Egypt’s first legislature in more than three years held its inaugural session on Sunday, where it elected a constitutional expert as its speaker. Ali Abdel Aal was elected speaker of the house with 401 out of 585 votes. Abdel Aal is a constitutional law professor at Ain Shams University and is the nominee from the Support Egypt Coalition, a branch of the state-sponsored For the Love of Egypt coalition that dominated much of the 2015 parliamentary elections. 

He was on the committee of 10 legal experts who were given a mandate to amend Egypt’s constitution in 2014, as well as the 50-person committee that produced a final revision of the document. He also sat on the committee that drafted the political rights law, as well as the electoral law. The members also elected MP Mahmoud al-Sharif as one of its two deputies, with run-offs for the position of a second deputy set to take place on Monday, between Wafd Party candidate MP Soliman Wahdan and MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim. The new chamber’s first task will be to ratify some 300 presidential decrees issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi since taking office in June 2014 and Interim President Adly Mansour before him.  [AP, SIS, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 1/10/2016]

Also of Interest

  • Interior Ministry issues report on human rights initiatives | DNE
  • Egypt MP says neglect of Nubians’ role ‘crime against human history’ | Al Monitor
  • Mortada Mansour rejects oath on constitution preamble over 2011 uprising | AMAY
  • New Parliament Speaker pledges to defend principles of Jan 25, June 30 revolutions | SIS
  • Egypt’s 2011 revolution against Mubarak attacked by some in new parliament | Ahram Online


Mubarak loses final appeal against graft conviction, set to be stripped of presidential benefits
Egypt’s court of appeals on Saturday rejected an appeal by former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons over a three-year jail sentence for corruption, but the trio is unlikely to be imprisoned again having already served the sentences. They will have to pay a fine of 125 million Egyptian pounds ($15.96 million) and return 21 million pounds to the state treasury. According to Reuters, Mubarak and his sons paid 104 million Egyptian pounds during the trial. This is the final ruling on the case, and no further appeals can be made.  The ruling means that Mubarak will be deprived of privileges granted to former presidents according to Egyptian law. “Mubarak will be deprived of special privileges such as a special security crew allocated to ex-presidents, as well as some honors which come with an annual income,” lawyer Amr Emam with the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre said. The ruling also means Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, will not be allowed to return to the political arena in the foreseeable future. “His two sons will be prohibited from practicing politics for five years,” Emam added. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, AP, Reuters, 1/9/2016]

Trial of 11 men accused of homosexuality begins
The Agouza Misdemeanor Court in Giza begins Monday the trial of 11 young men accused of practicing homosexuality inside a private apartment in Mohandessin. Security officials at the time said women’s underwear, sex toys, and large amounts of money were seized during the raid. Investigators alleged that the suspects admitted to forging their friendships through Facebook in addition to offering themselves to clients in return for money. [AMAY, 1/11/2016]

Also of Interest

  • Zamalek fans jailed for attempted murder of Mortada Mansour, storming club grounds | Ahram Online
  • Court considers challenge by Islam Beheiry in blasphemy case | AMAY
  • Egyptian court jails captains of Nile boats involved in deadly collision | Ahram Online
  • Court upholds disbanding of al-Ahly Club’s board | AMAY
  • Doctors’ Syndicate demands investigation into doctor’s death in Fayoum | DNE, Mada Masr
  • Security Official: Doctor killed following arrest lobbied for Jan 25 protests | AMAY


Egypt’s President Sisi launches loan program for SMEs
Egypt’s banking sector will inject EGP 200 billion ($25 billion) to support small and medium businesses (SMEs), President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday. “I have assigned the central bank to make the most of the banking sector to implement a comprehensive program to support small and medium businesses,” Sisi said, adding that loans for SMEs over the next four years would not be less than 20 percent of all loans issued. On Sunday, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) issued guidelines on how it will incentivize banks to participate in a “comprehensive program” to help finance SMEs. The CBE said interest rates on loans offered to SMEs would not exceed 5 percent. In return for issuing the loans, participating banks would be permitted to reduce their level of required reserves held at the CBE by an amount equivalent to what they lend. The SME program aims to finance 350,000 companies and create 4 million new job opportunities over a period of four years. [Reuters, 1/9/2016]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt to receive EUR 40 million line of credit from France | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt signs $420 million deal with Orascom to upgrade power plants | Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters
  • Egypt’s stocks continue falling on Sunday | Ahram Online
  • CBE approves IDBE’s listing as accredited consulting firm | DNE
  • Foreign reserves hold steady while Egypt looks to raise funds, reduce imports | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s core inflation rate eased in December | Reuters, Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s treasury bond yields rise at Monday’s auction | Reuters
  • Egypt issues $897.9 million one year T-bill at average yield of 3.248 percent | Reuters
  • Decline in Egyptian business activity slows in December | Reuters


NGOs issue statement to provide direction on human rights as parliament convenes
Thirteen renowned local NGOs issued a joint statement Saturday addressed to the Egyptian parliament, delineating nine recommendations to ensure the enforcement of the constitution and human rights standards, amid prevailing national and regional security concerns. The organizations called on parliament to reevaluate legislation passed in the past five years. “The goal is to anchor the pillars of democracy and stability in light of respect for the constitution and international human rights commitments, which successive Egyptian governments have vowed to honor,” the statement said.  The NGOs also called on the parliament to review the controversial Protest Law issued by Adly Mansour in November 2013, and anti-terrorism laws, which they believe should be abolished. Signatories to the statement include the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights, and the Association for Freedom and Thought Expression. [DNE, 1/10/2016]

