Top News: Egyptian Court Orders Retrial of Al Jazeera Journalists

Egypt’s highest court has ordered a retrial of three jailed journalists working for Al Jazeera television, citing procedural flaws in last year’s trial, defense lawyers said on Thursday.


New governor reshuffle in January, says Sisi
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that a reshuffle of city governors is expected in January, adding that the performance of the government is good. Sisi added, however, that “we need more effort” and that he does not feel satisfied with the performance of ministers. He added that a ministerial reshuffle is also expected to take place to satisfy “popular interest.” Commenting on the security situation, Sisi said that a secret operation is currently taking place, following new techniques in fighting terrorism. When asked about the status of imprisoned youth, Sisi ordered a committee from the “media youth” to monitor the prisons. The ministry of interior was also ordered to do a full scale revision on the arrested youth, and whoever will be found innocent will freed, he said. [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/29/2014]

Also of Interest
Counter terrorism bill to be issued soon says Egypt’s minister of justice | Ahram Online
Q&A: Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary poll | Ahram Online
Nour Party cannot fund candidates in parliamentary poll Ahram Online
Al-Adly’s lawyer to run for parliament in upcoming elections | DNE
Electoral Commission issues decree regulating NGOs monitoring of elections | DNE


Egyptian court orders retrial of Al Jazeera journalists
Egypt’s highest court has ordered a retrial of three jailed journalists working for Al Jazeera television, citing procedural flaws in last year’s trial, defense lawyers said on Thursday. The three were not granted bail, however, meaning that they will remain behind the bars, after one year in detention. Relatives’ hopes the retrial decision would include an immediate release on bail for the men were disappointed, but their lawyers can apply for bail at the first retrial hearing. Defense lawyer Mostafa Nagi said the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest appeal court, is not entitled to order the release of defendants and thus their remaining behind the bars was expected. Following the order, two of the journalists, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Australian Peter Greste, applied to be deported under a new law, which allows for foreign convicts or suspects to be transferred to their country to serve their sentences or to be tried there. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has called on Egyptian authorities to speed up the retrial. [Reuters, Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 1/2/2015]

Ramses bath house trial verdict postponed to January 12
The Azbakeya Criminal Court postponed Monday  its verdict in the trial of twenty-six defendants in the “Ramses bath house” case until January 12, state media reported. On Sunday, the defense questioned the arrest procedures the police undertook to arrest the defendants. They accused security forces of permitting a camera crew from a privately owned TV channel to film the arrests. Four of the defendants, including the owner of the bathhouse, are charged with “running a place that organizes paid sexual orgies”, while the other twenty-one are facing charges of debauchery. [DNE, Mada Masr, 1/5/2015]

Egypt court reduces jail sentence against twenty-three activists over protesting
An Egyptian appeal court on Sunday reduced the sentences of twenty-three pro-democracy activists to two years in jail for violating a law banning protests without a permit and assaulting security forces, a judicial source has said. The defendants, who include activist Sanaa Seif, sister of prominent activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah and rights lawyer Yara Sallam, were originally sentenced to three years last October over their role in a demonstration on June 21 against the widely criticized protest law. The court also canceled a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds($1,400) levied against each of the defendants and reduced the period of police surveillance following their release to two years from three. [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, DNE, 12/28/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt court reduces sentences in ‘gay wedding’ video to one year | Ahram Online, AP, DNE
‘Operations Room’ detainee sentenced to three years imprisonment | DNE
Interpol to pursue Islamist leader Assem Abdel-Maged: Official | Ahram Online
Cairo court jails four Ultras, acquits six for assault on Zamalek president | Ahram Online
Business tycoon Salem requests government unfreeze assets: Source | Ahram Online
Egyptian journalist, four others acquitted on charges of violating protest law | Ahram Online
Kafr al-Sheikh court acquits seventy Pro-Morsi supporters | Ahram Online
Fifteen Zagazig students referred to military court | Ahram Online
Seven Mansoura University students referred to military trial | DNE
Egypt prosecutor orders release of over a hundred students, minors | Ahram Online
Brotherhood’s Beltagy gets six years for contempt of court | Ahram Online, DNE
NGO to submit 200 names for presidential pardon request in protest cases | DNE
Lawsuit targets army officials claiming HIV, Hepatitis C cure | DNE
400 detainees referred to ‘terrorism’ court circuit | DNE
Leaks allege government intervention in judicial proceedings | DNE
Writer Fatma Naoot faces ‘contempt of religion’ trial | DNE
Court postpones verdict in graft case against Mubarak-era officials | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s current account hits deficit of $1.4 billion in first quarter  
Egypt’s current account recorded a $1.4 billion deficit from July to September, in contrast to a $610 million surplus in the same period last year when Gulf states provided billions of dollars in aid. According to a statement by the Egyptian central bank, the deficit was driven by a wider trade gap and a contraction in net transfers which was offset by a rise in foreign direct investment due to a jump in net inflows to the oil sector to $948.1 million from $377.6 million. [Reuters, Zawya, 12/30/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt: Key economic decrees in 2014 | Daily News Egypt
Egypt proves best destination for stock market investors | Financial Times
Egypt main index starts 2015 in the green | Ahram Online
Egypt’s budget deficit hits EGP 107.9 billion in five months | Ahram Online
Egypt repays $2.1 billion debt to foreign energy companies: oil minister | Ahram Online
Egyptian pound steady in official market, stronger on black market | Reuters


