Top News: Foreign Ministry Defends Egypt’s Judiciary From Foreign Criticism Over Death Sentences

Egypt’s foreign affairs ministry on Wednesday said it rejected some countries “offending the Egyptian judiciary,” following mass death sentences on Tuesday against over 100 defendants including ousted President Mohamed Morsi. In a statement, the ministry described some countries’ condemnations of the verdicts as “futile attempts to impose visions and policies that are against the will of the Egyptian people.” This comes one day after Morsi was sentenced to death in a prison escape trial and was sentenced to life in prison for an espionage case. Both domestic and international reactions expressing concern have since poured in. [Ahram OnlineAswat MasriyaSIS, 6/18/2015]  


Egypt’s opposition criticizes government’s election law amendments
Recent amendments to three laws necessary to pave the way for Egypt’s postponed parliamentary elections have drawn fire from the country’s mainstream political parties. In several public statements, opposition parties have complained that the amendments fall far short of the electoral reforms they had suggested. “The amendments go against most of the legislative reforms proposed by opposition parties, not to mention that they made it quite impossible for any political party to gain a majority in parliament,” said Chairman of the liberal Reform and Development Party Anwar El-Sadat. The amendments, prepared by a government-appointed committee and revised by the State Council’s Department of Legislation and Fatwas, are part of a review of three election laws that determine the workings of the House of Representatives, the Division of Electoral Constituencies, and the Exercise of Political Rights.  [Ahram Online, 6/18/2015]

Sisi recommends rehabilitation of pardoned Muslim Brotherhood youth
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued recommendations on the 165 prisoners he pardoned Wednesday. The released youth should be rehabilitated and integrated into the Egyptian society, according to the presidency media office. The majority of those released are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and were arrested over illegal protesting, according to Youm7. [Cairo Post, 6/18/2015]

Also of Interest


Former security head acquitted of destroying January 25 footage
The Cairo Criminal Court on Wednesday acquitted the former Head of Security of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) of charges for destroying recordings from the 2011 revolution. The prosecution had previously referred Nabil Ismail to court, after investigations revealed that he had ordered members of staff to destroy six compact discs containing footage the events of the revolution, as well as the “consequent events.” [Ahram Online, 6/18/2015]  

Egyptian security agencies increasingly detaining activists in secret, rights lawyers say
Egyptian security agencies are increasingly detaining activists and students in secret, taking them from homes or the street and holding them without official record of their arrest, as their families scramble to find them, activists and lawyers say. Activists have tracked more than 160 suspected disappearances in police custody during the past two months — a sign of the renewed unchecked power of security agencies. It is a return to past practices under former President Hosni Mubarak, when detainees were held, sometimes for years, without trial under notorious emergency laws. The whereabouts of most remain unknown. Activists and lawyers fear they are abused during interrogation. [AP, 6/18/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Egypt army to distribute 140,000 food boxes in North Sinai | Ahram Online
  • Previously disappeared photojournalist to be investigated June 28 | DNE
  • Morsi’s lawyer to challenge ex-President’s prison sentence | Aswat Masriya Report on Abu Trika’s travel agency to be issued in a week | Egypt Independent
  • National security arrest journalist from home without charges | Egypt Independent


Is Egypt ready to take IMF pledges?
Egypt’s on-off talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be back on again, as investors say IMF loans offer a stronger platform for reviving the economy than the Gulf money currently keeping it afloat. Even with signs of a recovery in tourism and investment, the gap between Egypt’s foreign currency receipts and needs may reach $15 billion a year by 2017, says Jason Tuvey, a London-based analyst at Capital Economics. While support from Gulf Arab countries is “keeping strains in its balance of payments contained,” it is “not a long-term solution,” he says. However, from the government’s point of view, there are drawbacks to IMF funding. [Bloomberg, 6/18/2015]

Also of Interest

  • National Bank of Egypt approves $91 million finance for oil firm | Amwal Al Ghad
  • Egypt bought 5.3 million metric tons of local wheat by end of season | Reuters
  • Emaar Misr sets IPO price at 3.8 Egyptian pounds per share | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues fall for third consecutive month in May | Egypt Independent


