Top News: Gamal, Alaa Mubarak to be Released From Prison

An Egyptian court ordered the release of the sons of deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak on Monday, taking into account time already served on a corruption conviction. The Cairo criminal court ordered the release of Gamal and his brother Alaa after they were sentenced in May to three years’ prison each in a corruption case dubbed the ‘presidential palaces’ affair by the Egyptian media. This comes after both brothers filed a legal challenge against their continuing detention. Their lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, told the court Monday that both defendants had served forty-three months in prison, exceeding the three-year sentences that were handed out by the court in May. They had been charged with receiving five villas as a bribe from businessman Hussein Salem. Separately, the two sons also face trial on insider trading charges, with the next hearing in October. They were expected to walk free later Monday. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 10/12/2015]


Over 27 million registered voters in elections first round
Some 27,402,353 voters are registered to take part in the elections first round due to start October 18 in Egypt, stated the High Elections Committee (HEC) Saturday. According to HEC spokesperson Omar Marwan, voters include 13,257,507 women and 14,144,846 men. Some 139 embassies and consulates abroad will serve the 700,000 Egyptians abroad who are registered to vote on October 17. The HEC announced Saturday that ten satellite TV channels have violated electoral campaigning regulations, and that they will face penalties that will be announced soon. The Salafist Nour Party, the only Islamist party campaigning in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, said it will have around 200 independents and fifteen party-based candidates running. The party has decided to focus on the West Delta and Cairo constituencies, rather than field candidates throughout the country, and has said it is focusing on providing services for citizens in its electoral campaign. The Nour Party also said it would support the For the Love of Egypt list in East Delta as it is the only candidate. Party leader Talaat Marzouk revealed that the protest and pretrial detention laws will be on the party’s legislative agenda in the upcoming parliament. Free Egyptians Party founder Naguib Sawiris said in a TV interview on Saturday that his party was not looking for a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He also added in his interview on CBC TV that his party was seeking to “defeat” poverty in Egypt using experiences and programs based on the German model in its economic program. The party is competing over 220 seats. Meanwhile, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) launched on Sunday a campaign warning voters of the dangers of electing to parliament members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and Hosni Mubarak’s dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP). The party called for electing candidates who were not implicated in corruption. The ‘No to Religious Parties’ campaign group announced it collected 1.25 million signatures Sunday. The group also said it would file a case against the twelve Egyptian political parties founded on religious bases. Finally, according to Al Masry Al Youm, a remarkable number of former army and police officers are running as independent public figures within the electoral lists competing for seats. The largest number of former generals can be found in the For the Love of Egypt list, which is led by retired army general Sameh Seif al-Yazal. [Ahram Online, 10/13/2015]

Sisi sets two-year deadline for phase one of administrative capital
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has set a two-year deadline to complete the first phase of Egypt’s new administrative capital project, starting January 2016. Sisi met Sunday with Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouli, Projects Adviser to Minister of Defense Amir Ahmed al-Sayed, head of military engineering authority General Emad al-Alfy and chief-of-staff of the military engineering authority Major General Kamel al-Wazeer. According to Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef, the Housing Ministry accepted the new plan and timeline during a meeting on Sunday with the president. The first phase of the plan covers 10,500 feddans of land, and is to include the construction of ministries and other government buildings, a commercial center, 15,000 housing units, schools, a university complex, the initial stages of a “medical city” and exhibition grounds, Youssef said. It will also have a central park, said to be the largest in the Middle East. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 10/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Elections countdown: 7 days | Mada Masr
  • For the Love of Egypt: High profile, low on politics in parliament race | Ahram Online
  • Czech diplomats to observe elections says Czech Ambassador to Cairo | DNE
  • Elections in the media: Candidates and parties exchange accusations | DNE
  • Foreign Ministry urges citizens to turn deaf ear to election rumors | SIS
  • Conservative Akmal Kortam returns to For the love of Egypt electoral list | DNE
  • Parliamentary elections ignite conflict among Sufis | DNE
  • Nour Party defends its national belonging | DNE
  • Coptic community voices rejections of Nour Party’s candidates | DNE
  • Salafists in conflict over parliamentary elections | DNE
  • In Egypt, elections look set to cement return to the past | Reuters
  • Independence List wins majority of Egypt’s Doctors’ Syndicate board seats | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Low voter turnout among doctors for syndicate elections | Mada Masr
  • Khairy becomes new head of Egyptian Doctors Syndicate: Official results | Ahram Online


