Top News: Egyptian Anti-Corruption Activist Sentenced to Four Years in Bribery Case

A Giza misdemeanor court sentenced on Thursday prominent anti-corruption activist and former independent MP Hamdi al-Fakharany to four years in prison and an EGP 100,000 fine on charges of blackmail. The court found Fakharany guilty of blackmailing a businessman, saying he demanded EGP 3.5 million in return for dropping a corruption lawsuit against him. This is a first degree court ruling that can be appealed. [Ahram Online, 12/9/2015]


Businessmen occupy one fifth of Egypt’s House of Representatives
Reaping 116 seats in Egypt’s newly-elected House of Representatives, businessmen already have their legislative agenda set out: the investment law, tax law, and the law governing local municipalities, which they say have the most significant impact on Egypt’s ailing investment climate. Parliamentarian and Chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries Mohamed al-Sewedy, who ran with the For the Love of Egypt coalition, told Aswat Masriya he believes that amending the investment law is a priority to prepare the state to become more competitive and to attract foreign investment. Ayman Abul Ela, Secretary-General of the Free Egyptians said the party has an economic agenda, which includes amending laws regulating investment, taxes, and tenders. Mostaqbal Watan’s Sara Othman said the party is concerned with economic legislations which stimulate investment and protect the rights of the state. She added that the party will focus on adopting laws that encourage small and medium enterprises to create jobs for young people. Al-Wafd Party will work on tax reforms to guarantee social justice, according to its representative Mohamed Fouad. [Aswat Masriya, 12/8/2015]


Journalist accused of defaming minister sentenced to two years
The Giza Criminal Court sentenced a journalist at Sout Al-Oma newspaper to two years in prison and fined its editor-in-chief EGP 20,000 for defamation of Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zind. The Judges Club filed a complaint against journalist Mohamed Saad Khatab and Abdel Halim Qandil, accusing them of defaming the minister in an article that accused Zind, then head of the Judges Club, and first deputy of the club Abed Allah Fathy, of corruption. The article claimed that the pair had received bribes from companies that implement housing projects through the club. [DNE, 12/8/2015]


EGPC denies report it is negotiating to delay dollar repayments
The Egyptian General Petroleum Corp (EGPC) denied on Tuesday that it was negotiating with banks to delay dollar payments owed to them after failing to receive its full dollar needs from the central bank in November. An EGPC official on Tuesday said the company was in negotiations to postpone dollar installments owed to banks. “The central bank did not provide the EGPC’s full dollar needs in November and that forced the authority to spend from its own resources,” he said. The EGPC later released a statement denying that any such negotiations were taking place, adding that the company was not at risk of missing scheduled payments. “The EGPC is on track and on time with its payment of dues to others,” it said. However the statement made no mention of whether the central bank had fully supplied the company with its dollar needs in November. [Reuters, 12/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt increases crude imports from Kuwait | DNE, Cairo Post
  • BP enlarges its stake in major gas project in Egypt’s Nile Delta | Ahram Online
  • Egypt to build 1 million homes for poor to help ease shortage says minister | Reuters
  • Siemens to increase research, development investment to 4.8 billion euros | DNE
  • Ministries, CBE negotiate with foreign banks to postpone refunding installments | DNE
  • Bargain hunters help steady Saudi, Egypt stocks | Reuters
  • Greater Cairo residents reap more than half of wages nationwide | Aswat Masriya


EGP 50,000 payment for foreigners who marry Egyptian women 25 years their junior
Foreigners seeking to marry Egyptian women 25 years or more younger than them are now required to buy EGP 50,000 of investment certificates, the Justice Ministry decreed on Tuesday. According to Deputy Justice Minister Mamdouh Dabousha, this requirement has been in place for decades, with the amendment increasing the sum of the investment certificates, required to be in the bride’s name, from EGP 40,000 to EGP 50,000. Azza Kamel, a female rights advocate and the founder of Egypt’s Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT), told Ahram Online she believes the law aims to protect the rights of Egyptian women, along with addressing the issue of child marriage. “While I believe that this law will provide insurance [for Egyptian women], I still believe this is not enough to eliminate child marriage. There have to be some kind of guarantees,” Kamel said. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Mada Masr, 12/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Rights group slams Interior Ministry’s reaction to torture claims | Egypt Independent
  • Remanded prisoner dies at Giza police station | Cairo Post
  • Mortada Mansour directs his wrath at Egyptian president for first time | DNE
  • Alaa al-Aswany’s monthly seminar banned by security forces | DNE
  • Interior Ministry denies banning winter clothes in Tora Prison | DNE
  • Exempting domestic workers from labor law consolidates exploitation, violence says NCCM | AMAY


