Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has decided Thursday to reshuffle eight ministries including ministries of interior, tourism, agriculture, and culture, senior sources said. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dismissed Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, to be replaced by General Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. 


Egypt replaces interior minister in minor cabinet reshuffle
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has decided Thursday to reshuffle eight ministries including ministries of interior, tourism, agriculture, and culture, senior sources said. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dismissed Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, to be replaced by General Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, who worked as head of national security sector from July 2011 to October 2012, retiring after turning sixty. The new ministers were sworn-in today by President Sisi in the presence of both the prime minister and the minister of defense. Sisi, however, issued a decree appointing Mohamed Ibrahim as Mahlab’s security advisor. [Reuters, AP, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), 3/5/2015]

Cabinet entrusts drafting committee to amend unconstitutional elections law
The same names that drafted the unconstitutional law will be responsible for amending it to abide by the Supreme Constitutional Court’s (SCC) ruling. Amendments to the law are set to feature changes in the districts and number of seats. The cabinet to amend the law includes the prime minister’s advisor on security and elections, the assistant to the minister of justice for legislation, the assistant to the minister of interior for legal affairs, and two law professors from Ain Shams and Mansoura universities. The law was mainly contested on claims that it violated constitutional guarantees for equal and fair representation. [DNE, 3/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s parliamentary elections ‘back to square one,’ Minister Heneidy says | Ahram Online
  • Presidency responds to Mohamed Abul Ghar’s criticism | Egypt Independent
  • ElBaradei: Should we consider the Palestinian government to be like Hamas? | Egypt Independent
  • Will Sisi leaks be Egypt’s Watergate? | The Guardian


Egypt court lifts media gag on Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis trial
Cairo Criminal Court lifted a media gag order on the trial of 213 alleged members of Sinai-based militant group AnsarBayt al-Maqdis. One-hundred and forty-three defendants were present in court for today’s first trial session, while the rest are being tried in absentia. The defendants are charged with fifty-four separate crimes, including killing police and the attempted assassination of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. Tamer al-Fergany, head of the Supreme State Security Prosecution, said investigations show the defendants are linked to a series of attacks on security installations in North Sinai and other governorates, including a blast in Daqahliya in December 2013 that left at least sixteen people dead. [Ahram Online, 3/5/2015]

Photojournalist Gamal Ziada, Al-Azhar students on trial for protesting
Photojournalist Ahmed GamalZiada attended his second trial session Wednesday held at the Tora Police Institute. Ziada, along with seventy-six Azhar University students, is facing charges for clashes that date back to December 28, 2013. The suspects are charged with breaking the protest law, setting fire to the university’s Faculty of Commerce, obstructing roads, participating in a public assembly threatening public safety, violence, thuggery, and resisting security officers. The Cairo Criminal Court’s terrorism branch listened to the testimonies from police and National Security officers. One officer confirmed the detainees were protesting and engaging in violent acts. MokhtarMounir, a human rights lawyer defending Ziada and fifteen other students said, “We have a problem that the prosecution authorities and judges do not differentiate Ziada from the other defendants, despite that he is the only one who is not a student.” The court postponed the trial to March 15 to hear the defense. [DNE, 3/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court accepts Press Syndicate’s appeal | DNE, AswatMasriya
  • Court closes Khaled Said ‘police torture’ case | DNE
  • ShaimaaSabbagh’s defense team demand lifting gag order | Egypt Independent
  • Lawyers protest to lift media gag order on the killed Matariya lawyer case | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Legal debate over verdict declaring Hamas a terrorist organization | Egypt Independent
  • Pretrial detention extended for fifty-five defendants in Rabaa sit-in reprisal case | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • May 7 verdict for sixty-seven Brotherhood affiliates over storming Sohag building | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Public prosecutor establishes new department for preparing terrorist entity lists | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt’s pound steady on official auction and black market
Egypt’s central bank kept the pound steady at 7.53 pounds to the dollar at a foreign exchange auction on Thursday, while the pound stayed stable on the black market. The central bank said it offered $40 million on Thursday and sold $38.4 million at a cut-off price of 7.5301 pounds per dollar, unchanged from the last auction on Wednesday. The central bank has now kept the official exchange rate steady for more than a month after letting the pound weaken in an effort to wipe out black market trading. [Reuters, 3/5/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Gulf-Egyptian military and economic cooperation | Al-Arabiya
  • Egypt launches new solar power plant in Siwa | AswatMasriya
  • Egypt’s SODIC says 2014 net profit 154.3 mln Egyptian pounds | Reuters
  • Two agreements to develop gas fields | Egypt Independent
  • Foreign ministry: Eighty states and organizations to participate in economic summit | Shorouk (Arabic)


