dismissed a report that accused it of widespread human rights violations as politicized and lacking in objectivity and accuracy. New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on Monday, which marked one year of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency, that his tenure had seen increased abuses and an escalation in violence by armed groups and the government. It charged Western governments with overlooking abuses. “The report is politicized and lacks the basic tenants of accuracy and objectivity,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement. It quoted the ministry spokesman as saying HRW had no credibility with Egyptian public opinion and accusing it of spreading lies. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 6/9/2015]

Obama administration harshly criticizes Egypt in report to Congress
The Obama administration sent Congress a report that harshly criticizes the Egyptian government for restricting free speech, arresting political opponents and undermining democracy. Even so, the report also recommends the US continue sending it $1.3 billion in mostly military aid. The report, quietly submitted to lawmakers last month, said that while Egypt has implemented some democratic reforms, “the overall trajectory of rights and democracy has been negative.” After receiving the report, the US House Appropriations Committee proposed a draft foreign aid bill removing human rights restrictions on assistance to Egypt. [AP, DNE, Egypt Independent, 6/8/2015]

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