Military spokesperson reportedly urges police to treat people well to combat terrorism
Military Spokesperson Mohamed Samir held a meeting with central security forces on Wednesday, in which he warned them of the conspiracies against Egypt and asserted the best way to counter them is by treating people well and not allowing divisions to occur in society, local media reported. The Ministry of Defense announced Samir’s meeting with “the fighters from Central Security,” as part of an initiative by the defense and interior ministries to  “raise the combat efficiency of the fighters and to unify the concepts and strategies in the field of fighting terrorism.” Samir told the forces Egypt is facing “fourth generation warfare” that aims to destroy nations by propagating rumors and creating divisions. He asserted that the only way to combat this kind of war is for military and police to observe good manners, follow their consciences and “treat people as they would like to be treated.” [Mada Masr, 12/9/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Bomb threat at City Stars mall, building evacuated | DNE
  • Bomb explodes in Arish, no deaths reported | AMAY
  • Egyptian military threatens ISIS | Cairo Post


Israel says will not forgo $1.76 billion compensation in Egyptian gas dispute
Israel is unlikely to forgo the near $1.76 billion it was awarded in compensation for Egypt halting a natural gas supply contract in 2012, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday. “But I think that we will sit with the Egyptians, and there will be a dialogue, and we will think together how to move forward,” Steinitz said. Israel has agreed to send an envoy to Cairo to hold talks with Egypt. “I think we will find a solution because it is in both countries’ strategic interests,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in remarks at a meeting of a parliamentary commission. Cairo said on Sunday it would appeal against an order by an international arbitrator to pay compensate state-owned Israel Electric Corp (IEC) and would freeze talks on future gas imports from Israel’s new gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea until the dispute is resolved. [Reuters, 12/9/2015]

Sisi warns of Libya chaos, talks terrorism and economic ties with Greece’s Tsipras

During a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on the international community to intervene in stopping the flow of fighters, money, and weapons to Libya. Prior to the conference, the two discussed the roles their countries play in addressing the crisis, but stated the actions of one or two countries is not enough to solve the problem. Sisi is in Greece to discuss a number of issues, including economic and strategic cooperation, regional developments, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Additionally, the Egyptian-Greek Business Council met in Athens on Tuesday to discuss increased cooperation and joint-investment between the two countries. Greece seeks to pursue increased trade cooperation with Egypt following the discovery of a large natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea. [Ahram Online, SIS, 12/8/2015]

UK Defense Advisor briefs Egypt on anti-ISIS airstrikes
Senior British Defense Advisor Tom Beckett met on Tuesday with senior Egyptian military figures in Cairo to brief them on the UK parliament’s recent decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militant group in Syria, according to a statement from the UK embassy in Cairo. In a meeting with General Mohamed al-Shahat and General Mohamed al-Keshky, Beckett said,  “The UK strikes, conducted as part of international counter-ISIS coalition operations, are now targeting ISIS across Syria and Iraq and form part of a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and restore peace and stability to Syria and Iraq.” During the meeting, Beckett also “reaffirmed the strong military relationship between the UK and Egypt and welcomed the strong, continued partnership between the two countries in the fight against ISIS.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt, Japan assert collaboration to address climate change | DNE
  • Egypt calls on UN to boost anti-terror efforts | DNE
  • We’re truly concerned about US smear campaigns against Muslims says Al-Azhar | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egypt hosts General Assembly of the 25th African Civil Aviation Commission | Ahram Online
  • He should be punished: ElBaradei on Trump | Egypt Independent
  • March to commemorate Russian plane crash to be held Wednesday | MENA, AMAY
  • Tripoli court sentences 17 Egyptians to eight months in prison | AMAY
  • Uncertainty surrounds tenth round of Renaissance Dam negotiations | AMAY
  • Two Egyptian workers injured in mortar attack on industrial zone in Benghazi | MENA