Top News: Egyptian Court Sentences Ousted Leader Mubarak to Three Years in Jail

A Cairo court on Wednesday convicted ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of embezzlement, sentencing him to three years in prison.

Sabbahi brushes off poor showing in expat vote
Hamdeen Sabbahi has said he does not fear ballot rigging in the upcoming poll despite the state’s “obvious bias” towards his rival. Sabbahi said that he was confident about his chances of winning, stressing that the result was not a foregone conclusion. He also rejected rumors that he is angling for a position within Egypt’s next government saying, “I’ll be an opponent if Sisi wins and will not accept an executive position.” Sabbahi’s campaign also issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing violence directed at his supporters. According to the statement, eleven of its campaign members were attacked by Sisi’s campaign in the town of Faqous in Sharqiya governorate. Some of the injured campaigners, who filed a report of the assault, were allegedly attacked with bladed weapons. In east Cairo’s Alf Maskan district, alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood also attacked members of the Constitution Party that is backing Sabbahi in the poll. The campaign also accused security forces of attacking and chasing down a number of doctors while they were campaigning for Sabbahi in front of Gamal Abdel-Nasser Hospital in Cairo. Sabbahi has also urged young activists not to boycott the upcoming poll. [Ahram Online, 5/21/2014]

New parliament law reserves twenty-four seats for women and Christians
The committee tasked with amending the Political Participation Law and the Parliamentary Elections Law finalized the draft of the latter legislation on Wednesday. Included in the latest draft of the law is a provision that 480 of the 600 seats will be filled through individual elections, 120 will be filled through party lists, and the president will be allowed to appoint no more than 5 percent (30 seats). It is unclear whether this will be in addition to the 600 elected members of the parliament. The draft law also includes a clause reserving twenty-four seats for women and Christian representatives in the parliament. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), DNE, 5/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • State might collapse if Sisi doesn’t become president: Nour Party head | Ahram Online
  • Official vote count of Egypt’s expats to be announced Wednesday | Ahram Online
  • Pre-registration is obstacle to voting: EOHR | DNE
  • Mahlab: The government is conducting total economic reform at this stage | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Sisi condemned for withholding his platform | DNE
  • Nuclear energy platform will see immediate start: Sisi | DNE
  • Sisi seeks to develop fishing industry, increase rate of aquaculture | DNE


Egyptian court sentences ousted leader Mubarak to three years jail
A Cairo court on Wednesday convicted ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of embezzlement, sentencing him to three years in prison. The graft case against the 86-year-old Mubarak is one of two against the former president. He is also being retried over the killings of hundreds of protesters during the uprising. Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Alaa, were also convicted Wednesday of graft and sentenced to four years in prison each in the same case. The three Mubaraks were convicted of charges that they embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of state funds over a decade toward the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. The funds were meant for renovating and maintaining presidential palaces but were instead spent on upgrading the family’s private residences. Mubarak and his two sons showed no emotion as the verdict was read. The ousted president waved to supporters present at the courtroom before the verdict was announced. A judicial source said the decision to return Mubarak to a military hospital following the verdict was a legal violation. [Reuters, Ahram Online, DNE, AP 5/21/2014]

Egypt court jails 155 Brotherhood supporters
An Egyptian court sentenced 155 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to jail terms on Wednesday and gave fifty-four of them life sentences, judicial sources said, in a case related to violence in the Nile Delta province of Mansoura last August after the army’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Other defendants were sentenced to between three to 10 years in jail. The charges included instigating violence, chaos, and membership in a banned group. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators outside the courthouse who were chanting against the verdict. [Aswat Masriya, 5/21/2014]

Court sentences twenty-four Mansoura students
A Mansoura court sentenced twenty-four university students to between two and five years in jail. They were found guilty of protesting illegally, being members of a banned organization, destroying public property and assaulting police personnel. Security forces arrested the students, who were protesting in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, during clashes at Mansoura University on November 12, 2013. The verdict included sentences against Abrar al-Anany, Menatullah al-Belehy and Yousra al-Khatib who have been dubbed the ‘Mansoura girls’ who were sentenced to between two and three years in prison. Human Rights Monitor (HRM), a London-based non-governmental organization (NGO), submitted a complaint Tuesday to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the immediate release of three women detained from Mansoura University last November. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 5/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • ‘Presidential Palace’ trial delayed until Thursday | DNE
  • Thirteen from the Muslim Brotherhood arrested for planning electoral fraud in Bahira | Shorouk (Arabic)


