Top News: Egypt Sends 439 to Military Trials over Violence

The Egyptian prosecution referred on Saturday 439 defendants to the military judiciary over violence which followed the deadly dispersal of two pro-Mohamed Morsi camps in August 2013.


Egypt’s state council ratifies parliamentary constituencies law
Egypt’s state council has ratified the parliamentary elections constituencies law sending it back to the government to review amendments it has made. The law that was passed by the cabinet last week is the final step necessary before the parliamentary vote expected last year. The state council’s department of legislation ‎revises the legal terminology of the law as well as its constitutional stance. After the government approves the law’s final draft, it still has to be ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who currently holds all legislative powers, until the new parliament is sworn in. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 12/15/2014]

Also of Interest
Strong Egypt  calls for dialogue, criticizes current penal institutions | DNE
Nour Party calls on Sisi to cancel tests evaluating mosque imams | Egypt Independent
Sisi’s visit to Damietta postponed for ‘security reasons’ | Egypt Independent
Nour Party to include women and Copts in electoral list says member | Aswat Masriya


Class-based provision for judicial recruitment stirs discontent
A presidential decree ratifying the appointment of newcomers to the general prosecution in September was met with accusations of discrimination and unconstitutionality, following the elimination of 138 candidates because their parents lack higher education. This provision was added by the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, to complement a list of class-based provisions that candidates and members of the judicial community have fought to eliminate for years. The by-laws of the Supreme Council for the Judiciary, which makes the final selection, requires candidates to pass a security check, giving the security apparatus the final word in the appointment of prosecutors. These additional stipulations include social background and financial means. The bylaws also completely eliminate female candidates, except for in administrative prosecution. [Mada Masr, 12/14/2014]

Egypt sends 439 to military trials over violence
The Egyptian prosecution referred on Saturday 439 defendants to the military judiciary over violence which followed the deadly dispersal of two pro-Mohamed Morsi camps in August 2013. Egypt’s top prosecutor referred 139 defendants, believed to be Muslim Brotherhood supporters, to a military tribunal over the killing of a police officer and two policemen, as well as breaking into a police station in Minya and torching it. The Damanhour general prosecutor referred 300 more to the military prosecution, accusing them of torching the Beheira Governorate building. Minya lawyer Gamal Abdel Hameed said the Minya case was referred to the military prosecution based on a decree passed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in October that expanded the jurisdiction of military courts. [DNE, AP,  Aswat Masriya, 12/13/2014]

Lawyer calls for Catherine Ashton’s testimony in Morsi espionage trial
The lawyer for ex-president Mohamed Morsi called on Sunday for the testimony of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in the espionage case of his client. During a court session, lawyer Montaser al-Zayat asked the jury to task the EU commission in Cairo with acquiring the testimony of Ashton, who visited Morsi following his ouster. Al-Zayat also called for the testimony of Mohamed Fayek, head of the National Council for Human Rights, who also paid a visit to Morsi in his detention during the same period. He has been seeking to dismiss charges against his client based on leaked recorded conversations allegedly between Egyptian authorities. [Ahram Online, 12/14/2014]

Also of Interest
Forensics say three suspects in Cairo alleged gay bathhouse were sexually assaulted | Ahram Online
Members of Egypt’s constitutional committee testify in retrial of activists | Ahram Online
Court upholds decision to ban police from entering universities | Aswat Masriya
Salah Soltan requests punishment in place of dying son | DNE
Doctors referred to trial for allegedly failing to admit patient in labor | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
Verdict on banning of Ultras groups adjourned to December 29 | DNE
Lawyer: Ahmed Ezz has constitutional right to run for elections | Egypt Independent
A lonely fight defending Egypt’s jailed dissidents | AP
Court to rule on banning Qassam Brigades in January | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s stock market loses $3 billion in one day
Egypt’s stock market plunged by 22 billion Egyptian pounds (just over $3 billion) in a single day of trading Sunday as low oil prices dragged down regional economies. The EGX30 index closed 5.23 percent lower, with 170 stocks declining and just five showing gains. Yasser Rashad, a stockbroker, said there was an immediate dip at the start of the session, “an indication that there has been an intention over the weekend…to sell as soon as the today’s session began, out of fear of the stocks continuing to drop this week.”  Wael Ziada, head of research at EFG Hermes, said the drop is a knock-on effect caused by the steep decline in oil prices, which have decreased by nearly half since late June. [AP, Egypt Independent, 12/15/2014]

