Top News: Ismailia Detainee Dies in Custody; Interior Ministry Will Not Tolerate Individual Police Violations

Two people died last weekend in police stations in Luxor and Ismailia, amid allegations of torture. In response to a backlash, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement Sunday saying said there is a no tolerance policy with regards to individual violations from policemen. Abu Bakr Abdel Karim, Deputy Minister for Public Relations and Media, also said the Ministry of Interior does not protect any policeman who mistreats a citizen or violates the law. He added that the cases, which he described as “individual acts,” were referred to the prosecution or to internal questioning for “administrative violations.” The Ministry of Interior suspended a police officer in Ismailia on Friday pending an investigation into the death of a man in his custody, said an anonymous prosecution source. The policeman is accused of torturing veterinarian Afifi Hosni to death in a police station on Thursday. The circumstances behind Hosni’s arrest are not clear. Meanwhile, media reports citing security sources suggest that a policeman accused of torturing Talaat Shabib to death in Luxor earlier this week was transferred from his post at the al-Awameya police station. On Friday, hundreds marched across Luxor to protest Shabib’s death, with demonstrators demanding the dismissal of the head of al-Awameya police station. The Luxor prosecution released Thursday 24 people arrested on charges of illegal assembly in front of the police station. Meanwhile, four police officers were reportedly questioned in relation to Shabib’s death. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party has called for the dismissal of the Interior Minister and announced its solidarity with the Luxor and Ismailia residents against the torture of detainees at police stations, while former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei condemned the latest reports of torture. [DNE, Ahram Online, 11/30/2015]


Over 340 winning parliamentary candidates named; Expats start voting in run-offs
Just over 340 winners in Egypt’s parliamentary elections have been officially named as members of parliament. A total of 426 candidates are contesting another 213 individual seats; 239 of whom are independents and the remaining 187 are party affiliated. Egyptian expatriates started to cast their votes on Monday in the run-offs for these seats in the second phase of the parliamentary elections, with ambassadors noting low turnout in the morning. According to the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) nineteen women are participating in the runoffs, while Ahram Online reports that dozens of figures prominent under former autocratic president Hosni Mubarak also qualified. The Administrative Court rejected Saturday all 56 appeals contesting the results of round one of the second phase of parliamentary elections in Cairo, while the State Council rejected 26 appeals contesting results in Kafr al-Sheikh. Results in one Daqahleya constituency were ruled invalid, with the Mansoura Administrative Court saying votes would be recast. The High Elections Committee (HEC) said turnout in the first round of the second phase was 29.83 percent. South Sinai and Kafr al-Sheikh had the highest voting turnouts with 41.06 percent and 36.82 percent respectively. Suez saw the lowest turnout with 18.1 percent, while Cairo came second to last with 19.96 percent. Sameh Seif al-Yazal, Rapporteur for the For the Love of Egypt electoral list, which secured all 120 party seats, said its members would not oppose the policies of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He added, however, that they would oppose the government. Meanwhile, it remains unclear how expat members of parliament will participate in parliamentary sessions. [DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Reuters, 11/30/2015]

Sisi’s committee to improve values, morals sparks debate
At a presidential meeting Wednesday with a consultative council of experts and scholars, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi agreed to establish a committee to “improve values, conscience and promote work ethics and a sense of belonging,” the presidency said in a statement. The committee is set to work directly under Sisi’s auspices. The committee is the brainchild of psychiatrist Ahmed Okasha who presented the proposal, suggesting methods and projects to develop values through grassroots initiatives that would change behaviours generally. Commenting on the proposal, human rights lawyer Yasmin Hossam told Aswat Masriya that “it’s an attempt by the government to drum up nationalist sentiment,” noting that developed countries don’t form committees to “guide” people’s values and morals. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s cabinet approves draft illegal migration law against smugglers | Ahram Online
  • Egypt cancels reservations on African Child Rights Charter | AMAY, Mada Masr
  • Sisi inaugurates Port Said project, speaks of countering terrorism through development | DNE, Mada Masr
  • Analysts, parties praise Sisi’s Port Said speech | DNE


