Top News: Interior Ministry Threatens Legal Action Against Newspaper Amid Deaths in Custody

Egypt’s interior ministry said it would take “legal action” against what it said was an “unprofessional” news report in a private daily criticizing police practices, in a statement it released on Sunday. Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) daily published on Sunday a seven-page series of reports highlighting what it described as the “coercive and arrogant” practices of police.


Infrastructure planning for Cairo Capital to be completed within four months
The infrastructure planning for the new Cairo Capital project proposed at the Economic Summit in March is set to be completed within four months, according to Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly. Madbouly said the ministry is keen on partnerships between the public and private sectors the memoranda of understanding (MoUs) pertaining to the projects that debuted in the Economic Summit in March. The Minister added that the ministry seeks to finalize contracts for the six projects announced in the Economic Summit, as well as solve investment problems. “The projects will be built using Egyptian construction companies and Egyptian labor,” said Madbouly. [DNE, 4/19/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Nour Party to include Christian women on its electoral lists says party spokesman | Ahram Online
  • Egypt premier assigns committee to manage ‘Long Live Egypt’ fund | Ahram Online
  • President Sisi cheers on Cairo Marathon runners, takes selfies | Ahram Online
  • Government commits to reducing pollution in Nile Delta lake | Mada Masr
  • Egyptian center says cabinet ignored studies in decision to demolish NDP building | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s political parties complain of parliament’s record number of 592 seats | Ahram Online
  • Political parties says Sisi responsible for expediting issuance of amended election laws | Egypt Independent
  • Amendments to election law to be presented to State Council in two days | SIS


After first session, Air Defense Stadium trial postponed to May 18
The Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Saturday the trial of sixteen defendants accused of involvement in February’s deadly football violence to May 18, during the trial’s first session. On February 8, twenty people were killed after security forces used teargas to stop fans from entering the military-owned Cairo Stadium to watch a domestic league match between two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and Enppi. The defendants, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the football club, Ultras White Knights, denied the charges and claimed they were tortured by the police to confess.  The Muslim Brotherhood members are accused of paying Ultras members to instigate violence during the match. The defense requested the trial be postponed, while civil rights organizations have demanded compensations ranging from 100,000 Egyptian pounds to 1 million Egyptian pounds. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 4/19/2015]

Egypt courts sentence twenty-two to death in Kerdasa police killing, eleven over Port Said stadium violence
An Egyptian court sentenced twenty-two members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on Monday over an attack on a police station in a district outside Cairo on July 3, 2013, judicial sources said. One other defendant, who is a juvenile, was given a ten year sentence. A lawyer for the convicted men said they would appeal. Eight of the condemned were sentenced in absentia on charges that included murder, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms, destruction of property, and vandalism. Meanwhile, death sentences handed to eleven defendants convicted of participating in the Port Said Stadium disaster of 2012 were referred to the Grand Mufti for approval on Sunday. Seventy-three defendants are on trial for killing over seventy football fans in February 2012 at the end of a match between Cairo’s Ahly and Masry football clubs. Defendants included nine security leaders and three Masry club officials. In January 2013, a court sentenced twenty-one people to death in the case, but after more than a year, the High Court overturned the sentences and ordered a retrial. The court postponed the verdict on the remaining defendants until May 30, and issued a media gag order in the case. [DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, AP, The Guardian, Ahram Online, 4/20/2015

Courts rule lack of jurisdiction over Nour Party dissolution, April 6 terrorist designation
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court referred on Saturday a lawsuit filed to dissolve the Salafist Nour Party back to the administrative court, reported the state agency MENA. The supreme court said it cannot look into the lawsuit, tasking the administrative court with issuing its ruling in the case. Meanwhile, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters said on Monday it does not have the jurisdiction to rule in a lawsuit that calls for labeling the banned April 6 Youth Movement a “terrorist organization.”
The court explained that it could not rule on the matter since Article 3 of a newly passed “terrorist entities’ law” stipulates that only criminal courts can rule on such issues. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 4/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • In a first, Brotherhood leader Badie attends court in red execution garb | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • HRW tackles Egyptian judiciary for ‘politicization’ and ‘draconian sentences’ | DNE, Reuters
  • Egyptian, two Israelis receive life sentences for spying | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egyptian court designates Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Court refers Qatar ‘supporting terrorism’ lawsuit to prosecution | DNE
  • Former PM Nazif’s graft charge retrial postponed to May | DNE
  • Prosecution to investigate torture of ‘Suez terrorist cell’ defendants | DNE
  • Prosecution to appeal Mubarak-era minister’s acquittal in Israel gas exportation case | Aswat Masriya
  • MOI obliged to register children from customary marriages after court ruling | Mada Masr