Egypt targets 4.3 percent growth in 2015/16 draft budget
According to Egypt’s finance ministry, the government aims to boost economic growth to 4.3 percent and have a budget gap of 9.5 to 10 percent of gross domestic product in the 2015/16 fiscal year. The government expects to reach those targets by extending new taxes and cuts to energy subsidies introduced earlier this year. [Reuters, Mada Masr, 12/14/2014]

Also of Interest
France to fund new trains for Egypt’s metro | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
Italian Edison to invest $300 million in new Egyptian power plant | Egypt Independent
EMG denies involvement in new Egypt-Israel gas deal | Egypt Independent
Transport minister considers raising metro prices | Egypt Independent
Scientific adviser says Egypt’s gas reserves will run out by 2027 | Egypt Independent
Egyptian pound steady at official auction, stronger on black market | Aswat Masriya
Egypt enters consultations with Eurasian Union to sign free trade agreement | MENAFN
Egypt to benefit from cheaper oil | Zawya
Egypt to issue $1.1 billion in T-bills | Mada Masr


Thirteen fishermen drown in Red Sea boat collision
According to sources from Egypt’s Ministry of Health, at least thirteen fishermen have died as a result of a collision between a container ship and a fishing boat in the Gulf of Suez. The confirmed fatalities rose from eleven on Sunday morning, to thirteen by the afternoon. Daqahliya governor said a search is still ongoing for fourteen missing fishermen. Egypt’s armed forces sent a military plane to South Sinai to look for the missing fishermen, a military source said. Ibrahim Abdel Hamid, the owner of the shipwrecked sailing boat, however, said that the rescue and navy forces did not intervene to save the sailors. “It would have been different, if they had been foreigners,” he said. The ministry of social solidarity initially announced compensation for the victims’ families at 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($700) each, with the minister doubling the amount on Monday. [AP, Mada Masr, 12/15/201

Authorities raid and close ‘atheists’ cafe’ in downtown Cairo
Security forces raided and closed what they described as the “atheists’ café” in the Abdeen neighborhood of downtown Cairo, municipal authorities announced Sunday. The café has also been described as a den for “Satan worshippers.” The closure spurred a reaction on social networking sites, with “atheists’ café” trending nationwide. The police chief did not explain how or why atheists might be worshiping Satan in a coffee shop. Some religious authorities announced outreach programs to eradicate atheism nationwide. On Wednesday, religious authorities — citing a survey — announced that Egypt has an alleged total of 866 atheists. [Mada Masr, 12/14/2014]

Also of Interest
A fifth of Egypt’s Nile water share lost through ‘misuse’ | Ahram Online
Six killed, over a dozen injured in Egypt road accidents | Ahram Online
Pro-Brotherhood protest dispersed at Beni Suef University | Ahram Online
Pro-Morsi protester hospitalized after Kafr al-Sheikh clashes: Police | Ahram Online
Egyptian officials stop printing of newspaper, stoking new fears of censorship | DNE
Egyptian AIDS Society slams TV show over ‘homosexual orgies’ episode | DNE
One killed, thirteen arrested in Friday protests across Egypt | DNE, Aswat Masriya


