Top News: EU Won’t Send Full Observation Mission to Egypt Elections

The European Union will not send a full mission to monitor Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the bloc’s top diplomat said Wednesday, while criticizing the country’s human rights record.


Parties consider Sisi’s call for a unified electoral list unfeasible
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s invitation for political parties to form a unified list in the upcoming parliamentary elections is seen as unfeasible by most political parties. Several parties said the focus of each political party on its own interests will make it difficult to put this proposition into effect. Some parties pointed to their coalition under former minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, while others stressed the challenges met with trying to form a coalition with just one other party. [Mada Masr, 1/14/2015]

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Egypt’s military prosecutor to investigate ‘AIDS detector’
An Egyptian judicial official says the country’s chief prosecutor has asked military prosecutors to investigate a set of devices that inventors said detect and cure AIDS and hepatitis C – a claim widely dismissed by experts in Egypt and abroad. The official said Wednesday the investigation comes after a lawyer filed a complaint against the inventors, who include a now-retired army chief engineer and another military officer. The official says the complaint accuses the inventors of misleading the public. [AP, 1/14/2015]

Morsi’s former spokesman acquitted on appeal
An appeals court acquitted on Wednesday former Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali of hiding former prime minister Hisham Qandil. Ali was referred to six months in prison for assisting Qandil in escaping and evading judicial prosecution in November 2014. The former spokesperson was released from jail in November 2014 after spending eleven months in prison which exceeded his six month sentence, still appealed the ruling. He was also acquitted on charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 1/14/2015]

Al-Jama’a al-Islamiya leader sentenced to fifteen years in absentia
Assiut’s criminal court sentenced in absentia al-Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Assem Abdel Maged to fifteen years in prison, with hard labor. Abdel Maged fled the country to Qatar in 2013. Five Muslim Brotherhood members were also sentenced to five years each over charges of killing protesters. Twenty-eight others were cleared including seven Brotherhood members in Assiut, among them the secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party and two former members of parliament. [Egypt Independent, 1/15/2015]

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  • Mubarak sons’ trial postponed to March | DNE


Egypt exempts Russian tourists from visa fees, mulls ‘barter’ with Russia
Egypt will exempt tourists from Russia from the $25 visa fee as part of its efforts to offset the effects of the depreciation of the ruble which made Egypt a more expensive destination for Russian vacationers. The exemption will last from January 15 to April 20, traditionally the high season for beach tourism in Egypt, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said. Zaazou also said he had presented a proposal to the cabinet’s economic team to allow Russian tourists to pay for their vacations in Ruble; and Egypt in turn to use these rubles to buy certain Russian products. The “barter” system will be implemented if the central banks of Egypt and Russia approve it, he said. [Ahram Online, 1/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Armed forces meet with IT Chamber to discuss smart transport project implementation | DNE
  • Egyptian pound steady on official market, stronger on black market | Reuters
  • Egypt’s cabinet approves funding for $1.6 billion electricity link with Saudi Arabia | Ahram Online
  • Egypt launches website for anticipated economic conference | Aswat Masriya
  • Sisi to take part in World Economic Forum | Egypt Independent


Interior ministry fined for negligence in inmate’s care
The administrative court in Alexandria on Wednesday fined the interior ministry 75,000 Egyptian pounds to be disbursed as damage payment to an inmate over negligent healthcare. The prisoner was serving a three-year term in Beheira when he suffered a sudden rise in body temperature. The court said doctors at the prison gave him a contaminated shot which further worsened his condition. He was then transferred to a solitary cell for two days, after which he was found unconscious. When he was taken to a hospital, doctors amputated his arm to save his life. The court accused the prison’s board of negligence that caused the prisoner a permanent physical disability, accusing wardens of inhumane treatment. [Egypt Independent, 1/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Hunger-striker moved to ‘disciplinary’ unit | DNE
  • Thirteen suspected H5N1 bird flu cases held in Mounifeya | Aswat Masriya


Soldiers, civilians killed in Sinai; Police officer injured in Alexandria blast
An Egyptian soldier was killed Thursday while trying to dismantle an explosive device in North Sinai. Sergeant Hany Rady was killed in Abo Omair village south of Sheikh Zuweid town and was transferred to the military hospital in al-Arish. In a separate incident in Sinai, unknown gunmen killed three people and wounded another. Security sources said the bodies of three men with gunshot wounds in the head and face were found in separate areas in the North Sinai town of Rafah. Elsewhere in the town, a 23-year-old woman was injured in a gunshot attack while walking in the street, the sources added. Finally, a police officer was injured early Thursday in a blast outside a police station in Alexandria. Explosives’ experts also dismantled a bomb planted at a train station east of Alexandria, an official at the railway authority in West Delta said, adding that train movement was not affected in the process.  [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 1/15/2015]


EU won’t send full observation mission to Egypt elections
The European Union will not send a full mission to monitor Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the bloc’s top diplomat said Wednesday, while criticizing the country’s human rights record. The EU will instead “deploy a smaller expert mission,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.  The purpose of the mission will be to report on the polls, “including on the political environment and the electoral campaign,” she added. Mogherini welcomed the progress made by the adoption of a new constitution and the election of Egypt’s new president, but said that “difficulties” remain. She warned that challenges such as the country’s economic situation and its ongoing political transition “cannot allow any compromise on human rights.” [DPA, 1/15/2015]

Canadian minister hopes for journalist release after Egypt meeting
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said after talks in Cairo on Thursday he hoped that Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, working for Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, could be released from prison in Egypt. He met with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, where he reiterated his call for the Fahmy’s release. Baird sounded cautiously optimistic after the talks with Shoukry, who underscored the independence of the judiciary. During a meeting with al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Baird discussed the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks, saying that he respects freedom of speech, but does not support insults to Islam’s Prophet Mohamed. [Reuters, 1/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Syrian opposition leaders in Cairo to form united front | DNE
  • Azhar denounces Boko Haram crimes | Egypt Independent, SIS
  • Shoukry meets UN official | SIS
  • Egyptian and Palestinian presidents discuss extremism | DNE, Aswat Masriya