Top News: Egypt’s Press Syndicate to Hold Emergency Meeting to Discuss ‘media crackdown’

Egypt’s Press Syndicate is to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the ongoing crackdown on journalists and press freedom, said Khaled al-Balshy, head of the syndicate’s freedoms committee. “The interior ministry and many other governmental apparatuses have been filing frequent legal complaints against journalists, and these are all proof that the current government is targeting journalists,” Balshy said. Syndicate council member Mahmoud Kamel confirmed that the meeting would take place at the syndicate’s headquarters on Monday afternoon in the presence of syndicate head Yehia Qallash. Balshy said the crackdown on journalists and media figures had gone far beyond expectations, adding, “Even those who are close [to the authorities] are being summoned and investigated.” [Ahram Online, 6/15/2015]


Former PM Shafiq steps down as leader of Egyptian Patriotic Movement
Former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq announced late Saturday night that he had resigned from leading the Egyptian Patriotic Movement, casting further doubts about his political future. Shafiq cited his inability to perform duties from outside Egypt as the reason behind his resignation. “I had to resign due to the difficult circumstances I had to face while doing my job,” he said on Twitter. Meanwhile, Yehia Qadri, Shafiq’s deputy, said that he had been told that Shafiq was facing outside pressure to resign. Shafiq denied this claim. Qadri said in statement that the party’s board would hold a meeting Monday to discuss Shafiq’s resignation. However, board member Osama al-Shahed said in press statements Sunday that initial indicators within the party show that they will likely “reject Shafiq’s resignation.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 6/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt officer jail sentence a victory for justice, says Socialist Popular Alliance | Ahram Online
  • Sisi’s failed policies to fight corruption in local government | DNE
  • Ex-Shura Council Brotherhood bloc members represent Egypt in Arab Parliament | Egypt Independent
  • Democratic Current says Interior Ministry excesses threaten constitution | Egypt Independent
  • Ahmed Shafiq says intelligence services know my efforts prior to June 30 | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt allocates 25 percent of real estate development for slums, says minister | Cairo Post


Chief editor of private Youm7 newspaper released on bail
Egypt’s prosecutor general Hisham Barakat ordered the release of Khaled Salah and Al-Sayed Falah, editor-in-chief and editor of Youm7 respectively, on EGP 10,000 bail each hours after they were charged with publishing false news, inciting fear, and threatening public security. The interior ministry filed a complaint against both men, accusing them of publishing false news on June 11 in a report about alleged terrorists attacking cars affiliated with the presidency. The report said the vehicles were attacked after leaving the coastal resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, where Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi attended the African economic summit. The office of presidency officially denied that the attack happened. [Ahram Online, DNE, 6/13/2015]

Twenty-three sentenced to prison for videotaped killing of Shias in 2013
An Egyptian criminal court sentenced twenty-three people to fourteen years in prison Saturday on charges of killing four Shiite men two years ago. The four were beaten to death west of Cairo, when a crowd of angry villagers surrounded the house of Shiite community leader Hassan Shehata, threatening to set it on fire if thirty-four Shia inside did not leave the village before the end of the day. When they refused, villagers attacked them, dragged them on the ground, and partially burned the house, security officials said. Judicial officials said that of the twenty-three sentenced to prison time, nine are currently in custody. The court also acquitted eight of the defendants in the same case. [AP, Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 6/13/2015]

Egypt court upholds not guilty verdict for Mubarak’s last housing minister
An appeal that challenged the acquittal of Mubarak-era housing minister Ahmed al-Maghrabi on graft charges was rejected by Egypt’s Court of Cassation on Sunday, the latest in a series of acquittals of the former president’s top officials. The decision came a day after the same court upheld al-Maghrabi’s acquittal in another case for charges of seizing state land and squandering funds, and two days after Mubarak’s former tourism minister Zuhair Garana was similarly acquitted of corruption charges. According to judicial sources, the verdict is final and cannot be further appealed. [ Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 6/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Retrial begins for seventeen witnesses to Al-Sabbagh’s killing charged with illegal protesting | DNE
  • Two Egyptian policemen detained for stealing evidence | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Fifty-eight Islamists to stand military trial in Egypt | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt orders retrial for sixteen people accused of killing twenty-five police officers | AP
  • Zamalek chairman withdraws assassination charge against Ultras | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Egypt court upholds Morsi’s son one-year sentence in hashish case | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
  • Egypt court revokes death sentence for Sinai militant Habara; orders retrial | Ahram Online
  • Detention renewal session for ‘torture t-shirt’ detainee resumes Monday | DNE
  • Rassd board members’ disciplinary confinement is administrative punishment: Lawyer | DNE  
  • NCHR visit to Al-Marg prison; says no violations | DNE
  • Five Brotherhood supporters sentenced in absentia for rioting in Giza | Egypt Independent
  • Morsi’s trial in Qatar collaboration adjourned to June 21 | Egypt Independent
  • Badie’s ‘Adua’ retrial postponed to August 30 | Egypt Independent
  • Appeal accepted for defendants in 2013 Rafah soldier killings | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt court to retry seven militants sentenced to death over killing conscripts | Aswat Masriya
  • Court rejects appeal against former minister’s acquittal in Akhbar Al-Youm land sale case | Egypt Independent


