Top News: ‘Hard’ to Guarantee Completely Transparent Election says Election Committee Member

Spokesperson for the High Elections Committee (HEC) Omar Marwan said on Wednesday that it’s “hard” for any elections supervision committee to guarantee completely transparent parliamentary elections. “I think it’s the voters’ role; they need to elect parliament members who could legislate new laws which guarantee better monitoring for the elections,” Marawan stated. He added that the current committee is the last to be formed by the government as the 2014 constitution stipulates that the following committee is chosen by parliament. He added that it was unclear when parliamentary elections would be held. [Cairo Post, 5/14/2015]


Egypt’s Wafd Party still faces crisis despite presidential intervention

In the latest in an internal political crisis rocking Egypt’s oldest liberal party, the Wafd Party, suspended board members have said they would not attend party leadership elections on Friday. The party’s leader al-Sayed al-Badawy, in whom they have withdrawn their confidence citing abuse of power, has said that the elections would go ahead and that the party’s board would then convene on Saturday to discuss the fate of the suspended members. Badawy added that the suspended members “are welcome again in the party.” On Wednesday President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, met with Badawy, and leaders of the suspended board members, including Fouad Badrawy. Badrawy criticized Badawy for not making serious attempts to solve the problems within the party, just hours after praising the efforts of the presidency in ending the political crisis in the party. [Ahram Online, 5/15/2015]

Egypt denies ‘medical negligence’ in imprisoned Brotherhood leader’s death
Egypt’s interior ministry has denied any medical negligence in the death on Wednesday of leading Muslim Brotherhood figure and ex-MP Farid Ismail. Ismail’s family and lawyers claim that he was denied adequate medical attention in prison, resulting in his death. Major-General Hassan al-Sohagy, head of the prisons authority at the interior ministry, on Thursday told Ahram Online that these claims were “untrue.” He did not provide further details. [Ahram Online, 5/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian law could imprison refugees, asylum seekers | Al-Monitor
  • Dostour Party delays internal elections for the second time | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Judge, lawyers rule out death sentence against Morsi
A Cairo criminal court set to rule on Saturday in the espionage and jailbreak trials of deposed president Mohamed Morsi will likely hand out jail terms to some defendants and exonerate others, a judge has said, ruling out death sentences against the accused. Judge Moataz Khafagy, head of a Cairo criminal appeals court, said that the court is not expected to adjourn the cases either, as it has had months for deliberation. Khafagy as well as lawyers, including those of the defendants, said death sentences were not very likely since the bench had not referred the cases to the Grand Mufti, the country’s top religious authority who reviews all death penalty cases but whose rulings are not binding. [Ahram Online, 5/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial of police officer accused of killing activist adjourned to June 7 | Egypt Independent
  • Court sets trial date for woman involved in infamous airport incident | Aswat Masriya


Egypt stocks lose appeal as dollar squeeze curbs trading
Egypt’s dollar drought is driving a general decline in the country’s stock market as trading slumps. The EGX 30 Index slumped 2.6 percent on Thursday, extending the worst start to a year since the 2011 revolution as the average value of shares traded dwindled to a 16-month low. Equities have tumbled 17 percent since a seven-year high in February, as foreign investors struggle to repatriate their cash amid a dollar shortage that has prompted the reappearance of a black market on Cairo’s streets. [Bloomberg, Reuters, 5/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian pound steady at official auction, stronger on black market | Reuters
  • Will coal use spread beyond the cement industry? | Mada Masr
  • Egypt launches plan to combat price hikes | Cairo Post


Eight Egyptian women prevented from travelling to Turkey without prior approval
Authorities at Cairo Airport reportedly prevented eight Egyptian women from traveling to Turkey on Friday. A security source told Aswat Masriya that regulations were being applied that require Egyptians, aged 18 to 40, to secure prior approval from passport control authorities when travelling to Turkey. The source added that the regulations were put in place as a part of an effort to implement security measures preventing Egyptians from travelling to Turkey in order to cross the border into Syria to join militant groups. The new regulations were announced last December. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 5/15/2015]

Also of Interest


Ninety-four ‘middle-ranking’ Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested 
The ministry of interior announced in a statement Thursday it has arrested ninety-four “middle ranking” Muslim Brotherhood leaders. People were arrested from Cairo, Daqahleya, Beheira, and Fayoum, the ministry’s statement said.  All are accused of belonging to a “terrorist” organization, violating public and private property, and planning attacks on the police and the military. The Muslim Brotherhood’s official website has yet to release a statement on the arrests. [DNE, 5/15/2015]

Eight suspected militants, two civilians killed in North Sinai
Eight suspected militants were killed in confrontations with security forces in North Sinai’s city of al-Arish on Thursday, military sources said. The sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Aswat Masriya that military forces tracked a “cell” of the Sinai State, the ISIS affiliate formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, after receiving intelligence that it was implicated in a “terrorist operation” targeting military forces in central Sinai. Two more suspected militants were injured in Thursday’s confrontations, the sources added. In related news, three people were gunned down by armed assailants in North Sinai in two separate incidents on Thursday, leaving two killed and a third person injured, medical and security sources said. Police sources told Aswat Masriya that one civilian was separately shot dead south of al-Arish. A security source added that unidentified gunmen shot at two passengers in central Sinai. One died as the result of a gunshot wound to the head, while the other was shot in his left leg, the source said. [Aswat Masriya, 5/15/2015]

Also of Interest


Egypt minister apologizes to Saudi national over restaurant ban
Egypt’s tourism minister has personally apologized to a Saudi national who was barred from entering a Cairo restaurant for wearing a traditional white robe, while the ministry has reportedly ordered the eatery be shut down. Minister Khaled Ramy received Hazzaa at his office on Thursday to offer a formal apology for what he said was an “unique” incident that did not reflect Egyptians’ attitude towards tourists and fellow Arabs, his office said. Earlier on Wednesday, Abdel Fattah al-Assy, the ministry’s undersecretary said on TV that the punishment for such behavior was closure of the venue where the violation occurred and the cancellation of its license. Similarly, Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs and Egyptians Abroad Amr Moawad urged Egyptian expatriates to abide by Saudi law. They specifically called on Egyptians in Saudi Arabia not to allow passengers in their private cars, or vehicles of the companies they work for, to avoid being arrested. Saudi authorities underlined that transporting smugglers to the kingdom would not be tolerated, he added. [Ahram Online, 5/15/2015]

Also of Interest

  • INTERVIEW: Egypt-Ethiopia strategic ties need sustainability: Cairo’s envoy | Ahram Online
  • Antiquities Minister urges amendment of UNESCO 1970 agreement | Egypt Independent
  • Mahlab: Egypt, Saudi Arabia relations ’strategic’ | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt keen on protecting cultural heritage, hosts conference to confront looting monuments | Aswat Masriya
  • Sisi, UNESCO chief condemn extremists’ destruction of heritage sites | Egypt Independent, SIS
  • US keen on strategic ties with Egypt – State Department | SIS
  • Sisi meets Chadian president’s envoy | SIS
  • Sweden announces EGP 18 million grant to benefit Egyptian women | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Embassy of Sweden