Rights group says 2014 showed increasing protests in Egypt
Protest activity has escalated dramatically since the beginning of 2014, according to a report by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) issued on Tuesday. The report, entitled “Obscure and Stalled: The Democratic Path in Egypt 2014” attempts to answer questions regarding Egypt’s democratic transition and its democratic trajectory. It also attempts to identify the indicators that affect the democratic path, whether negatively or positively. The human rights organization counted 1,515 protest marches, organized either by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist Anti-Coup Alliance, or by students, workers, and other civil groups. “We do not rely on official figures or figures given by oppositional groups. Our statistics rely on the observation and documentation of events by the Lawyers for Democracy team during their fieldwork, therefore the numbers mentioned in it are modest figures,” said Karim Abdel Rady, head of Research Unit at ANHRI. [DNE, 3/4/2015]

Four journalists arrested while covering Al-Azhar protest
Four journalists were arrested while covering a protest in front of Al-Azhar University. The protest was organized by a group of teachers who work on a freelance basis for the university. The four journalists are Mohamed al-Sayed and Mahmoud Gad, who work for al-Tahrir newspaper, Mohamed Fathy, who works for Yaqeen news network, and Hamdy Abdel-Aziz, who works for ENS, a private news agency. The police released Fathy and Abdel-Aziz, keeping the other two in custody on charges of storming into Al-Azhar. “The police released me because no evidence was found of me taking any pictures of the protest, while the rest of the reporters are kept in detention because of the pictures they shot,” Abdel-Aziz said in a phone call shortly after his release. [DNE, 3/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Al-Azhar campaigns ‘against destructive thoughts’ in Giza high schools | DNE
  • Short circuit likely behind Cairo’s convention center blaze: Police spokesman | Ahram Online
  • MIU threatens to refer student to prosecution for ‘not apologising’ | DNE
  • Scrutiny grows on human rights in Egypt in run-up to Economic Summit | DNE
  • NCHR expresses solidarity with killed activist and lawyer | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt warns women against marrying ISIS fighters online | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship | Al Monitor


Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claim army operations killed civilian
AnsarBayt al-Maqdis, also known as the Sinai State, posted a series of photos of destroyed houses on Tuesday and claimed a disabled civilian was killed during “indiscriminate shelling” by armed forces in North Sinai. The photos feature a number of destroyed houses where, in one of them, a dead man was found under the rubble. [DNE, 3/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Bomb explodes at Upper Egypt railway station, no casualties | Ahram Online
  • Matariya small bombs “targeted” Vodafone, Mobinil stores, say prosecutors | Ahram Online


Erdogan says rapprochement with Egypt is the “only disagreement” with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia wants Turkey to make peace with Egypt, Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogansaid after his visit to the oil-rich Kingdom, describing it as “the only disagreement” between Ankara and Riyadh. Egypt and Turkey have been at odds since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, with Ankara describing the country’s political transition as a “coup.” During his three-day visit to the Kingdom, Erdogan met with King Salman Bin Abdelaziz, a meeting that came one day after a similar encounter between Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi’s new monarch. Saudi Arabia “wants Turkey to make up with Egypt at a high-level, but there is no insistence,” Erdogan told the daily Hürriyet on his way back to Ankara. He added, “The real important issue for us is elevating Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations to a better level. The Egypt issue shouldn’t cast a shadow on our relations with Saudi Arabia.” [Ahram Online, 3/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • What awaits Cairo and Hamas after terrorism ruling? | Ahram Online
  • Hamas describes court ruling as “mistake against Palestinian resistance” | Ahram Online
  • Addis Ababa continues to assure downstream nations over dam project |Ahram Online
  • Ethiopia dam studies firm to be announced soon, says minister |Ahram Online
  • Ministry spokesperson: Sisi and Bashir to meet in Cairo over Renaissance Dam | Egypt Independent
  • Hadi says Egypt is a strong supporter of Yemen | MENA
  • Sisi meets African environment ministers | DNE
  • Trade minister meets new US ambassador in Egypt | SIS
  • Tourism minister opens Egyptian pavilion in ITB Berlin | SIS
  • 441 Egyptians return from Libya via Salloum | Shorouk (Arabic)