Egyptian economy to grow 4.5 percent in second half of FY2014/15
Egypt’s economic growth is expected to reach 4.2-4.5 percent in the second half of the current fiscal year, Investment Minister Ashraf Salman was quoted saying by MENA on Monday. The Arab country’s economy is recovering from four years of political upheaval as the government incentivizes foreign investment and reforms budget imbalances. The government is currently negotiating a $500 million loan from the World Bank to build affordable housing, Salman added. [Ahram Online, 4/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt imposes 8 percent tariff on steel imports for three years | Ahram Online, Reuters
  • Survey shows Egypt central bank to hold rates after inflation pick-up | Reuters
  • CIB to submit offer for Citigroup’s Egyptian retail portfolio | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Edita signs $12 million contracts with Hostess Brands | Reuters
  • Sanmar India pumps $350 million new investments in Egypt | DNE
  • Egypt’s EFG-Hermes seeks to raise $51 million in capital hike | Reuters
  • Egypt receives $27 million OPEC loan | DNE
  • 300,000 tonnes of wheat to arrive in June | DNE, Reuters
  • Kuwait finalizes investment arm in Egypt | DNE
  • Minister says Egypt to issue Eurobonds by end of May | Egypt Independent
  • Notorious con man reveals holes in Egyptian investment market | DNE
  • Former Chamber of Hotels chairman demands placing furnished flats under state supervision | DNE
  • State committed to stabilizing sugar prices in local market | Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
  • Traffic resumes in Suez Canal after shipping accident | Mada Masr


Egypt ranks 129th in World Economic Forum gender report
Egypt has ranked 129th out of 142 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, in a list topped by Iceland, Finland, and Norway. The report focuses on examining gender gaps between men and women in four key areas including health, education, economy, and politics. The World Economic Forum (WEF) quantitatively measures gender-based disparities and tracks them over time. Egypt’s ranking has deteriorated over time. While it ranked 109th in 2006, it dropped to 120th in 2007 and has wavered around the 120s since: 124th in 2008, 126th in 2009, 125th in 2010, 123rd in 2011, 126th in 2012, before reaching 125th in 2013. Kuwait is the leading Arab country in the list, ranking 113th. [Mada Masr, 4/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Cairo-Alexandria road reopened after residents protest kidnapping of girls | Ahram Online
  • Private TV channel hosts debate with controversial Islamic researcher Beheiry | Ahram Online
  • Former Mufti slams Islamic researcher for describing religious heritage as ‘rot’ | Egypt Independent
  • Cairo governorate puts in effect parking ban on 26th of July Street | Ahram Online
  • Loud speakers only for Azan and Friday sermons says Endowments ministry| Ahram Online
  • EGAS workers strike over ‘discrimination’ | DNE
  • Anti-death penalty group pleas to halt execution of seven citizens | DNE
  • AUC workers protest against management, threaten to escalate | Mada Masr, DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Dar al-Ifta expects war between takfiri organizations | Egypt Independent
  • Political analyst supports execution of Brotherhood members | Egypt Independent
  • Prominent novelist slams Sisi for demanding national unity | Egypt Independent
  • Newspaper distributors in Alexandria go on strike | Egypt Independent
  • Preacher attacks calls for women to unveil | Mada Masr


Interior ministry threatens legal action against newspaper amid deaths in custody
Egypt’s interior ministry said it would take “legal action” against what it said was an “unprofessional” news report in a private daily criticizing police practices, in a statement it released on Sunday. Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) daily published on Sunday a seven-page series of reports titled “The Police: Martyrs and Sins… Holes in the Official Uniform” highlighting what it described as the “coercive and arrogant” practices of police. The reports in AMAY address torture in police stations and prisons, rape, bribery, and how the ministry uses illiterate conscripts for “total obedience of orders” in the Central Security Forces. It also includes interviews with people saying the police have become worse than before the January 2011 uprising. Khaled al-Balshy, chairman of the Journalists’ Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee, said Sunday that the Interior Ministry’s response is a violation of the freedom of the press. The Lawyers’ Syndicate said in a statement that the report defends rights and freedoms, which is consistent with the directives of the president to the interior ministry. Meanwhile, two detainees died in the span of one week at the Masr al-Qadima police station, prompting prosecutors to open an investigation. A 41-year-old detainee died on Saturday in the police station while another was also reported dead three days earlier. The ministry of interior said they died due to “circulatory failure.” Primary investigations show they died due to a lack of ventilation and overcrowding, with 380 detainees in a cell meant to take only 100. The police station is also facing additional accusations of torture from the families of two detainees.  The Misr al-Qadima prosecutor ordered on Saturday the formation of a medical committee to examine detainees inside the district’s police station following the two deaths. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, DNE, Egypt Independent, 4/20/2015]