Egypt’s pro-Morsi coalition calls for rally on January 2011 anniversary
Egypt’s largest coalition supporting ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) has called on its supporters to rally on the fourth anniversary of the January 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. “We demand the Egyptian people to be ready to continue their uprising that started in 2011, calling for the rights of bread, freedom and dignity,” a statement by the coalition late Wednesday read.  Wednesday’s statement highlighted that NASL is preparing for a campaign under the name “Egypt speaks revolution” in order to prepare a 25 January 2015 “uprising.” [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 1/1/2015]

Also of Interest
Two arrested for inciting violence via Facebook says interior ministry | DNE
Egypt cautions foreign journalists against publishing “inaccurate news” | Aswat Masriya
Amal Clooney denies receiving arrest threats from Egypt | Ahram Online
Two dead as police disperse pro-Brotherhood Friday protests in Cairo | Ahram Online, DNE
Brotherhood assets’ committee confiscates assets of 4 not affiliated with the group | Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online
Egypt indefinitely cancels Abu Hasira Jewish Festival | Aswat Masriya


Rafah-Gaza buffer zone expands; more Sinai residents to be evacuated
Egypt will begin work on phase two of the buffer zone on the Rafah-Gaza border next week, state news agency MENA reported. North Sinai governor Abdel-Fattah Harhour said in a meeting with locals that eviction operations for the additional 500 meters to be added to the buffer zone will take place next week. 1,200 houses are expected to be evacuated and demolished. Harhour asked residents to report to the local council to file for compensation. The government has so far disbursed EGP 242 million as compensation for the families that had to evacuate their homes to make way for the buffer zone. According to Harhour, the government allocated EGP 500 million as compensation for families in the first phase alone. [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/3/2014]

Also of Interest
Three policemen injured, civilian killed in checkpoint attack in Egypt’s capital | Ahram Online
Sixteen Brotherhood members arrested in Giza says interior ministry | Ahram Online
Egyptian police arrest student for allegedly contacting IS | Ahram Online
Two Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militants killed in gunfight near Cairo | Ahram Online,, DNE
Bomb wounds four policemen in Egypt’s Sinai | Reuters
Over 100 deaths by abuse in Egyptian prisons in 2014: Report | DNE, Mada Masr


At least twenty Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya; Egypt issues warning to its citizens
Masked gunmen in Sirte, Libya kidnapped thirteen Coptic Christians over the weekend after seven others were abducted days earlier, said a witness and a priest, in a new wave of assaults against Egypt’s Christians working in Libya. Early reports on Monday indicate that the thirteen have been released. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging Egyptians in the city to stay indoors until the government can facilitate a safe return home. The ministry assured it is working with its Libyan contacts to determine the whereabouts of those abducted, but efforts are hampered as “many of the regions are out of state control.” Meanwhile, an Egyptian Coptic Christian teenager abducted in Libya by armed men who killed her parents was found dead in late December. [AP, 1/4/2015]

Also of Interest
Sisi in Kuwait to talk investment | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Egypt’s Sisi to visit Ethiopia, Kuwait in January | Ahram Online
Gaza ministry says Palestinian minor killed by Egypt border guards | Ahram Online, Reuters, DNE, Mada Masr
Egypt-Morocco media war heats up with anti-Sisi broadcast | Mada Masr