Top News: Egyptian Courts Jail more than 160 Brotherhood Supporters

A pair of Egyptian courts on Sunday convicted 170 suspected supporters of toppled President Mohammed Morsi on charges related to violent attacks last year.
POLITICS

Egyptian Social Democratic party members join Sawiris’ party
The Free Egyptians Party (FEP) received thirty-one new members who signed registration forms on Sunday, leaving the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) for the former. The new FEP members include former parliamentarian Emad Gad, who said that he is happy that he and other ESDP figures joined the FEP. He added that he had “hoped that the two parties would merge, but that did not happen for various reasons.” The announcement and signing were made in a press conference, during which FEP Chairman Ahmed Saeed said that his party will do all it can to “harmonize” them within the party. He added, “What happened does not diminish or weaken ESDP’s position.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 5/18/2014]

Candidates continue their media offensive in lead up to elections
Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appeared in his third television interview Sunday evening on Dream and Al-Nahar channels. Sisi expressed his concern about those who say the elections are rigged for his benefit. He acknowledged the unstable economy and its effect on business. When asked if he is out of touch with the youth of the nation, he said that young Egyptians should vote for the candidate they prefer. He also defended his decision to salute deposed president Mohammed Morsi while serving as his defense minister saying it was out of respect for the office of the president. In an interview with Al-Hayat, Hamdeen Sabahi said he does not believe or trust in Sisi’s capacity to end corruption in Egypt. During an interview with Shorouk, Sabbahi stated that a return to Mubarak era policies is not an option and that the people would revolt if Egypt’s next leader followed in Mubarak’s steps. [Mada Masr, 5/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s intellectuals content after Sabbahi meeting | Ahram Online
  • Sabbahi is the better candidate’: Ehab El-Kharrat | Ahram Online
  • Sisi is the right man’ says Ayman Aboul-Ela | Ahram Online
  • Leading member says MB in Egypt will survive current crisis | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s PM speaks about Ethiopian dam, Morsi’s pardons in TV interview | Ahram Online
  • Technical committee recommends radical changes to Egypt’s parliamentary elections law | Ahram Online

COURTS

Egyptian courts jail more than 160 Brotherhood supporters
A pair of Egyptian courts on Sunday convicted 170 suspected supporters of toppled President Mohammed Morsi on charges related to violent attacks last year. The Kafr al-Sheikh court convicted 127 people of storming and torching a church, a police station, and a sports stadium to avenge the killing of hundreds of Islamists when security forces ended two sit-in protests in Cairo by Morsi supporters in August. They were sentenced to ten years in prison each. Five minors each received a one-year suspended sentence. The second court in Cairo sentenced thirty-seven people to fifteen years in prison for their part in an attempt to blow up a subway station in Cairo last year, in addition to charges of vandalism, illegal possession of explosives, arms and ammunition along with disrupting public and private transport, said a statement from the chief prosecutor’s office. In related news, a Cairo misdemeanor court acquitted 169 loyalists of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on Monday. The acquitted were accused of rioting and disturbing traffic. [Reuters, AP, DNE, 5/18/2015]

Sobhi Saleh and other Brotherhood leaders sentenced
An Egyptian court has backed the sentencing of five Muslim Brotherhood leaders to three years in prison with labor on Sunday over violent clashes in Sidi Gaber last year. Sobhi Saleh is among the five defendants who were sentenced. The court also reduced the sentence of five Brotherhood supporters to two years with labor and sentenced fifty-six others to one year. Sixty-six defendants had been sentenced over clashes in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber on August 30. They were charged with possessing weapons and murder, among other crimes. [Aswat Masriya, 5/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt prosecutor criticizes court over death sentences: state media | Reuters
  • Presidential decree increases president’s salary | Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online
  • Thirty-four members of ‘Judges for Egypt’ referred to disciplinary committee | Ahram Online
  • Cairo court rejects activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah court recusal request | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Morsi prison break trial resumes | DNE
  • Brotherhood ‘never committed violent acts’ says Badie | DNE

ECONOMY

Seventeen new wells to join Egypt’s natural gas grid
Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum plans to add seventeen new natural gas wells to its production grid to increase the daily production of gas by nearly one billion cubic feet. According to Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail, drilling the wells will start in September and is expected to cost $2.4 billion. Earlier this week, Ismail said that two other natural gas fields will start production in June and August to support the national gas grid. The ministry forecasts total natural gas production to increase 1.7 percent to reach 5.4 billion cubic feet per day in the coming fiscal year 2014/15 compared to the current fiscal year, while consumption is projected to increase 12.5 percent to amount to 5.57 billion cubic feet per day in the same period. [Ahram Online, 5/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s CIB says Actis sells remaining 6.5 pct stake | Ahram Online
  • Egypt stocks down amid first trading of Arabian Cement Co | Ahram Online