Egypt detains three accused of discussing sabotage in public
Cairo police briefly detained three Egyptians, including two with British citizenship, after a man told them he overheard them discussing ways to destabilize the country during next month’s anniversary of the 2011 uprising, a security official and a British diplomat said Sunday. The Egyptian official said the three were apprehended at a subway station Saturday night after a passenger told police they were speaking in English about burning homes and businesses on the anniversary of the January 2011 uprising. The three denied the accusations and the case was referred to prosecutors, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. A British diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations said the British nationals were provided consular assistance and were subsequently released. It was not immediately clear if the Egyptian was also released or if the case was closed. [AP, 12/14/2014]

600 minors detained in CSF camp says al-Nadeem Center
The Nadeem Center for the management and rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture reported the incarceration of 600 children between the ages of 14 and 17 in a Central Security Forces camp in Banha. Lawyer at the center, Halim Heneish, told Mada Masr on Sunday that they had received more than twenty reports from families claiming their children had been held at the camp for more than eight months. After thorough investigation, the center discovered 600 children at the camp, some of whom they say are injured and have not received medical care. A report was sent to the prosecutor general on Tuesday demanding visiting rights for the families while the detained children await trial, Heneish said. [Mada Masr, 12/14/2014]

Also of Interest
Extremist group Ajnad Masr says not affiliated to ISIS | Egypt Independent
Human rights ‘cornerstone’ of Egyptian police says minister of interior | Ahram Online
Army kills more ‘terrorists’ in Sinai | Ahram Online
Ten fighters killed in Sinai air raid | DNE, Aswat Masriya
Policeman dies, another injured in attack on North Sinai police station | Ahram Online
Two policemen killed in Arish drive-by shooting | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Two minor explosions south of Nile Delta, one injured | Ahram Online


US analyst denied Egypt entry at airport; Foreign ministry blames it on visa
Egypt denied entry to a prominent American analyst and former diplomat, Michele Dunne, arriving at Cairo’s international airport Saturday to speak at a conference hosted by the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs. State news reported that Dunne was refused entry for security reasons, adding that she is on an entry ban list. “Some Egyptians complain I don’t list[en] enough to pro-government views. When I accept invite to [conference] of [a] pro-government group, they deny me entry,” Dunne commented via her Twitter account. Mohamed Ibrahim Shaker, vice president of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs, said that the council had invited Dunne to the conference as an attempt to change her views. “This is a security decision that we won’t interfere in, because the security apparatus knows better about these situations and is keen on the stability of the country,” he added.  Egypt’s foreign affairs ministry stated on Sunday that she was denied entry because she had no visa. The statement said Dunne went to the Egyptian consulate in Washington where she submitted a visa request form but withdrew her passport without completing the procedure, and decided to apply for a visa on entry, which can only be obtained for purposes of tourism. Dunne wrote on her Twitter account, “US citizens are allowed to obtain a visa at the airport for business as well as tourism in Egypt…” [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, The Guardian, 12/14/2014]

Egypt reissues security warning to nationals in Libya after two killed
The Egyptian foreign ministry has renewed its warning to nationals in Libya following the death of two Egyptians on Sunday. The ministry called upon Egyptians in Libya to be cautious and stay away from places where armed clashes take place. Two Egyptian workers were killed and four injured on Sunday during clashes between the Libyan army and Fajr Libya forces on the Coastal Road of the Ras Ajdir crossing on the western border with Tunisia. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 12/15/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt, France sign judiciary cooperation deal | SIS
Bahraini foreign minister says efforts to restore Cairo-Doha ties making great strides | Egypt Independent
Sisi meets Chadian president; discusses Libya, Sudan and Central Africa Republic | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Grand Mufti condemns Sydney hostage crisis | DNE
Shoukry, British meetings tackle international security in the Middle East | DNE
UN, Egyptian rights groups link counter-terrorism to human rights | DNE
Egypt-UN meeting tackles international security in the Middle East | DNE
10,000 Sudanese acres ready for Egyptian farmers: Sudanese Investment Minister | DNE
Canada, UK embassies remain closed as security talks ongoing with Interior Ministry | DNE