Egypt considers postponing fuel subsidy smart card system
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked his government on Saturday to consider postponing a smart card system for subsidized fuel, which was due to be rolled out today. “The president directed the government to urgently study postponing the application of this system until all the sectors that don’t have these cards are covered,” said presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef. A similar smart card system for subsidized bread has been widely seen as a success. The new fuel cards do not entail rationing for now, but they will enable the government to monitor the amount of fuel being consumed per vehicle and crack down on smuggling. Eventually, each card will be assigned a ration for subsidized prices. [Reuters, 6/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s new Suez Canal to be completed for August 6 ceremony | AP
  • Ministers launch ‘Luxor and Aswan in our hearts’ initiative to encourage tourism | Egypt Independent
  • Legal framework for Egypt investment fund to be ready soon | Reuters
  • First phase of wheat storage system project to save Egypt $200 million a year | Reuters
  • Egypt’s GASC buys 180,000 tonnes of Russian, Romanian wheat | Reuters
  • Egypt’s EFG-Hermes says well-capitalized for future growth | Reuters
  • Elsewedy Electric to develop $75 million solar plant in Egypt’s Aswan | Aswat Masriya
  • President Sisi reviews preparations for Upper Egypt investment conference | SIS
  • Egypt spent EGP 126.3 billion on oil product subsidies in 2013/2014 | DNE


Nearly 2,000 cases of sexual harassment in Sisi’s first year; FGM initiative announced
The sexual harassment issue in Egypt has reached a peak, placing it on President Sisi’s agenda since his first day in office, according to non-governmental initiative “I Saw Harassment.” In a recent report on harassment cases between June 2014 and June 2015, “I Saw Harassment” counted at least 1,964 reported incidents across Egypt. The number is likely to be higher due to the number of unreported cases. Egypt also announced an ambitious plan to reduce female genital mutilation by 10-15 percent over the next five years by mobilizing doctors and judges against a practice that still affects more than 90 percent of women in the country. The National FGM Abandonment Strategy, announced on Sunday, calls for doctors to be trained, prosecutors to be mobilized, and a media campaign to be launched to change public perceptions. The initiative will include the ministries of justice, health, and education, Al-Azhar, Egyptian church officials, and the public prosecutor’s office. [DNE, The Guardian, 6/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Poverty, disease rates increase in seven governorates | Egypt Independent
  • EIPR says extrajudicial community justice is increasing sectarian violence | DNE
  • Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh faced threats of kidnapping her 6-year-old son | DNE
  • Defense Ministry agrees to build 8 tourist resorts in Gamasa | Egypt Independent
  • 61,000 fuel smart cards issued for tuk-tuks | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian tourist attraction in hot water over Israel photo | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
  • Al-Azhar magazine editor resigns after accusations of ‘insulting Christianity’ | Cairo Post
  • Zagazig University dismisses ex-President Morsi | Cairo Post
  • Egypt’s Nubians push for a return to their original homeland | Cairo Post
  • Egypt’s Copts dig heels in over right to remarry | Al-Monitor


Egypt national security officer, policeman killed in Sharqiya shoot-out
A police officer from Egypt’s National Security Agency was killed on Friday in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya, after a low-ranking policeman he was trying to arrest shot him. The policeman had allegedly killed three people, including former Egyptian football player Khaled Soliman, in a fight over land in the Gaziret al-Saada village late on Thursday. The national security officer’s unit reportedly responded and killed the policeman. Five people were also injured in the fight. [Ahram Online 6/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Bombs down two electricity pylons in Giza | Ahram Online
  • IED attack targets policeman’s home in Sinai, injures neighbours | Ahram Online
  • Sinai Province warns Bedouins against using tractors to avoid IEDs | Cairo Post
  • Policeman injured in shooting in Egypt’s Fayoum | Ahram Online
  • One militant killed, two injured at North Sinai checkpoint attack | DNE
  • Seven civilians injured in al-Arish bombing | DNE
  • Armed forces say 1,429 tunnels destroyed in North Sinai in eighteen months | Aswat Masriya


Tripartite meeting to discuss impact of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam
Egyptian irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi said the next tripartite meeting will take place in Cairo on the first of July to discuss the findings of the two European consultancy firms that conducted studies on the impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Moghazi said that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will receive the French Artelia Group and the Dutch company reports on the impact of the dam on June 22. Moghazi expressed his optimism ahead of the meeting that is scheduled to discuss the technical and financial results of the impact of the Renaissance Dam provided by of the consultancy firms. [Ahram Online, 6/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian regional foreign policy in retrospect | DNE
  • Egypt forced to face music, sign GERD agreement: Mubarak’s last irrigation minister | DNE
  • US passes bill resumes Egypt’s $1.5 billion aid | Cairo Post
  • Washington says Egypt’s fiscal transparency not up to par | Egypt Independent
  • Irish government seeks presidential pardon for Ibrahim Halawa’s release | DNE
  • Mahlab delivers speech on climate change at AU summit | SIS, Ahram Online
  • Mahlab says African leaders to attend Suez Canal opening | DNE
  • Mahlab to speak on behalf of Sisi at AU summit | Ahram Online, DNE  
  • Egypt opens Rafah crossing into Gaza in sign of easing tensions | Reuters
  • Rafah border crossing to be open for two more days | Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Mada Masr
  • 953 people cross between Egypt, Gaza | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian-Russian naval exercise a ‘historic step’ | DNE
  • Egypt says it did not prevent passage of Houthi delegation’s flight to Geneva | Egypt Independent
  • Yemenis and rebels headed to Geneva says Egypt blocks flight | AP
  • Tunisia’s Ghannouchi seeks Egypt government-Brotherhood settlement | Egypt Independent
  • Head of EU Delegation to Egypt stresses need for desalination projects | Egypt Independent
  • Irrigation Ministry signs MoU with EU | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian fishermen detained by Libyan authorities | Aswat Masriya
  • Shoukry, Sudanese counterpart discuss preparation for joint committee | SIS
  • Egypt’s foreign minister meets UN envoy over political settlement for Libyan crisis | Cairo Post
  • Swiss foreign minister urges judicial measures to restore Mubarak’s assets | Egypt Independent