Recession and high prices limit traders’ preparations for Ramadan
The seasonal boost in food sales during Ramadan will not be enough to outweigh the political crisis driving Egypt’s current recession, according to Jalal Imran, Vice President of the Food Division of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce. “Market rates are stable for sugar, oils, and flour, but this is not the case for dairy products whose price will increase by 5 percent,” He said. Imran attributed the stabilization of prices during the coming Ramadan season to the presence of large quantities of food stored by merchants who cannot unload them due to the current recession. [DNE, 5/20/2014]

Egyptian business leaders push Sisi for energy subsidy cuts
Several leading business figures, including in the energy sector and in energy-intensive manufacturing industries, have expressed hope that Sisi, if elected, will rein in subsidies on fuel and electricity. Weakening currency, massive unemployment and a widening budget deficit have resulted in an unsustainable economy that poses a greater risk to stability than the upheaval of cutting subsidies. [Reuters, 5/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Supply minister: Egypt receives 2.75 million tons of local wheat | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • 5.14 percent year on year decline in construction spending, says CAPMAS | DNE
  • Porsche invests €450,000 in Egypt | DNE


University clashes leave student dead
One student was killed and another was injured during clashes with the security forces inside Cairo University on Tuesday, reported the state news agency MENA. Islam Mohamed, engineering student, died after being shot with rubber bullets in his chest and stomach. Clashes erupted when students who “support the Muslim Brotherhood” lit fireworks and threw them at the security forces. Students in Assiut, Alexandria, and Cairo staged more demonstrations on Wednesday in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Alexandria, clashes erupted between students supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other student movements outside university fences after pro-Brotherhood students tried to launch a rally denouncing the detention of their colleague. Security forces fired teargas on the students in an effort to disperse the rally. In Assiut students set tires on fire blocking the main gates to the Al-Azhar branch there. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, Mada Masr]

Egyptians make plea on behalf of relatives facing death sentences
Relatives of Egyptians sentenced to death in recent mass trials are urging former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, days before an election he is expected to win, to save their loved ones as proof of his commitment to justice. In April, a judge in the southern governorate of Minya condemned to death the leader of Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters in connection with the killing of a policeman after the briefest of trials. [Reuters, 5/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Groups condemn Alexandrian activist’s imprisonment | DNE
  • Council of Churches discusses ways to tackle atheism in Egypt | Mada Masr
  • Al Jazeera warns life of its journalist jailed in Egypt is at risk | Reuters


Six “extremists” killed in airstrike in Sinai
Six “extremists” were killed in an airstrike in North Sinai on Tuesday, security sources told Aswat Masriya. “The army targeted a hiding place of Jihadists with missiles, which left six of them killed and fourteen injured,” the sources added. [Aswat Masriya, 5/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sobhi reviews armed forces training to secure elections | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt distances itself from violence in Libya
Egypt condemned on Monday “Libyan and foreign attempts” to involve it in the latest violence taking over the North African neighbor, which has left dozens killed. In a statement released by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ministry stressed that the Egyptian government and people are looking forward to an end to the “ongoing rift and the bloodshed” in Libya. Egypt’s foreign ministry asserted the unity of Libya and stressed its rejection of any foreign intervention in the “brotherly” country, believed to be on the brink of civil war following Friday’s violence. [DNE, 5/20/2014]

Mahleb arrives in the Emirates, discusses ties
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb discussed the “historical” ties that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share with top Emirati officials, after arriving in Dubai Tuesday. In a meeting with Emirati Prime Minister and Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the two discussed political, economic and developmental matters related to the current Arab situation. They discussed ways to utilize Arabic potential and resources to serve the Arab nation. The counterparts also discussed ways to strengthen and develop bilateral ties, a statement issued by the Egyptian cabinet said. [DNE, 5/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian teenage scientist plans to seek asylum in United States | Reuters, Ahram Online
  • Egypt to enhance strategic relations with China | DNE