Top News: Egyptian Journalist Detained over Charges of ‘Belonging to Illegal Group’

A journalist with state-owned newspaper Akhbar al-Youm has been detained at Tora prison over charges of “belonging to an illegal group,” according to the head of Journalists’ Syndicate Yahia al-Qalash. Qalash was informed Monday by the Ministry of Interior of the detention of journalist Mohamed Saber al-Batawy after the Syndicate filed a complaint against the police about the journalist’s disappearance. On Wednesday, Batawy’s family said that a force from Homeland Security stormed his house in Toukh city, Qalyubia, and that he was held incommunicado. [Cairo PostDNEEgypt Independent, 6/23/2015]


Health Ministry denies Doctors’ Syndicate claims of ban on photos showing failure in hospitals
The Doctors’ Syndicate has called out the Health Ministry over an administrative decision that reportedly bans doctors from publishing photos showing the rundown state of Egyptian hospitals on Facebook.  Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, however, has denied the issuance of this decision. According to the syndicate, doctors and staff working at state-run hospitals have also been instructed to sign an agreement that they will not share any information about the state of the hospitals with the media. In a statement on Sunday, the syndicate said the ministry is used to entrenching policies of failure instead of searching for solutions to immediately fix the deteriorating conditions. It added that the minister found a solution by banning the publishing of such photos. The syndicate has also continued to call for the Health Minister’s resignation. [Egypt Independent, 6/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Software engineer hacks presidency’s email | Egypt Independent
  • Absence of parliament threatens transparency of state budget: Report | DNE


Court to rule on annulling terrorist entities law on August 3
The First Circuit of the Administrative Court in Cairo decided on Tuesday to postpone the verdict in a lawsuit calling for the annulment of the Terrorist Entities Law until August 3. The decision was issued by the presiding Judge, Yehia Dakrury. The lawsuit was filed by Yasser Hussein Abdel Moneim, in which he called for an expedited decision to stop the implementation of the law on the basis of its unconstitutionality. The Terrorist Entities Law was issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in February giving authorities more sweeping powers to ban groups on charges ranging from harming national unity to disrupting public order. [EGYNews (Arabic), 6/23/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Lawsuit calling for raising retirement age of officers to 65 postponed to July 28 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Lawsuit to prevent Hamas members from entering Egypt postponed to August 2 | EGYNews (Arabic)


National Bank of Egypt picks banks for potential benchmark bond
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the oldest commercial lender in the country, has chosen five banks to arrange fixed income meetings starting on Wednesday for a potential benchmark US dollar-denominated bond issue (benchmark size is usually taken to mean at least $500 million). NBE, which expects to be rated B-/B by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, chose Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and Standard Chartered Bank as joint lead arrangers for the meetings. The meetings will be held in the Middle East and Europe and the bond may be issued in 2015, depending on market conditions. [Reuters, 6/23/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt to announce free zones at Investment Conference in September | DNE
  • Protocol signed for nationwide application of project turning used cooking oil into diesel oil | Egypt Independent
  • Bisco Misr to voluntarily delist from Egypt’s stock exchange | Aswat Masriya
  • Egyptian pound steady at official auction, slightly weaker on black market | Reuters


Egypt’s endowments ministry to remove ‘extremist books’ from mosques
Egypt’s Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa on Monday issued orders to remove any books, cassettes or CDs that incite violence and radicalism from mosque libraries around the country. Mosques must provide a list of their library’s contents for inspection, in order for the ministry to ensure it complies with its list of approved books, said Gomaa. No new books can be included without the approval of the ministry. Meanwhile, the Ministry denied reports that the decision included directives to burn books written by Muslim Brotherhood figures. The statement previous remarks made by its religious affairs official, Mohamed Abdel Razeq, who had told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the ministry had ordered to “burn” the books authored by Muslim Brotherhood figures and other texts not included in its list of authorized literature. [Ahram Online, 6/22/2015]

Egyptian human rights delegation visits new prison

A delegation of Egyptian human rights workers visited the newly established May 15 prison on Sunday saying it guarantees the “minimum levels of decent living.” The May 15 establishment is intended to be the central prison for Cairo Security Directorate made only for housing those in preventative detention pending investigations. The prison’s capacity can hold up to 4,000 people and currently 3,020 people are detained there. The delegation included Hafez Abu Saeda, head of Cairo-based Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), and Alaa Shalaby, Dalia Ziada, Hazem Mounir, and Mahmoud Badawi. In its statement, the delegation said the May 15 prison “is designed in a modern style to ensure a minimum level of decent living and health care.” It also inspected the kitchen which it said was designed to provide “healthy food for prisoners.” It also said the prison included an “administrative section and rooms for advice, as well as prosecutors and lawyers” to renew detentions and facilitate paperwork. Meanwhile, a pregnant woman was allegedly assaulted at Damanhour Police Station, resulting in her miscarriage on the same day as the visit. Suzan Salah, a four-month-pregnant woman, went to the police station on Sunday to file a report of theft, when policemen, refusing to file the report, assaulted her, according to her sister. [Ahram Online, 6/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Government takes over 104 Muslim Brotherhood schools | Cairo Post
  • Security forces disperse Muslim Brotherhood protest in 6th of October City | Egypt Independent
  • Cotton company workers protest being forced to take leave | Egypt Independent
  • EIPR reviews strategy to combat violence against women | DNE
  • Further flash protests ahead of June 30 anniversary | DNE


Egypt army digs trench along Gaza border to prevent smuggling
The Egyptian army is digging a trench in northern Sinai along the border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling, security sources said on Monday, as the government steps up activities to prevent militant attacks that often target security forces. Egypt had already doubled to one kilometer (0.62 mile) the depth of a security buffer zone on its border with the Gaza Strip. Once the trench is dug, no vehicle or person will be able to pass except through the trench. Security sources said passages had been made for vehicles and for pedestrians. They said the U-shaped trench is two kilometers away from the border and will have a depth of 20 meters and a width of 10 meters. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance agreed to provide the Ministry of Defense with 900 million Egyptian pounds to boost border security operations in northern Sinai, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Tuesday. [Reuters, 6/23/2015]

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Shoukry and Kerry prepare for ‘strategic dialogue’
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday discussed by phone the two countries’ upcoming strategic dialogue talks. In a statement, Shoukry said the strategic dialogue, scheduled for July 28 and 29, will tackle political, economic, security issues, and the importance of developing the US-Egypt relationship. The statement added that the two officials discussed a number of regional issues, including terrorism and cooperation on regional conflicts such as those in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Palestine. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, DNE, 6/23/2015]

Independent investigation shows UK spied on Egyptian rights group
A British tribunal has ruled that the electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ violated the rights of two overseas human rights agencies by failing to delete intercepted data on time. The judges of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled Monday that GCHQ kept intercepted data from The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and The Legal Resources Center of South Africa for longer than allowed. The tribunal did find that the original interception of the data was lawful and appropriate. IPT said that the GCHQ spied on the EIPR, a co-claimant in a legal challenge against the GCHQ related to the case of Edward Snowden, the former CIA agent accused by the United States of leaking classified national security information to the media. IPT is requiring GCHQ, which stands for Government Communications Headquarters and is the British counterpart of the US National Security Agency, to confirm within fourteen days that the data has been destroyed. [Egypt Independent, AP, 6/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Swiss drop part of case over Mubarak’s still-frozen funds | AP, Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s defense minister arrives in France for military cooperation talks | Ahram Online
  • Egypt plans to join EEU, Russia’s economic sphere | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt to receive detailed technical studies on GERD construction consequences | DNE