Top News: Forensics Spokesperson Removed from Post Following Remarks on Activist Death

Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority removed its spokesperson, Hisham Abdel Hamid, from his post on Tuesday, over televised remarks he made concerning the death of the activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh. 


Government to discuss elections law changes with Egyptian parties
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab is scheduled to invite political party representatives to discuss changes to a law regulating upcoming parliamentary elections, after a court order indefinitely postponed the polls earlier in March. Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on March 1 that the country’s Elections Constituency Law is unconstitutional. Consequently, the elections, scheduled to begin March 21, were postponed until a new law is passed. According to the Prime Minister’s statement, the political parties’ representatives will have the chance to take a first look at the draft laws and “agree on a common vision for the election laws in accordance with the constitution.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 3/24/2015]

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Forensics spokesperson removed from post following remarks on activist death
Egypt’s Forensic Medicine Authority (FMA) removed its spokesperson, Hisham Abdel Hamid, from his post on Tuesday, over televised remarks he made concerning the death of the activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh. FMA chief Mahmoud Ali circulated a bulletin in which he directed all workers in the agency not to give any media statements involving technical details related to their work. Abdel Hamid said he was accused by his superiors of delivering televised statements without prior permission. [Egypt Independent, 3/24/2015]

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  • Two policemen arrested over helping defendant escape court | Egypt Independent
  • Cases calling for designating Turkey, Hamas, April 6 movement as terrorist entities referred to public prosecutor | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Administrative court postpones case calling for designating Ultras as terrorist entity to May 26 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Trial of Badie and 190 others adjourned to April 20 | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egyptian president decrees new law for Suez investment
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Monday to offer new bonds to the public in order to generate revenues in the development of the Suez Canal area, where the canal authority aims to build new infrastructure and industries to attract foreign investments. The decree did not state how much funding was needed. In February, the Suez Canal Authority was considering applying for a foreign currency loan from domestic banking institutions to finance the foreign component of the project. The canal itself is currently undergoing an expansion to allow two-way traffic that is scheduled to open in August. That project was funded by a bond issue that collected $8.5 billion in just eight days by selling non-tradable certificates with a maturity of five years at 12 percent interest to Egyptian nationals.[AP, Egypt Independent, 3/24/2015]

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  • Egypt government to have 24 percent share in new capital city | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian pound steady on official market, stronger on black market | Reuters
  • Egypt’s finance ministry in quest to amend outdated customs law | DNE
  • Government founds joint-stock radio company | DNE
  • Agriculture ministry aims to retrieve EGP 80 billion | DNE
  • 11,909 jobs created in January, says ministry of manpower | DNE


New Journalists’ Syndicate chief vows resolution for jailed reporters
The newly elected head of the Journalists’ Syndicate Yehia Qallash has vowed to resolve the dilemma of reporters detained by authorities over their alleged affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. Qallash met with a number of detained reporters’ families who began an open-ended sit-in inside the syndicate on Monday, where he asked the families to give him time to resolve their crisis so as not to give an impression that he had made a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood to back his rise to the syndicate’s chairmanship. [Egypt Independent, 3/24/2015]

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  • Presidency thanks outgoing journalists syndicate head | Ahram Online
  • Officials deny reports of army-run institutions for homeless children | DNE
  • People stand against tree massacre in famous Heliopolis garden | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Fact-finding committee to examine Merryland Park tree “massacre” | Egypt Independent
  • Matrouh tribesmen urge solutions for land ownership, Salloum border crossing | Egypt Independent
  • Research team to conduct survey on shark activity in Marsa Allam | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian woman who has lived as man for forty years voted ‘best mum’ | The Guardian
  • Solidarity ministry dissolves fifty inactive NGOs in Minya | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt hunting down Brotherhood ‘sleeper-cells’
In an alleged leaked document from the Egyptian cabinet marked “urgent-top secret,” the government asks the minister of agriculture to hunt down “sleeper-cells” of the Muslim Brotherhood at the ministry and to train staff on security tasks “to overcome the scarcity of security elements” in different government installations. Addressing former agriculture minister Adel al-Beltagy, the message recommended reallocating security forces to different government offices according to need. It also advises ministries to carry out periodical security checks of all employees and remove from their posts “all those who are proven to believe in or sympathize with terrorist or saboteur ideas.” When asked about the letter that bore the logo of the general secretariat of the cabinet, a spokesperson said neither confirmed nor denied it. Former agriculture minister Beltagy refused to comment and new minister Salaheddin Helal said he is not aware of such a document. [Ahram Online, 3/24/2015]

Rafah buffer zone to extend 1,000 more meters into Egypt
People in the Sinai Peninsula have been informed of a third phase of evacuations to be made as part of government plans to create a 1.2 mile buffer zone along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip. People in Rafah said they have been notified that the third phase of evacuations will begin in early April. The first two phases involved the evacuation of 3,350 families from land that extended 0.6 miles into Egypt along the 8.6 mile-long border. [Egypt Independent, DNE, 3/24/2015]

Detainee dies in Beni Suef prison
A detainee died in the central prison of Beni Suef on Monday after several failed attempts to have him transferred for treatment in the hospital. The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) announced in a statement that Khaled Saeed, 46, was a Hepatitis C patient who was detained in January 2014 while visiting his two imprisoned sons Ahmed and Mohamed. Saeed was detained on charges of stealing a military APC in the wake of the Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal.  He was released a week ago from the case, but was sent back to prison for a separate military trial. The statement added that many reports were filed to the Prosecutor General regarding Saeed’s case stating that he needs medical treatment but no response was made, which particularly led to his death. The Freedom and Justice Party, which is the banned political wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and the Students Against the Coup movement condemned Saeed’s death. [DNE, 3/23/205]

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Declaration of principles over Ethiopia dam a “positive step on the right path” says Sisi
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi described a declaration of principles on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam signed on Monday as a “positive step on the right path.” Sisi addressed the declaration during a joint press conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn during the former’s visit to Addis Ababa on Tuesday. Sisi signed the declaration with Desalegn and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Egypt’s president said the declaration would strengthen relations between the three countries. Former Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mahmoud Abu Zeid said the document was legally binding, and did not cancel former treaties on the Nile water. Signing the document is a clear indication of the start of formal negotiations, said former Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Oraby.  [Aswat Masriya, 3/24/2015]

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  • Egypt’s battle over the Renaissance Dam: A timeline | Mada Masr
  • Coptic Church calls on Egyptians in Libya to return home| Aswat Masriya
  • Sisi meets Ethiopian counterpart in Addis Ababa | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s Sisi to address Ethiopian parliament Wednesday| Ahram Online
  • Egyptian-Kenyan agricultural dams agreement signed in Nairobi | Egypt Independent, SIS
  • Endowment minister urges passing international law on respect for religions and sanctities | SIS
  • Sisi: Egypt supports Iraqi efforts for wiping out terrorism | SIS