Egyptian court overturns six death sentences in Kerdasa police killings
Egypt’s Court of Cassation overturned on Monday the convictions of six men sentenced to death for storming a police station and killing eleven policemen in the town of Kerdasa in 2013. In its Monday verdict the court ordered the men’s death sentenced be overturned and they be retried for the offences. The six are among 183 defendants who received death sentences, 149 of whom were present in court last February, while thirty-four were sentenced in absentia. The defendants whose sentences were overturned on Monday were initially sentenced to death in absentia in February, but were subsequently arrested, retried and sentenced to death in a May verdict. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 10/12/2015]

TV presenter Islam al-Beheiry’s imprisonment upheld
A misdemeanors court upheld a five-year prison term previously handed down to controversial religious researcher Islam al-Beheiry for contempt of religion, dismissing his appeal on Saturday. The show host was sentenced in absentia to five years with labor last May. Beheiry stirred controversy with his show especially after Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s foremost religious institution, accused him of broadcasting ideas that strike at the “the fundamentals of religion.” Gamil Saeed, Beheiry’s defense lawyer, said he would file a challenge on the verdict on Monday, adding that his client failed to appear in the courtroom on Saturday for “health reasons.” In a statement on Sunday, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the verdict, and called for Beheiry’s acquittal. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Detainee dies in Port Said General Hospital | DNE
  • Egypt offers reconciliation with those accused in graft cases | Aswat Masriya, AMAY, Ahram Online
  • Morsi trial postponed, witness on a ‘secret mission’ | Mada Masr


Egypt expects $1.5 billion in loans from World Bank, AfDB by end of 2015
Egypt expects to receive $1.5 billion in loans from the World Bank and African Development Bank by the end of 2015, according to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said. The loans aim to boost Egypt’s foreign currency reserves and bolster the economy. Egypt’s foreign currency reserves, which have more than halved since 2011, stood at $16.335 billion at the end of September. According to the Central Bank, Egypt’s external debt rose by 4.3 percent to $48 billion in the fiscal year ending on June 30. However, Egypt’s net foreign direct investments (FDI) rose by 54.6 percent in the fiscal year, reaching $6.37 billion. In September, Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said the country needs $10 billion in FDI and $51.1 billion in domestic investments to grow at 5 percent. Last week, Ismail formed a ministerial economic committee to examine a general framework for economic and monetary policies and the promotion of investment. Meanwhile, revenue from the Suez Canal rose to $462.1 million in August from $437.7 million in July, according to the Suez Canal Authority. [Reuters, 8/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Eni awarded two new exploration blocks in Egypt’s Mediterranean | Ahram Online
  • Egypt picks seven winners in tender for fifty-five LNG cargoes says Ministry | Ahram Online
  • Egypt to import 55 cargoes of natural gas | Mada Masr
  • Airlines apply new tax hikes on departing flight tickets in Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Investors want services upgraded to reflect flight tax increase | Egypt Independent
  • Tax increase on airline tickets within 1 percent of average ticket value says minister | Aswat Masriya
  • French PM arrives in Egypt ahead of economic talks | Ahram Online
  • Government studies place Sheikh Khalifa City in new administrative capital: sources | Egypt Independent
  • Government plans further tax on ‘provocative’ goods | AMAY
  • Ministry of Antiquities operating with 90 percent loss of funds | DNE
  • Ministerial committee formed to develop framework for economic, monetary policy | DNE
  • Government bank threatens state agencies over delayed debts | AMAY
  • Government seeks 1.5 percent budget deficit reduction relying on subsidy cuts says PM | AMAY
  • Egyptian pound steady at dollar sale, weaker on parallel market | Reuters
  • Decline in Egypt’s foreign reserves negatively affects credit rating – Moody’s | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt wheat reserves to last until mid-March says minister | Aswat Masriya