SOCIETY & MEDIA

Revolutionary groups launch anti-Sisi campaign
Revolutionary groups have launched a campaign urging Egyptians not to vote for former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in the upcoming presidential election. Against You will start its activities on Monday by distributing flyers and stickers in Cairo, it said via Facebook. On Tuesday, it will spread its activities, including graffiti painting, to other areas of the country. On Thursday, it will organize a human chain in solidarity with political detainees. Against You was founded by April 6 Youth Movement, Revolutionary Socialists, the Revolutionary Path Front and other groups. The movement held a press conference on Saturday stating that its main goal was to urge people not to vote for Sisi. [Ahram Online, DNE 5/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ministry of Endowment urges Egyptians to limit prayer to formal mosques | DNE
  • Clashes at Alexandria University, Ain Shams University | Ahram Online
  • Egypt youths mock presidential candidates via hashtags | Aswat Masriya
  • Sisi’s campaign begins distributing 300,000 energy-saving lamps | Aswat Masriya
  • Church postpones festival of Virgin Mary due to Egypt elections | Ahram Online
  • Intel Science fair representative refuses to return to Egypt | DNE, Mada Masr

SECURITY

Cairo bomb wounds four at pro-Sisi rally
A homemade explosive thrown from a motorcycle wounded at least four people at a pro-Sisi campaign rally in Ain Shams on Saturday as supporters of the former defense minister gathered to voice their support for his presidential campaign. According to a spokesman at the ministry of interior media center, a man on a motorcycle threw the explosive towards 150 people before escaping. Two policemen and two civilians suffered mild injuries due to the explosion that was caused by an improvised explosive device. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, DNE, Mada Masr, 5/18/2014]

Two policemen killed in Upper Egypt
Armed assailants shot and killed two undercover policemen in the Upper Egypt governorate of Minya Monday morning. The two policemen were returning home from their shift on a motorcycle when they were intercepted by assailants who shot at them, then fled the scene, the ministry of interior said in a statement. Security forces are trying to track down the perpetrators, the ministry said. In other news, a police officer was killed on Saturday in Egypt’s Sharqiya governorate after unknown assailants opened fire at him. Officer Yasser Abdel-Aziz was heading home after finishing his shift when the assailants shot him. A passerby was injured in the crossfire and transferred to hospital. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, DNE, 5/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Protesters torch police car in Egypt’s Alexandria | Ahram Online
  • Judges warn interior minister over kidnap failures | Ahram Online
  • Security alert heightened on border with Libya | Mada Masr

INTERNATIONAL

EU to monitor Egypt’s presidential elections
The European Union’s election observation mission (EOM) is able to continue to observe the upcoming presidential elections, said Chief Observer Mario David Monday morning. This comes after the EOM faced some bureaucratic obstacles when it was not granted permission to import essential equipment needed for its staff. Egyptian officials released all of the equipment Sunday afternoon. David said that he does not believe that there was an intention from Egyptian authorities to block the mission’s work, adding that it was a matter of paperwork. The EOM had earlier announced that it would not monitor elections when the equipment was seized by Egyptian customs agents. [Ahram Online, DNE, 5/19/2014]

Expat vote in Egypt’s presidential elections to end today
Monday is the last day for Egyptians living abroad to vote in Egypt’s presidential elections. The elections commission extended the duration of the expatriates’ vote on Saturday due to what it described as a high turnout. The foreign ministry had announced that over 265,000 Egyptians had voted abroad as of late Sunday. [Aswat Masriya, 5/19/2014]

Carter Center expresses concern about Egypt’s political transition
The Carter Center released a set of observations and analyses regarding the presidential elections, expressing concern at the political transition in the country and suggesting recommendations, and steps to be taken by the new president. Former United States President Jimmy Carter was quoted as saying, “I am gravely concerned that Egypt’s democratic transition has faltered,” in a report released by the center on Friday. With the elections around the corner, the center said that the “period leading up to the presidential election, the legal framework and the actions of the government have severely limited political freedoms, marginalized opposition groups, and prohibited free and open political participation.” [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, DNE, 5/17/2014]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt willing to negotiate over Ethiopia’s dam | Ahram Online
  • Egypt re-opens Rafah border for three days | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian truck drivers released in Libya | Ahram Online
  • Mansour meets Philippine FM | SIS
  • Egypt discusses Nile with US, EU diplomats | DNE
  • Kuwait to deport fifteen Egyptians for Sisi rally says government source | Aswat Masriya
  • Fahmy meets with Syrian opposition coalition | DNE
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