An Egyptian court gave nine people sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison on Wednesday over four separate sexual harassment cases.


Baseera says 61 percent approve of Mahlab’s performance
A poll conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) found that 61 percent of Egyptians rate Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s performance as good, while 12 percent rate his performance as average and four percent rate it as bad. The poll also revealed that 43 percent of respondents would have liked to see more changes in ministers after President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration, while 16 percent said it was better to keep the government unchanged. In addition, 58 percent of respondents said that four female ministers adequately represent women in the cabinet. The poll was conducted by using both mobile phones and landlines on a sample of 2,033 citizens aged 18 years old or above, and it covered all governorates. [Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 7/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Seven public entities refuse to reveal data on maximum wage: Auditing Organization | Ahram Online
  • Mahlab and Housing Minister discuss promotion of real estate investment | EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Democratic Alliance holding meetings to form electoral alliances | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Free Egyptians Party: No electoral alliances yet | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Nour Party commends formation of Supreme Elections Commission | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Egypt sentences nine to 20 years to life for sexual assault
An Egyptian court gave nine people sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison on Wednesday over four separate sexual harassment cases. Seven defendants were sentenced to life for sexually assaulting women during public rallies in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in the first such heavy sentences since the government vowed to crack down on rampant sexual violence. Two defendants were sentenced to 20 years. All were charged with forcible indecent assault and robbery and were put under probation for five years. The charges stemmed from four different incidents of sexual assault this year and last year, including one during celebrations of the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in June. After the sentences were announced, minor clashes occurred between security forces and the defendants’ relatives. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic), 7/16/2014]

Judiciary responds to international criticism of Al Jazeera conviction
On Monday, the State Information Service, on behalf of the Ministry of Justice’s International Cooperation Department, defended the June 23 verdict that sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven to ten years. Twenty-one days after the verdict, the Egyptian judiciary issued their response to what their statement called “numerous complaints and inquiries from nongovernmental organizations and human rights activists all around the world.” The statement cites European cases as precedent for the guilty verdict, including cases from Austria, Ireland and Switzerland related to the need for security and the ability to fight terrorism, but neglects the fact that there was no evidence presented that linked the journalists to terrorism. The statement concludes, “It is apparent that the convicted three journalists of Al Jazeera English enjoyed all the guarantees embodied within the ambit of the right to fair trial. And their rights and freedoms were never violated or infringed upon at any time. Therefore, it is clear that all the aforementioned complaints were ill-founded.” [DNE, 7/16/2014]

494 Brotherhood supporters on trial in al-Fath mosque incident
Cairo Criminal Court will hear the first session of the trial of 494 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood for their role in acts of violence last August in the Ramses area of Cairo and nearby Al-Fath Mosque, state-owned news website Al-Ahram reported. Egypt’s General Prosecution is accusing the defendants of desecrating the mosque, causing delays to prayers, murder, using the mosque for terrorist purposes, crowding, thuggish acts, destroying public and private property, setting fire to property, assaulting securing forces, possession of automatic fire weapons, pellets, bullets, fireworks, blocking the road, causing delays to public transport and compromising public safety. [Mada Masr, 7/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Former Brotherhood member of parliament Farid Ismail given seven years in jail | Ahram Online
  • Morsi’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil released | Ahram Online
  • Man accused of launching anti-police Facebook page detained | Ahram Online
  • Three satellite channels referred to prosecution over deceptive ads | Egypt Independent
  • Attorney general refers 163 defendants to criminal court | Shorouk (Arabic)


Consultants say Egypt needs $120 billion inflow over 4 years
Western consultants helping Egypt compile an economic reform plan say it needs at least $60 billion of investment to reach average GDP growth of 5 percent by 2018 and another $60 billion to bolster its foreign reserves, senior officials said. The driving force behind the consulting project – had also sought advice on the economic reform plan from former PIMCO chief executive officer Mohamed El-Erian. [Reuters, 7/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s central bank expected to keep key interest rates on hold: Poll | Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic)
  • BP to invest $10 billion in Egypt’s gas fields over next 5 years | Ahram Online
  • EGPC to start negotiations over paying part of foreign petroleum companies’ dues | Egypt Independent
  • Fuel price raise to increase taxi fares by 3-10 percent – CAPMAS | Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
  • Minister of industry and trade: no increase in energy, water, land prices for a year | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Drivers grudgingly submit to fuel price hikes | Mada Masr
  • World bank formulates new Egypt strategy | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt tops list of countries that dislike United States
A new Pew Research Center Survey of 44 countries finds that Egypt is one of the top countries in which Anti-Americanism is particularly strong. In Egypt, only ten percent of the public favor the United States, which long backed the regime of Hosni Mubarak and failed to oppose the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government that succeeded him. The 10 percent figure marks a seventeen percentage point fall since 2009. Meanwhile, 85 percent of the Egyptian public view the United States as unfavorable. Jordan follows Egypt as the next country in the region with the least public favor for the United States. [Pew Research, 7/15/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Investigation: Egyptian students graduating illiterate | Egypt Independent
  • Ministry of education examining need for new teachers in schools | AMAY (Arabic)


Seven militants, soldier killed in Egypt’s Sinai
Seven Islamist militants were killed late on Tuesday in an army raid near the village of Sheikh Zuweid in Sinai, the Egyptian army said early on Wednesday, as it presses on with an extensive operation to root out a burgeoning insurgency in the region. The statement described the attack as “a continuation of the efforts of the armed forces in eliminating the roots of terrorism,” in the Sinai. Army spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said there were no civilian casualties. [Ahram Online, DNE, 7/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Defense Minister: Egypt starts to recover | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Interior minister stresses need to constantly upgrade security apparatus | SIS, Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Carjackers arrested in Suez | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Police seize mortar shell in al-Arish | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Smugglers arrested in al-Arish | Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Two killed in clash with police in Mounifeya | AMAY (Arabic)


Hamas formally rejects Egyptian ceasefire initiative
Hamas has officially told Egypt that it rejects an Egyptian-proposed Gaza ceasefire, a spokesman for the Islamist group said on Wednesday. The statement comes a day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asked Hamas to cooperate with the Egyptian initiative and after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced his “full backing” for the truce bid. The full text of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal can be found here. A Hamas official is, however, to hold talks in Cairo on Wednesday about Egyptian-led efforts to end the nine-day conflict between the Gaza-based Islamist movement and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday in a telephone call that has been kept secret until now, after Quartet special envoy Tony Blair urged the Egyptian leader to become more actively involved in promoting a cease-fire, diplomatic sources told Haaretz. Blair arrived in Cairo on Wednesday from Tel Aviv for a brief visit during which he is to meet Sisi. During his visit, Blair said that the international community supports Egypt’s initiative for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, Al-Monitor reports, according to eyewitnesses, that houses on the Egyptian side of the border adjacent to the Gaza Strip have been directly affected by the intense Israeli bombardment. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 7/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ethiopia agrees to holding tripartite meeting on Renaissance Dam | Egypt Independent
  • Libyan-Egyptian truck traffic to be halted | DNE
  • AU envoy to Libya arrives in Cairo | DNE, Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egyptian announces support for initiative to assist Libya | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Tourism minister meets Chinese Ambassador on tourism to Egypt | SIS
  • Shukry meets with delegation from France-Egypt Parliamentary Friendship Association | EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic)
  • Amr Moussa meets with European diplomats | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Sisi discusses with UN Envoy regional situation | SIS