Top News: Egypt to Buy Border Surveillance System from Pentagon for $100 Million

Egyptian officials want to buy high-tech American border surveillance equipment, the Pentagon said Wednesday, citing Cairo’s desire to better monitor its borders with Libya specifically and other countries, as well. The State Department has entered an agreement with Cairo to sell the equipment for an estimated $100 million, the Defense Department said in a statement. The deal, which must be approved by Congress, calls for the United States to supply mobile surveillance sensor towers, communications equipment and defense contractors who will travel to train Egyptians on how to use the equipment. “This mobile surveillance sensor security system will provide Egypt with advanced capabilities intended to bolster its border surveillance capabilities along its border with Libya and elsewhere,” the Pentagon statement said. “This procurement is intended for Egyptian Border Guard Forces, which currently lack any remote detection capability along unpatrolled areas of Egypt’s borders. This system would provide an early warning capability to allow for faster response times to mitigate threats to the border guards and the civilian population.” [Washington PostCairo Post, 7/8/2015] 


Opposition figure Ayman Nour to leave Beirut after Egypt refuses to renew passport
Egyptian opposition figure Ayman Nour has announced that he is leaving Beirut after two years, following Egypt’s refusal to renew his passport. “I have decided to leave for Turkey then [to] Europe,” Nour said via Twitter on Tuesday. Nour had filed a case at the State Council’s administrative court against the Egyptian ambassadors in Turkey and Lebanon, as well as the Interior Minister and the Prime Minister, calling on them to cancel the decision not to renew his passport, according to Al-Ahram. Nour, who founded the Ghad al-Thawra party, said the authorities told him they did not renew his passport because he was wanted for security reasons in Egypt. The case was postponed on July 1 to an August 25 hearing. [Ahram Online, 7/9/2015]  

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  • Facing new militant threat, Sisi crackdown risks more instability in Egypt | Reuters

Egypt bans travel for leftist activist Khaled al-Sayed
Airport security arrested a member of the defunct Revolutionary Youth Coalition as he attempted to fly out of the country early Thursday, accusing him of complicity in violence, airport security sources said. The detained activist was travelling to Qatar to visit his wife who works there. According to the invitation document issued by the Qatari government, Sayed was supposed to spend one month in the Gulf country. Egypt airport authorities have barred the leftist activist from travelling to Qatar, with security officials saying he is on a travel ban list. Airport security informed Sayed’s lawyer that the activist will be detained until he is interrogated by the National Security Agency, a Freedom for the Brave campaign member Khaled Abdel Hamid told Mada Masr. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 7/9/2015]

Female judge appointed aide to Court of Cassation head, for first time

The Cairo Center for Development praised Wednesday the appointment of the first female judge as an aide to Court of Cassation head saying, “This decision is a significant step towards Justice and principles of equal opportunity.” Earlier this month, the Supreme Judiciary Council appointed three aides for the Court of Cassation, including woman Judge Sally al-Seeidi. Seeidi is the first woman to take this post since the establishment of the court in 1931. [Cairo Post, 7/9/2015]

Editor-in-chief of Egyptian private newspaper Youm7 released on 10,000EGP bail
A Cairo court ordered the release of editor-in-chief of private newspaper Youm7 Khaled Salah and staff writer Mohamed Roshdy on 10,000 Egyptian pounds bail each pending an inquiry in charges they insulted former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. Shafiq accused Salah and Roshdy of libel and defamation in relation to an article the paper published in April 2015 that claimed that Mubarak’s last prime minister, who has been residing in the UAE since 2013, was scared of returning to Egypt and described him as a “failed student.” In a separate case in June, the interior ministry filed a complaint against Salah and editor of Youm7 El-Sayed Falah for publishing false news, inciting fear and causing threats to public security. Both editors were released on 10,000 Egyptian pounds bail each. [Ahram Online, 7/9/2015]  

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  • Oncologist reports missing national institute’s patients records to prosecution | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt confounds wheat thieves with hi-tech US storage | Egypt Independent
  • Driver jailed for six months on bail for running over German University student | Aswat Masriya