Fifty-one violations against journalists in September says report
Journalists Against Torture Observatory reported fifty-one cases of violation against journalists across Egypt in September, citing the Ministry of Interior as the authority behind most of the violations. The independent group, which was established in 2013 by a group of volunteering journalists, lawyers and researchers, said in its periodic report Saturday that violations against media professionals varied between prevention of reporting, verbal assaults, physical assaults, destruction of equipment and arrests. Most violations took place in Cairo, with thirty reported cases, followed by seven in Giza and four in North Sinai. Meanwhile, Egyptian censorship authorities detained on Saturday the director of the Christian TV channel SAT-7 and confiscated studio equipment, on charges of operating without a license, the channel said on Monday. The channel released a statement on its website saying that that Farid Samir, director of its Egypt office, was detained for six hours and released pending investigations. The statement added, “He faces four charges relating to operating a satellite TV channel without the necessary licences, although the SAT-7 Egypt office is a program production facility and not a satellite broadcast center for any of the SAT-7 channels. On Sunday there was a hearing at the prosecutor’s office, but no ruling has been made. A ruling is expected in the coming days, according to the statement. Finally, recently released Al Jazeera journalist Baher Mohamed was temporarily prevented from leaving the country at Cairo International Airport on October 8. A security guard told him he was banned from travelling outside Egypt. After missing his flight, security guards informed him that he is allowed to travel. According to Mohamed, security officials said he would have to face these security procedures on every trip outside Egypt, due to his record. [DNE, 10/12/2015]

New York Times ‘obfuscates reality’ in Sinai coverage says Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Wednesday article by the New York Times has provoked the ire of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, whose spokesperson has said the paper tried to “obfuscate reality” in its coverage about Gaza border smugglers. In a post published on the ministry’s official blog Friday, spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said the newspaper seeks to make the reader sympathize with the smugglers, who have long brought goods in to the besieged Gaza Strip through tunnels with the Egyptian border. “By falsely referring to this phenomenon as ‘trade’, rather than illicit smuggling across an international border, which is what this really is, the NYT is trying to obfuscate reality, giving a veneer of legitimacy to what is essentially an illegal practice condemned by international and domestic law,” said Abu Zeid. Only around twenty of 250 tunnels are still functioning according to the Times article, after being hit by the Egyptian army’s tactics of the flooding of the border area and the establishment of a buffer zone on the Egyptian side. [DNE, 10/10/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Mohamed Fahmy hopes to regain Egyptian citizenship, sue Al-Jazeera | AMAY, AP
  • Egyptian TV host presents video game clip as Russian anti-ISIS operation | Ahram Online, AMAY
  • Ministry of Health to apply smartcard system in Suez | DNE
  • Internet and mobile service resumes in South Sinai after hours-long outage | Ahram Online
  • Five dead, twenty-five injured in factory fire on Egypt’s North coast | Ahram Online
  • Al-Azhar wants to cope with modern developments, Grand Imam tells French Premier | Ahram Online
  • Ten migrants drown near Egyptian beach | Ahram Online, AMAY, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
  • NGO reveals two cases of forced disappearances | DNE
  • Al-Masry Al-Youm management reject workers’ demands over mass sackings | DNE
  • Sixty-two people treated in Assiut for severe fever says Health Ministry | DNE
  • Police forcefully disperse endowments workers’ protest | Mada Masr, Egypt Independent
  • Controversial new grading system for students was coordinated with presidency: minister | AMAY
  • High school students protest new grading policy | Mada Masr, AMAY
  • Student detained for wearing anti-torture t-shirt writes letter from prison says Amnesty | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s defense purchases bill at 81 billion Egyptian pounds in 2015
Egypt’s defense purchases bill for 2015 amounts to 81 billion Egyptian pounds as a result of arms deals with a number of countries, Al-Masry al-Youm reported. This follows the announcement that a deal was finalized with France for the sale of two Mistral class warships on Saturday. This is Egypt’s second arms deal with France this year after an earlier sale of twenty-four Rafale fighter Jets and a FREEM frigate last February. Egypt has also made arms deals with Russia, including a $3.5 billion arms supply agreement for Russian military equipment. In August, the British government resumed arms sales to Egypt, which came on the heels of similar decision by the United States in April to resume its arms sales to Egypt. [AMAY, Ahram Online, AFP, 10/10/2015]