AFTE records rise in students abuses as academic year ends
Disappearances, deaths, and arrests of students in Egypt’s universities have escalated towards the end of the academic year, as documented in the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression’s (AFTE) monthly reports on students’ rights. AFTE documented ongoing raids of university campuses by the police, including the storming of Al-Azhar University’s girls section four times despite no demonstrations. The group reported that thirty students were arrested during raids on their houses in the past month. In addition to arrests and raids, there have also been deaths that point responsibility towards the Ministry of Interior and university administrations, such as the cases of Islam Ateeto and Anas El-Mahdy. [DNE, 6/18/2015]  

Sinai inhabitants say will challenge the land ownership law
The Cabinet’s approval of the Sinai Development Law amendments regarding the ownership of land has triggered varying reactions among Sinai residents, with tribal elders saying they will challenge the amended law in court. Sheikh Aref Abu Akr said the Sinai Development Authority has not contributed to any development on the ground since it was formed in 2012. “There cannot be any development before security is restored,” he said. “Sinai cannot be managed from closed air-conditioned rooms in Cairo. The residents here must be involved in decisions.” He said the law serves the interests of the investors only. “I own land that has belonged to my ancestors for 485 years, but I have no documents to prove it,” he said. “No land owner here has such documents.” Salah al-Bolok, board member of the Sinai Development Authority, said the law has not been finalized yet. [Egypt Independent, 6/18/2015]   

Also of Interest

  • Hospital allegedly refuses medical follow up for critically ill detainee | DNE
  • Rights groups warn of detainee Hassan Mubarak’s health condition | Mada Masr
  • Taxi drivers strike in Sohag, protest police officer beating their colleagues | Egypt Independent
  • Photojournalist recounts abuse in prison after release | Egypt Independent
  • CAPMAS: 172 percent increase in Foot and Mouth Disease incidents in Egypt | Egypt Independent
  • Giza villages suffer from water cuts | Egypt Independent    
  • Egypt reopens Tahrir Square metro station after two-year closure | Reuters


ISIS in Sinai admits senior member killed in Arish in April
A video issued by a militia affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in Sinai has admitted that one of the group’s senior leaders had been killed in military raids conducted in April in the North Sinai city of Arish. Sinai Province, previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which had pledged allegiance to the ISIS, showed in a video that Abul Qaaqaa al-Muhajir was killed in an army raid. The video includes spoken statements by al-Muhajir, in which he vowed to conduct more attacks against the army and police forces during the coming period. “I tell President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Armed Forces: your future with us won’t make you like the present, we know you are horrified,” Muhajir said in the video. “I swear if we see our own brothers, the sons of our own mothers, in the army, no one would tear their heads off their bodies but us,” he added. [Egypt Independent, 6/18/2015]   

Also of Interest

  • Endowments ministry says poisonings may targeting Ramadan congregations | Egypt Independent
  • Six terrorists killed in army air strikes in North Sinai | Cairo Post


UN uses food aid to fight child labor in Egypt
Almost 24,000 Egyptian children have received school meals and rations for their families under a program to prevent youth in the poorest areas from dropping out of school and working, UN and EU officials said. More than a quarter of Egypt’s 82 million citizens live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. The UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) 60 million euro ($67.5 million) aid program targets 100,000 children from 651 schools in the most deprived areas of Egypt, including Beni Suef, 150 km south of Cairo. WFP spokeswoman Amina Al Korey said the program has been active since April. [Reuters, 6/18/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Help us help you return Mubarak’s funds, Swiss official tells Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s president meets Lebanese PM | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egypt’s president invited to visit Great Britain | Ahram Online, Reuters
  • FM meets British PM’s national security adviser | SIS  
  • Israeli energy minister’s statements evoke Egyptian government’s silence | DNE
  • Foreign ministry promises alleviation for detained fishermen in Sudan | DNE, Egypt Independent  
  • Egypt to participate in Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s progress at New Suez Canal impressive, says US ambassador | Cairo Post