Democracy Meter report says Egypt saw 1,117 labor protests in 2015
The NGO Democracy Meter issued its annual report on Egyptian labor actions on Saturday, citing 1,117 labor protests throughout 2015. Egypt witnessed an average of around three labor protests during each day of the year, and approximately 93 such protests per month. As high as this reported rate of labor unrest is, it represents a marked decrease in comparison to the numbers of labor actions witnessed in the previous year. Democracy Meter reported that the rate of strikes may have diminished in 2015 as a result of a state-sponsored campaign to ban these work stoppages for a year. The NGO also reported that the Ministry of Endowments had sponsored religious sermons to denounce the right to strike. [Mada Masr, 1/11/2016]

Also of Interest

  • Nadeem Center: Egypt’s security forces killed 474 people in 2015 | Mada Masr
  • Sisi celebrates National Youth Day, promises opportunities for youth | Ahram Online
  • Interior Minister sent medical convoys to treat prisoners | DNE
  • Human Rights Lawyer files report to prosecutor general over passport confiscation | DNE
  • Sixty-five Petrotrade workers suspended as strike escalates | DNE
  • Housing Ministry to set schedule for delayed sanitation projects | DNE


Three tourists stabbed in attack on Hurghada hotel, one assailant killed
Knifemen stormed a hotel in Egypt’s Hurghada on Friday evening, injuring a number of foreign tourists before security forces killed one of the assailants, injured the other and ended the attack. Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed said two Swedish tourists and one Austrian were stabbed. They were sent to the town’s Nile Hospital and Red Sea Hospital. According to Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, the three tourists sustained “minor injuries.” A police statement, however, gave their nationalities as two Austrians and one Danish citizen. The statement added that two assailants were carrying bladed weapons and an imitation pistol. Security sources, however, told Reuters the attackers had arrived by sea and also carried a gun and a suicide belt. Zaazou also said the government would announce additional security measures to safeguard tourists after Friday’s attack. The attack took place at Bella Vista Hotel in the busy downtown area of Hurghada, a popular tourist resort located on the Red Sea. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Reuters, 1/10/2016]

Two killed, three injured in attacks on police in Cairo, Sinai
Armed men shot dead a police officer and a soldier on Saturday while they were in their car in the Giza area, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt’s state news agency, MENA, said. “Immediately after the incident several moving and fixed checkpoints were deployed in the Muneeb area in order to crack down on the attackers and catch them,” a security source was quoted as saying by the state news agency. Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on messaging service Telegram. A police officer and two police conscripts also sustained minor injuries on Friday after an improvised bomb exploded in the town of Rafah in North Sinai, Al-Ahram reported. According to security and medical sources, the explosion took place in the Abu Shanar area in Rafah. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. [Ahram Online, Reuters, The Guardian, 1/9/2016]

Police allegedly attempt to kidnap chairman of local NGO
Chairman of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) Ahmed Abdullah was allegedly the subject of an attempted act of “kidnapping” by security forces on Saturday, the commission announced in an official statement on Sunday. “Three men in civilian clothes claiming to belong to the police forces raided the coffee shop often visited by Abdullah in the Agouza district and questioned the workers about him,” the statement read. “They searched the entire coffee shop for him without showing any arrest warrants or orders from the prosecutor general, but Abdullah was not present at the time.” The ECRF expressed major concern over potential harms and risks posed to Abdullah’s life. “The setting of the raid indicates the Interior Ministry’s intention to target Abdullah for illegal detention, in an unknown place and maybe put endanger his life,” they said. In response, Abdullah filed a complaint about the “kidnapping attempt” to the prosecutor general, holding the Interior Ministry responsible. [DNE, 1/10/2016]

Also of Interest

  • Power resumes to Cairo International Airport air traffic control tower after 2-hour cut | Ahram Online, AMAY
  • ISIS militants set cleaning company ablaze in Al-Arish | DNE, AMAY


Egypt following Turkey’s questioning of 12 Egyptians for ‘ISIS membership’
Turkish authorities confirmed to the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul that 12 Egyptian nationals were arrested in Turkey on the charge of membership to the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) group. Consul Bassam Rady said that the consulate will take the measures normally followed in cases involving Egyptians abroad, adding that the consulate will assign lawyers to follow up on the questioning process. He said that Egypt will ask that the arrested Egyptians be deported to Egypt after the completion of the Turkish investigation. Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported Sunday that Turkey arrested 15 Egyptians and Russians accused of ISIS membership in the Turkish provinces of Adana and Elazig. [Aswat Masriya, 1/11/2016]

Also of Interest

  • ‘Nile is sole source of water for Egypt,’ Egypt’s Sisi stresses to Sudan’s Foreign Minister | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Water Expert: Increasing sluices on GERD of no importance, Egypt’s water share is priority | DNE
  • Egypt and Sudan agree to cooperation framework over Hala’ib Triangle | DNE
  • Shoukry to head to Berlin on Monday | DNE
  • Egypt officially invited to attend OIC conference in Turkey | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister to meet top Egyptian officials | DNE