Five killed, seven injured in attacks in Matariya, Daqahliya, and Sinai
An Egyptian army captain and two other soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Rafah, near the border with the Gaza Strip on Monday, security and medical sources said. The Islamic State affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, six people were injured, including two army conscripts and a four-year old girl, when a bomb went off in Cairo’s Matariya district late on Sunday. The bomb was planted on a tram railway. Two people were killed and one injured on Sunday in Daqahliya province, in a shootout on the international road near Gamasa city. Security sources said that three attackers opened fire at a security point near Delta University, when police shot back. The attackers tried to escape, but the police manage to shoot two of them, injuring the third. No policemen were injured. According to the army spokesman, Egypt’s armed forces killed fifty-seven suspected militants in raids it conducted in North Sinai during the past ten days. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 4/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian police should use ‘non-traditional’ security techniques says Interior Minister | Ahram Online
  • Security evacuates Cairo University campus after clashes | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Third military cadet dies after last week’s Kafr al-Sheikh attack | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Terror attacks in first three months of 2015 equal to entire 2014 | DNE
  • Government considers extending Sinai curfew another three months | Egypt Independent
  • Sinai Chamber of Commerce rejects extension of curfew | Egypt Independent
  • Terrorist group hacks newspaper Facebook page for second time | Egypt Independent
  • Death in police custody: The case of Kareem Hamdy | DNE
  • Upper Egypt train traffic stopped as Brotherhood supporters burn tires | Egypt Independent


Sisi, Shoukry meet with high-level US officials
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met on Sunday with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director to explore means of reinforcing bilateral relations and discuss the latest regional and international developments, the presidency said in a statement. According to the statement, Sisi and CIA Director John Brennan stressed the importance of bilateral strategic relations and laying the foundations for peace and stability in the Middle East. The head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Major General Khaled Fawzi and US Ambassador to Cairo Stephen Beecroft attended the meeting. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also met on Sunday the US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS John Allen and met on Monday with US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller to discuss preparations for the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference that will convene next week in New York. Another meeting is set to take place in New York on April 27 between Shoukry, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Gouda to discuss developments in Yemen. [Aswat Masriya, SIS, Ahram Online, DNE, AP, 4/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Arab citizens file for asylum in Europe’s fledgling Liberland | Mada Masr, Ahram Online
  • 1,460 Egyptians exit from Yemen since airstrikes | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, | DNE
  • Yemenis stuck in Egypt continue requests for help | DNE
  • Yemen sets up airlift to transfer stranded nationals back from Egypt | Aswat Masriya
  • Pope Tawadros II travels to Armenia for genocide memorial | Ahram Online
  • Egypt sends delegation for Armenian genocide centennial | Ahram Online
  • UK archbishop in ‘condolence’ visit to Egypt | Ahram Online
  • President Sisi tells Archbishop of Canterbury Christians ‘not a minority’ in Egypt | DNE
  • Shoukry’s Europe trip ‘achieved goals’ for supporting Egypt | DNE
  • Shoukry, Lavrov discuss regional conflicts | DNE
  • Grand Mufti heads to Europe in efforts to combat radical Islam | DNE
  • Houthi foreign allies criticize Egypt’s support of Saudi-led airstrikes | DNE
  • Sisi to visit Cyprus and Spain later in April | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt condemns killing of Ethiopian Christians by ISIS in Libya | SIS 
  • Defense Minister meets with Greek counterpart | SIS
  • Armenian Egyptians commemorate 100th anniversary of Armenian genocide | Egypt Independent
  • Sudanese judiciary to review detained fishermen case within two weeks | DNE
  • 150,000 acres to be cultivated under Egyptian-Sudanese agricultural integration program | Egypt Independent