Egypt’s Banque Misr to raise $500 million via bond sale
Banque Misr, Egypt’s second-largest state bank, plans to raise $500 million via a dollar-denominated bond on international markets within three months, three banking sources said Thursday. Two of the sources said the bank was currently negotiating with international institutions to promote the bond sale. The Egyptian government paved the way for the country’s banks to tap financial markets for cash when it returned to the international debt market last month after a five-year hiatus. Banque Misr has held informal talks with potential arrangers for the bond, a third source said, adding that the bond will be a five-year deal and will follow an expected syndicated loan by Banque Misr. [Reuters, 7/9/2015]

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  • Egypt’s urban consumer inflation drops to 11.4 percent in June: CAPMAS | Reuters
  • Egyptian pound unchanged on official market – state agency | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt buys 180,000 tonnes of Russian and Ukrainian wheat – state agency | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s urban expansion depletes Nile farmland | Cairo Post
  • Black market crackdown, dollar shortage squeezes business in Egypt | Bloomberg

Press Syndicate to send amendments to draft anti-terror law to cabinet
Egypt’s press syndicate agreed to send amendments of the draft anti-terrorism law to the cabinet, after a meeting on Wednesday between the head of the syndicate and the premier. When the draft law was approved, “no one had the intention to restrict freedom of the press and the media,” Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab told the head of the press syndicate, Yehia Qallash, state news agency MENA reported. The meeting was attended by the chief editors of several newspapers, who requested that Article 33 of the proposed law is removed so as to not “equate journalists with people accused of terrorism.” The controversial proposed law has recently come under much criticism, most recently by seventeen local civil society organizations in a joint statement, as well as by the semi-governmental National Council for Human Rights. The NGOs expressed concern over what they described as an “overly vague, definition of terrorist acts,” as well the establishment through this law of an “exceptional judicial system that undermines guarantees for a fair trial,” among other things. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, 7/8/2015]

Over 1,500 documented violations against students in 2014/15 says AFTE
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) published Tuesday its annual report on university students for the academic year 2014/15. The report is divided into two sections, with the first discussing violations of students’ rights and freedoms and the second focusing on violations of academic freedoms. “The security crackdown has intensified against students in an attempt to stifle the public space inside universities and repress any opposition student movement, whether Students Against the Coup (SAC) or other more limited movements,” the report stated. A total of 1,552 violations were documented against 761 students who were arrested during the last academic year, most belonging to SAC. The administrative security, along with the private security firm, Falcon, arrested forty students in different universities and then handed them to the police, while security forces arrested 721 students. Students were mostly arrested from their homes, followed by on-campus arrests. Three students were killed inside university campuses during the 2014/15 academic year, which is 82.3 percent less than the past year, during which seventeen students were killed. [DNE, 7/8/2015]

Police officer shot dead in Egypt’s Beni Suef; Twenty injured in Sinai roadside bomb attack
A police officer in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Beni Suef was shot dead by unidentified assailants early Thursday, the Interior Ministry said. A security source said the assailants killed policeman, Mohamed Seroor, on his way home and set his vehicle on fire. He was transferred to hospital and entered the operation room but died prior treatment, Alaa Ezzat, Undersecretary in the Health Ministry in Beni Suef said. Additionally, security officials say up to twenty policemen were injured when their bus and armored personnel carrier were hit by a roadside bomb in the Sinai Peninsula. Those injured included four conscripts, a security source told MENA. The officials say the bus carried policemen in civilian clothes as they left the town of al-Arish at the start of their leave. Residents said they heard a blast and ambulance vehicles were seen rushing to the place, Youm7 reported. The district was closed by security forces, and the injured were transferred to hospital. Most of the injured policemen were lightly wounded, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya,AFP, AP, Cairo Post, 7/9/2015]

Muslim Brotherhood supporter reportedly dies in prison due to medical neglect
A Muslim Brotherhood supporter died in Wadi al-Natron prison purportedly due to medical neglect after almost two years of pre-trial detention. The body of Essam Hamed was found in a Cairo morgue Monday, although the actual date of his death has not been confirmed. According to his family, Hamed passed away due to medical neglect while in custody. Rights lawyer Ahmed Mefreh said “Whether the death was inflicted by medical neglect or torture is yet to be identified.” The fifty-year-old was arrested during the violent dispersal of pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in August 2013 and has since been detained pending investigations. Last month, the General Prosecution referred him, along with 378 defendants, to the criminal court on charges related to the dispersal of the Nahda sit-in. The charges included murder, demonstrating, resisting police assigned to disperse the demonstration, and rioting. [DNE, 7/9/2015]

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