Brotherhood ‘terrorist’ suspect killed in raid says Interior Ministry
The Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that a leading terrorist suspect belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood died while trying to escape a police raid on a hideout in Alexandria. Police had learned that Mostafa Gomaa, 42, a member of the Brotherhood’s branch in the Delta province of Fayoum was hiding in a flat in Alexandria. According to the statement, “Once the forces raided the building where he was hiding, he tried to escape by jumping to a neighboring balcony, but fell to his death.” It also added that two guns and several bullets, along with documents detailing operational plans for the illegal group were found. Gomaa, according to the Ministry, had been involved in several assaults on police facilities, as well as bombings in Fayoum. The man’s family, however, claimed that Gomaa, a school teacher, was thrown from the window by police after they stormed the apartment and questioned him. A statement by a Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman after the event said that the actions of the police show that “the current regime does not believe in law or in justice.”   [AMAY, DNE, 10/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian policeman injured in blast near October 6 police station | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Landmine kills one Egyptian, wounds another in Suez desert | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Police impersonators steal EGP 3 million from exchange company employee | DNE
  • 2,215 arrested for attempting ‘illegal migration’ in one month says Egypt’s army | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Sharp decline in reported terrorist attacks in August according to TIMEP | DNE


Egypt’s Foreign Minister heads to New York for Security Council bid
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in New York on Monday to attend the vote concerning Egypt’s bid for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2016-2017 term, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement on Sunday. “Egypt is a heavyweight Arab, African and Middle Eastern country. It also represents a large segment of ‘non-aligned’ and Islamic states, so joining the Security Council will allow Egypt to be capable of relaying its vision and priorities on many security and defense issues related to those countries,” the statement read. Egypt announced the bid at the UN General Assembly in September, and has received support from many African Union States as well as the support of the Arab League. Egypt last sat as a nonpermanent member on the Security Council during the 1996-1997 term. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/11/2015]

Shoukry ‘coordinates’ with Lavrov on Syria, as Russia faces criticism for civilian deaths
Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to “coordinate” over the Syrian crisis, as Russia’s military involvement in the conflict continues to garner criticism. The two ministers agreed on the importance of reaching a political settlement to the Syrian crisis and “to encourage the parties to engage in dialogue in accordance with the plan put forward by the UN envoy on the basis of the decisions of the Geneva meeting.” However, Russia’s military involvement in Syria has widely been interpreted as a move to bolster the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by striking rebels backed by the United States and other countries. Egypt has been in “constant contact” with Russia and publicly backs the Russian military intervention in Syria. It says the Russian intervention will curb the spread of terrorism in the war-torn country and encourage a political resolution. Egypt has offered its support despite the direct challenge the policy poses to close-ally Saudi Arabia, which has supported Syrian rebels. Egyptian officials also recently met with a Syrian government delegation for a talk on a number of topics including responses to terrorism. [DNE, 10/10/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt closes Rafah border following return of Palestinian pilgrims | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Irrigation Minister visits Sudan to talk Ethiopian dam consensus | Ahram Online
  • Egypt has ‘pressure cards’ in Ethiopia Renaissance dam dispute, says minister | Ahram Online
  • Number of Egyptian deaths in hajj stampede reaches 181 | Ahram Online, MENA
  • Religious endowment ministry releases names of Egyptian hajj stampede victims | Ahram Online
  • Six Egyptians return after being reported missing in Hajj stampede | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s Defense Minister heads to Spain for military cooperation talks | Ahram Online
  • Twenty-four Egyptian fishermen freed in Tunisia, Sudan | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Foreign Ministers of eighteen states jointly call for abolition of death penalty | DNE
  • Egypt condemns Israel’s ‘excessive use of force’ against Palestinians | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt condemns Turkey bombing | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya