Top News: Egypt’s Top Prosecutor Killed in Bomb Attack

Egypt’s Prosecutor General, Hisham Barakat, died following a bomb attack on his vehicle early Monday, medical sources said. Earlier reports had suggested Barakat was stable. One civilian and five members of the security forces were also injured in the attack on the prosecutor’s convoy near the military academy in Heliopolis. Mohamed Gamal, the chief of the bomb squad, told Agence France-Presse it was either a car bomb or a bomb concealed underneath a vehicle. State TV also said the bomb contained a large amount of explosives and was detonated by remote control. Security forces cordoned off the area while explosive experts searched for other possible devices, MENA said. A little-known group calling itself the “Giza Popular Resistance” claimed responsibility on its Facebook page for the attack. The bombing came after the Islamic State group’s affiliate in Egypt, Sinai State, called for attacks on the judiciary following the hanging of six alleged militants. The authenticity of the claim has not been verified. Meanwhile, Sinai State, previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, released a video showing their attack on a microbus in North Sinai’s al-Arish, which killed three judges and the driver on May 16. The video shows a vehicle following a microbus, then approaching it from its left, after which gunshots are fired at the microbus, shattering its windows and penetrating its door.  A title at the bottom of the screen reads “Assassination of five of the tyrant’s judges.” [Ahram OnlineReutersAPThe GuardianDNE, 6/29/2015]


Sisi increases military, social pensions
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree in Law No. 30 of 2015, to increase military pensions and amend some provisions of the law of retirement, insurance and pensions of the Armed Forces, state news agency MENA reported on Monday. The decree, published by the Official Gazette Sunday, increases military pensions by 10 percent as of July. Sisi also issued on Saturday a 10 percent increase in social pensions, effective starting July, according to Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali. Wali told MENA that the pension would be provided by the state treasury. This is the biggest percentage that could currently be borne by the budget, Wali added. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 6/29/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Sisi announces free treatment for military personnel with hepatitis C | Ahram Online, DNE   

Egyptian prosecution imposes gag order on ‘foreign funding of activists’ investigation
Egypt’s Prosecutor General, Hisham Barakat, imposed a media gag order on Saturday on the investigation of a long list of activists. The activists are accused of receiving foreign funding with the purpose of “destabilizing Egypt during the January 25 revolution.” The case is currently being investigated by the prosecution but is yet to be referred to court. According to the Prosecutor General’s statement, the gag order is imposed on audio and video media, as well as print and online media. The statement added that the gag order would be imposed until the end of the investigations and that the Prosecutor General’s office would issue statements about the case and its updates. [Ahram Online, 6/29/2015]

Director and performer sentenced to one year for ‘inciting immorality’
The Agouza Misdemeanor Court sentenced Sunday the dancer, Salma al-Foly, and two others to one year in prison, after charging them with “harming public morals” and inciting “debauchery.” Foly was arrested in May shortly after a video clip of her went viral. The video, posted on YouTube, features Foly in a revealing black dress dancing seductively with the video’s director, Wael al-Sedeki.  Sedeki was also sentenced to one year, but in absentia. Foly, who was detained pending trial, will now start serving her sentence, while Sedeki is in Tunisia. On the eve of the verdict, he wrote on his Facebook account that he would return to Egypt on July 2 regardless of the verdict. Commenting on the sentence, Sedeki wrote on Facebook: “The officer who beat the lawyer and forced the President to apologize to the people was handed three months, while I got a whole year for posting a song on the Net … Long live Egypt.” The verdicts can still be appealed.[Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, DNE, 6/29/2015]

Human rights lawyer says Esraa al-Taweel to face prosecution on charges of spreading false news
Esraa al-Taweel, the young photojournalist who disappeared earlier in June, and is in pre-trial detention, will face prosecution on Monday. According to Mohamed al-Baqr, a human rights lawyer on Taweel’s defense team, Taweel will face charges of “belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and spreading false news through her social media account,” but it is unclear what these accusations will focus on. Baqr said his team only learned of the charges verbally through legal sources, not through the state security prosecution, who commonly deal with cases of terrorism. The defense is not permitted to see the official police and prosecution reports until they go to court. [DNE, 6/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ruling in Egypt trial of Al Jazeera journalists set for July 30 | Reuters, DNE
  • Cairo court upholds 50,000 Egyptian pound fines for protesters | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE  
  • Cairo court continues to examine evidence in Morsi’s Qatar espionage trial | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
  • Complainant appeals blasphemy acquittal of Egyptian TV presenter Beheiry | Ahram Online
  • Brotherhood members handed three to fifteen years in Sharqiya | Egypt Independent
  • Court upholds nationalization of Nile Cotton Ginning Company | Egypt Independent
  • Pro-Brotherhood TV presenter to stand trial in absentia on July 8 | DNE
  • Court rejects officer’s appeal to be allowed to grow beard | Cairo Post
  • Three arrested in Friday protests | DNE

