Top News: Egyptian Court Issues Second Death Sentence for Sinai Militant Habara

A terrorism department at Egypt’s Criminal Court sentenced late Tuesday Sinai-based militant Adel Habara and eight others to death on charges related to the killing of seven soldiers in an attack in the Nile Delta in early 2014. Judicial sources said the charges also included association with a “terrorist” organization and weapons possession. Among the defendants, four were present including Habara, while five others were tried in absentia. On February 24, the court sent its preliminary death sentence against all the defendants in the case to the country’s Grand Mufti, the most senior Muslim cleric in the country, for a consultative review as required by Egyptian law, and the cleric approved the death sentence. Meanwhile, the defendants have the right to appeal at the Court of Cassation against the death sentence. Habara had already been sentenced to death in December for an attack in August 2013 near the border with Israel that killed twenty-five policemen.  [Ahram Online, Reuters, Cairo Post, 5/26/2015]


Presidency sets up email for citizens’ queries
The Egyptian president’s media office says that an email address will be created to receive letters from citizens so that he can answer them in monthly speeches. A statement Tuesday said that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is keen to stay in contact with Egyptians and have them contribute to decision-making. It said the email address to reach him would be at Sisi is the first Egyptian president to receive communications from citizens via email. [AP, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 5/26/2015]

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GUC students detained for four days pending investigations
Three students at the German University in Cairo were ordered to be detained for four days pending investigations, after being accused of assaulting the university’s president and security in events that ensued following the death of a student who was fatally crushed by university buses last March. GUC students had staged a sit-in after a student Yara Negm, was crushed between two student buses and bled to death before the university ambulance arrived at the scene. Ten students had originally been summoned by the prosecution, but only Hazem Abdel Khalek, student union head, Karim Naguib, deputy student head, and Alaa al-Attar had turned themselves in, according to Ahmed Bayea, student union member. Bayea told Mada Masr that Abdel Khalek wasn’t even at the scene when students confronted the president in his car and that Naguib was the one who instructed students to form a cordon around the car and told them not to touch it. According to the student, the university is demanding that the students issue an apology for them to drop the charges against them. [Mada Masr, 5/26/2015]

Alaa Abd El Fattah interrogated for ‘insulting the judiciary’
Leftist activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was questioned in prison on Sunday about a report filed in April 2014 by the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council, who accused him of “insulting the judiciary,” the Free Alaa Facebook page reported. The report was based on a collection of tweets and Facebook posts showcased by former judge and current head of the Zamalek Club Mortada Mansour on Lamees al-Hadidy’s talk show in April.  Head of the Cairo Appeals Prosecution Wael Gamal questioned Abd El Fattah at Mazra’ Prison facility, where he is currently serving a five-year sentence. [DNE, Mada Masr, 5/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Judge accused of bribery resigns | Dot Misr (Arabic)
  • Lawsuit on withdrawing license of Turkish schools in Egypt referred to SLA | Cairo Post
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  • Nine Morsi supporters sentenced to three years over protests | Egypt Independent
  • Port Said ‘prison clashes’ trial postponed to continue hearing witnesses | DNE
  • Abu Zaabal police trial postponed to June 10 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Fatma Naoot blasphemy trial postponed to July 29 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Sharqiya court sentences 102 Brotherhood members to three to fifteen years; acquits twenty nine | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt’s cabinet approves $8.7 billion deal with Siemens for power generation
Egypt’s cabinet approved on Tuesday a deal between German Siemens and the state-owned electricity holding company to establish three power stations with a capacity of 14,400 megawatts. The projects, which are worth €8 billion ($8.7 billion), include establishing and operating wind power stations with a power generating capacity of 2000 megawatts. The German company will also establish a factory to make the blades used in wind farms with a capacity to produce 300 blades for 100 wind turbines to reach 340 megawatts annually. [Ahram Online, 5/27/2015]

Also of Interest

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  • Minister of Trade says Egypt aims to double exports to Africa in three years | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Opening the black box of Egypt’s slush funds | Africa Confidential


FGM on the decline in Egypt shows 2014 Survey
The support and practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is declining in Egypt, according to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2014. The survey shows the total percentage of married females who have experienced FGM aged between 15 and 49 reaches 90 percent, but the percentage aged 15 to 17 is 61 percent, a decline of 13 percent compared with similar surveys conducted in 2008. Other indicators show a decline in women’s support for FGM since 2000. At the time, support stood at 75 percent, and now, according to the 2014 survey, it has dropped to 58 percent. Additionally, governorates like Damietta and Port Said will witness an expected decline in the number of FGM cases to 10 to 11 percent of girls in the age bracket of 0-19. A considerable decline has also been noticed in some governorates in Upper Egypt. [Ahram Online, 5/27/2015]

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Protesting maltreatment, CSF personnel block Fayoum road
Hundreds of Central Security personnel blocked the Fayoum-Beni Suef road late Tuesday and set fire to car tires to protest the abusive treatment they say they are receiving from their superiors. Fayoum security chief Younis al-Hager arrived at the scene to negotiate with the protesters who complained about their superiors’ intransigence in approving their vacations. The protests come one day after dozens of policemen and security personnel at Zagazig police station staged a protest demanding the reinstatement of their chief investigation officer who was moved to the Criminal Investigation Department. [Egypt Independent, 5/27/2015]

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Over 500 Palestinians enter Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border on Tuesday
Over 500 Palestinians were able to leave Egypt for Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened for the first time in months, state news agency MENA reported. A source at the crossing said that 564 Palestinians were permitted to pass through the crossing, the only gateway for Gazans to the blockaded strip. He added that the crossing will remain open through Thursday, operating in one direction only from Egypt to Gaza. Another source from the crossing said it was opened for exceptional reasons from Tuesday to Wednesday after Egyptian authorities approved the passage for stranded people and humanitarian aid. Both Egypt and Qatar had earlier agreed that Egypt will take charge of providing Gaza with building materials, which will enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Over 1,000 tons of building material entered the besieged strip through the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, MENA reported. The material will be used for rehabilitation projects in Gaza. However, director of the Hamas-controlled side of the crossing, Maher Abu Sabha, called on Egypt to fully open the crossing, saying 15,000 people are waiting to depart from Gaza, including 3,000 medical patients. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent , AP, Aswat Masriya, 5/27/2015]

Egypt demands extradition of Qaradawi from Qatar
Egypt has called for the extradition of Egyptian Islamist preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was sentenced to death by a criminal court May 16 over prison break charges committed in 2011, Assistant to the Minister of Justice Adel Fahmy said Tuesday. “The international cooperation bureau within the public prosecution prepared official letters for Qatari authorities to extradite Qardawi and other Muslim Brotherhood figures to execute penalties over charges of violence and inciting violence against citizens, police, and judiciary,” he said. Qaradawi, who was sentenced to death alongside former president Mohamed Morsi, has labeled the sentence “worthless.” The court will uphold or commute the sentence on June 2, after the Grand Mufti sends his unbinding opinion to the judge.  The sentence may be challenged before the Cassation Court after that date. [Cairo Post, 5/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt Prime Minister flies to Amman for cooperation committee talks | Ahram Online, SIS
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  • Cairo scrambles to restart Entebbe negotiations | Al-Monitor
  • Video: Memorandum of understanding signed with Libya tribes | Cairo Post
  • SIsi to meet with intellectuals, journalists during upcoming visit to Germany | EGYNews (Arabic)