Mona al-Iraqi sentenced to six months in prison in relation to Cairo bathhouse case
A Cairo court on Thursday sentenced controversial TV presenter Mona Iraqi to six months in jail for defaming and spreading lies about a number of men in the central Cairo bathhouse incident. Iraqi was also ordered to pay bail of EGP 1,000 and a fine of EGP 10,000. Iraqi still has the right to appeal the ruling. The general prosecution accused Iraqi of defaming a number of men who were charged with “debauchery,” and later acquitted, after she filmed a police raid on a central Cairo bathhouse. She was also accused of broadcasting false news on Al-Qahera Wal Nas TV channel. Iraqi was previously sentenced to six months in prison in a separate case, after filming a man without his consent. [DNE, Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 11/26/2015]

Justice Ministry announces creation of special courts for violence against women
Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend announced on Sunday the creation of special courts for cases involving violence against women, in order to ensure they are processed quickly. Zend made the announcement during a conference organized by the Arab Women Foundation in collaboration with the Arab League, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women, under the title “Arab Women in the Development Agenda 2015-2020.” Amal Fahmy, executive director of the Blogging Center for Social Gender Studies, believes the idea is good in principle, but that not enough information is available to judge how effective it will be in practice. [Mada Masr, AMAY, 11/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial of Badie, 104 others adjourned to December 7 | DNE
  • Doctors’ Syndicate determined to apply infection allowance ruling | DNE
  • Warraq boat trail fist session postponed to December 5 | DNE
  • Irrigation Minister drops charges against renowned professor | DNE
  • Foreign Ministry appeals court ruling obliging renewal of politician’s passport | AMAY


Egypt’s subsidies in July, August nearly triple in year-on-year rise
Subsidies in July and August 2015 cost the Egyptian government EGP 15.8 billion, a 300 percent increase from the EGP 5.3 billion in subsidies paid in the same months in 2014, the state’s statistics agency CAPMAS said on Saturday. CAPMAS said in a press release that the General Authority for Supply Commodities, which buys staples like wheat on behalf of the state, has dominated subsidy allowances, accounting for EGP 8.3 billion, double the spend of EGP 4.4 billion last year. A sum of EGP 6.7 billion in subsidies was reported under a category titled “other.” This is more than eight times the amount of EGP 0.8 reported in this section last year. Government financial institutions also took up EGP 0.8 billion, again eight times as much as they did in those two month last year. [Aswat Masriya, 11/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt reshuffles central bank coordinating council, includes Oqdah | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
  • Egypt targets 5-5.5 percent growth, 9- 9.5 percent budget deficit in 2016/17 says Ministry | Ahram Online
  • Afreximbank offers to improve Egypt’s FX liquidity with $1 billion facility | Ahram Online
  • Sisi appoints Mubarak-era minister head of the Suez Canal’s economic zone | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt offers to replace Turkish imports banned by Russia | DNE, AMAY
  • Egypt inaugurates MENA’s largest wind power station along Red Sea | Ahram Online
  • Garments export crisis exacerbated as EgyptAir suspends shipping on passenger flights | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt expects to start power output from first nuclear reactor by 2024 | Reuters, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • $25 billion in Russian funds for Egypt’s first nuclear plant says newspaper | Egypt Independent
  • Auction yields on Egypt’s 1.5-yr and 3-yr rise, 7-yr T-bonds drop | Reuters
  • Egypt M2 money supply up 19.6 percent in October | Reuters
  • Egypt stocks slip amid FX uncertainty | Reuters
  • Egyptian pound steady at first forex auction under new CBE governor | Reuters
  • Egypt domestic wheat and imports to remain stable next year says Supply Minister | Reuters
  • Egyptian, Israeli companies reaffirm commitment to gas import deal | Mada Masr