UAE to offer Egypt grant for ten year slum development project
The UAE will provide Egypt with a grant to aid the development of 10,000 housing units over the course of ten years, Minister of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements Laila Iskandar told Aswat Masriya.  The project, for which an agreement has yet to be signed, is set to begin within the next fiscal year. The company in charge of implementing the project has not yet been chosen, the minister said. The project will prioritize slum areas in Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate and Cairo’s Manshiyet Nasser district. The ministry’s technical support manager said on Sunday that the eradication of slums in Egypt, which make up 40 percent of its urban areas, will cost around 250 billion Egyptian pounds. [Ahram Online, 6/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt stocks drop following prosecutor attack | Ahram Online
  • Train tickets reservations with ID cards help reduce black market influence | Egypt Independent
  • 15.4 percent of Egyptians live under $2 a day | Egypt Independent
  • Official: GCC not expected to provide Egypt with additional aid during FY15/16 | Egypt Independent
  • Full steam ahead on project to expand the Suez Canal | Financial Times
  • Egyptian pound steady at official auction, weaker on black market | Reuters
  • Egypt officially joins China’s Silk Road Economic Belt union | Ahram Online
  • Egypt-Sudan trade surplus down $179 million in 2014 | MENA
  • Italian firm wins $200 million solar project in Egypt | Trade Arabia

Police responsible for 272 deaths in past twelve months, says rights group
A police court verdict that fined a policeman convicted of torture, but failed to apply any other penalties, has triggered outrage from a number of quarters in Egypt. The chief of a Mahalla police station, Yasser Shousha, was convicted of applying electric shocks to a detainee in a police station in February 2014. In January 2015, the Ministry of Interior referred Shousha to a disciplinary council. Shousha was later tried as a public employee in front of an internal police court.  On Friday, he was found guilty of the crime and fined a one month salary. Commentators on social media expressed anger at the ruling, arguing the verdict shows that police treat torture as an administrative violation rather than a crime. Columnist Wael Abdel-Fattah wondered on his official Twitter account whether the Interior Minister was actually aware that torture is a crime. Leftist activist and blogger Hossam al-Hamalawy questioned why the policeman was allowed to continue in his post. Ahmed Sayed al-Naggar, economist and CEO of Ahram, also criticized the sentence on his official Facebook page. [Ahram Online, 6/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Eating in public during Ramadan fast in Egypt not a crime: Interior ministry | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
  • Report: Stability achieved by authorities in Egypt ‘fake’ | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt destroys symbol of old regime but repression lives on | AFP
  • Ramadan ads accused of promoting sexual harassment, domestic violence | DNE
  • Family plans sit-in for detained Egyptian photojournalist Shawkan | Ahram Online, DNE  
  • Egypt’s Alexandria breaks world record for longest iftar table, despite scuffles | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
  • At least seventy journalists, photographers were assaulted in the first six months of 2015 | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt jumps six spots in Global Peace Index 2015; economy still bleeding | Egypt Independent

Police responsible for 272 deaths in past twelve months, says rights group
Police violations led to 272 deaths during the past twelve months, according to a new report by Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, which documented police performance during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first year in office. Al-Nadeem claimed that the twelve month period set out in the report, beginning when Sisi took office in June 2014, has been the worst for human rights violations since the center was founded in 1993. Its documentation depended on media reports throughout the year. [Mada Masr, 6/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Traffic office torched in Giza | DNE
  • Bomb detonates killing two militants in northern Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Small bomb explodes near Saudi consulate in Cairo | Ahram Online
  • Police urged to perform attentive inspection at metro stations | Cairo Post
  • Police crackdown on unregistered SIM cards used in blasts | Cairo Post
  • Egypt arrests fifty-one foreigners for attempted ‘illegal immigration’ to Italy | Cairo Post
  • Two bombs explode near Media Production City leaving no casualties | Cairo Post

Egypt’s Sisi receives draft protocol for joint Arab force
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has received the draft protocol to form a joint Arab military force, a presidential statement said on Saturday. Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Araby and Egyptian Army Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy met with Sisi to discuss the proposed protocol. The draft protocol is expected to be presented next to the Joint Defense Council of the Arab League. According to the presidential statement, Sisi said the draft was a result of joint Arab efforts intended to combat common challenges and particularly terrorist organizations. He added that this force is for “defense” and not attack, saying it is not formed to be against any faction. [Ahram Online, DNE, 6/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian President tells his French counterpart Friday attack was ‘brutal’ | Ahram Online, Mada Masr  
  • Egyptian-Israeli negotiations to restore peace talks with the Palestinians | Egypt Independent
  • British army delivers life-saving training to thirty-one Egyptian Army officers | Cairo Post, DNE
  • Sisi meets eleven new ambassadors to Cairo | DNE