Egypt’s pope breaks 35-year Jerusalem visit ban for funeral
The Egyptian head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros, made a rare visit to Jerusalem to preside over the funeral on Saturday of a Coptic bishop. This marks the first visit of its kind since 1967. The previous Coptic pope, who opposed the normalization of ties between Egypt and Israel, banned worshippers from traveling to Jerusalem more than three decades ago. Following domestic criticism of the visit, the Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement saying that the pope did not obtain an Israeli visa, nor did he meet with any Israeli officials. The statement added that the church’s position towards Jerusalem remains unchanged, and that Pope Tawadros opposes normalization with Israel. The Coptic Church stressed the visit was not a political statement, but was merely a religious obligation to attend the Bishop of Jerusalem’s funeral after he passed away on Wednesday. Spokesperson of the Coptic Orthodox Church Father Boules Halim told Ahram Online that this is an “exceptional situation.” The pope also turned down an invitation by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the city of Ramallah, saying he won’t “visit” the Palestinian land without Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam. [DNE, AP, Reuters, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 11/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Rights groups demand revocation of protest law | DNE, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent
  • Al-Azhar Grand Imam warns of attempts to spread Shia Islam in Egypt | Mada Masr
  • Job-seeking PhD graduates return to Tahrir Square in protest | AMAY
  • Security forces disperse protest by PhD, master’s holders, make arrests | DNE, Mada Masr
  • Egypt releases 31 graduates detained over unlawful protest | AP
  • HRDO denounces arrest of PhD, master’s protesters | Egypt Independent
  • 5,000 workers on strike at food company in Beheira | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s water and sewage systems need around EGP 1 billion for upgrade | Ahram Online, AMAY
  • CAPMAS says Egypt population to reach 90 million by December 6 | MENA
  • Controversial TV host Reham Saeed to return to work | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr


ISIS claims responsibility for killing four Egyptian policemen in Giza
Sinai State, the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) affiliated militant group in Egypt, claimed responsibility for killing four policemen in Giza on Saturday. The Ministry of the Interior’s official spokesman released a statement about the attack, saying that masked assailants on a motorcycle opened fire on a police vehicle, killing two officers and two conscripts near the Aboul Nomros police station in the south of Cairo near the Giza pyramids. The incident occurred days after the Sinai State claimed another attack on an al-Arish hotel that killed seven people, including two judges, four policemen, and one civilian during Egypt’s second phase of parliamentary elections. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Father of suspected Arish hotel bomber says son was missing for five months | Ahram Online
  • North Sinai judge’s assassination attack on a symbol of Egypt’s democratic process says US embassy | Ahram Online
  • Military helicopter crashes in Egypt’s Cairo-Ismailia Road | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Ministry offers support to flagging airlines | DNE
  • Suspicious object delays Turkish flight from Cairo | DNE, AMAY
  • Egypt rounds up thirty-eight Brotherhood members in fresh sweeps | Anadolu Agency
  • Egyptian guard killed in Madaba by unidentified men | MENA


Egypt, France agree to boost cooperation
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with several French and international officials on the sidelines of the United Nations climate conference in Paris, agreeing to boost cooperation with France in light of recent events. Sisi attended the summit as a representative for African nations to the UN. At the summit, he met with French President Francois Hollande and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, expressing his condolences for the victims of the recent Paris terror attacks, stressing that Egypt stands with France while they face this challenge. According to a statement released by the Egyptian presidency, Sisi lauded the level of cooperation between Egypt and France, especially on military matters. Both sides agreed to increase military cooperation in order to fight the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist organization. They also discussed the latest developments in the MENA region, in particular the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Libya, and Sisi reaffirmed the importance of a joint effort to combat terrorism in Africa. Additionally, Sisi discussed the importance of continued cooperation in combating terrorism with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. During the visit, Sisi also met with Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of the Rafale fighter jets that Egypt has received partial delivery on as part of an arms deal with France. Trappier expressed his hopes for continued collaboration with Egypt, stressing Egypt’s role in achieving stability in the Middle East. [DNE, 11/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt-US relations are progressively improving says Egyptian Foreign Ministry | Ahram Online
  • US Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says ousting Mubarak was a mistake | Ahram Online
  • Scientists offer new perspective on Russian jet downing | DW
  • Egypt supports day of solidarity with Palestinians | DNE
  • Al-Azhar to convene international conference on Israeli violations against Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque | Ahram Online
  • Two Egyptians killed by airstrike in Libya says Egypt’s Foreign Ministry | Ahram Online, MENA
  • Egyptian diplomat says France recommends only essential travel to Sharm, no ban in place | Ahram Online