Top News: Justice Minister Resigns Amid Criticism over Classist Remarks

Egypt’s Justice Minister resigned on Monday after raising a public uproar by saying in a TV interview that the children of sanitation workers are too lowly to become judges. The Sunday night comments by the minister, Mahfouz Saber, brought a heavy backlash on social media from Egyptians denouncing elitism and what some saw as the arrogance of Egypt’s judiciary, already under criticism for harsh sentences against government opponents. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said in a statement that Saber resigned out of “respect for public opinion.” In response to a question by the show host on whether the children of garbage collectors can become judges, the minister said, “With all due respect to cleaners,” judges should “hail from an appropriate environment.” Shehata al-Moqadis, the head of the Garbage Collectors Syndicate criticized the comments saying, “I see no social justice in this,” he said. “How can he deprive certain parts of the Egyptian society of their rights?” Former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei said the minister’s remarks reflect an absence of justice. Transitional Justice Minister Ibrahim al-Heneidy will head the Ministry of Justice until the appointment of a new minister. [Ahram OnlineMada MasrEgypt IndependentAswat MasriyaAPSIS, 5/12/2015]


ElBaradei says failure to honor post-Morsi roadmap behind resignation
The failure to honor the political roadmap that was laid out following former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in 2013 was behind the resignation of former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate has said. Speaking during the State of the Union Conference held in Italy from May 6-9, ElBaradei said he decided to take the opposition’s side during the uprising against Morsi’s government with the hope of establishing an inclusive political system that comprises all social groups, including Islamists. What happened later, however, was against the roadmap he had approved. In his show on al-Youm satellite channel, Amr Adib called upon the presidency and the cabinet to respond to ElBaradei’s comments. [Egypt Independent, 5/12/2015]

Also of Interest


Egyptian activist Mahienour El-Masry arrested again
An Alexandria court ordered the arrest of activist and human rights lawyer Mahienour al-Masry on Monday, during the appeal to a court case in which Masry and nine others were sentenced to two years in prison last February. Masry, who attended Monday’s court session, was detained by the police pending trial. The court has set May 31 as the date for a verdict in the appeal. In the case, the defendants were accused of storming the Al-Raml police station in Alexandria and attacking its officers as well as torching Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in March 2013. The location of Masry and another activist, Youssef Shaaban, remained unknown for several hours, after they were ordered detained on Monday. The defendant’s’ lawyer, Mohamed Ramadan, told Daily News Egypt: “They are now in Al-Labban police station, which is not their normal place of detention. They were trying to mislead us yesterday.” According to Ramadan, the defendants were supposed to be released on bail until a verdict session on 31 May, on charges of demonstrating violence, but placing them in detention was merely “a political resolution.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 5/12/2015]

Egypt committee rejects footballer Abou Treika’s petition to unfreeze assets
The government committee assigned to seize the properties and finances of members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood rejected on Monday popular footballer Mohamed Abou Treika’s petition against freezing his assets. On Friday, the committee had issued a statement saying it decided to confiscate the assets of Ashab Tours, a tourism company which was co-founded in 2013 by Abou-Treika and an unnamed member of the Brotherhood. Aboutrika vowed on his personal twitter account to “resume legal procedures,” shortly after the decision to turn down the challenge was issued. The committee’s head, Ezzat Khamis said that the body looked into Abou Treika’s challenge and decided to turn it down due to the tourism company’s “involvement in funding terrorist operations which occurred recently against the military and the police” and for other “confidential” reasons. He added that the committee confiscated all Abou Treika’s belongings and bank accounts and not only the tourism company. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 5/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court upholds pre-trial detention of photojournalist Shawkan | DNE
  • Government to discusses Hussein Salem’s proposal for reconciliation | Egypt Independent
  • Police officer detained for taking out driver’s eye | DNE
  • After 496 days in prison, photojournalist Ziada speaks out | DNE
  • Sixteen Brotherhood members sentenced to three years in Damietta over protests | Egypt Independent


Egypt’s Central Bank says $15 billion provided for import needs over four months
The Central Bank of Egypt and local banks have provided around $15 billion for imports over the past four months, according to the bank’s governor Hisham Ramez. Ramez said the bank will not revoke a decision to impose a $10,000 daily ceiling for cash deposits in hard currency for individuals and companies. He said the decision aims to address the black market and create a unified official market. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab called on banks to facilitate access to credit needed to import food commodities, production requirements, and fuel. [Cairo Post, 5/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt, Italy sign airlines development deal | Ahram Online
  • Company facing defamation campaign by a foreign investor: ETA | DNE
  • GAFI to dismiss Egyptian Automotive & Trading Co chairman| DNE
  • 90 percent of cement factories agree to use coal in their production: Industrial Development Authority | DNE
  • Egypt expects coal investments worth $30 billion in next five years says minister | Aswat Masriya


More than 300 journalists to join strike on June 10, says Balshy
Over 300 journalists have signed the petition by Deputy Head of the Journalists’ Syndicate Khaled al-Balshy on staging a strike on June 10 to voice their demands regarding fair salaries and social and economic rights.  He added that the strike aims to address the violations of rights of journalists and media professional in addition to layoffs and delays in salaries. Representatives of various media outlets will be selected to form a committee to propose additional measures and coordinate among journalists and institutions. [Egypt Independent, 5/12/2015]

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Sixteen students injured in Damanhour drive-by shooting
Sixteen students at an industrial high school in Egypt’s Nile delta Beheira governorate were injured in a birdshot-drive-by shooting by unknown assailants. The students, who did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, were treated at Damanhour General Hospital before they were discharged. In related news, armed men fired at a police checkpoint on the Cairo-Fayoum road on Tuesday, triggering panic among drivers. Police at the checkpoint returned fire, and the assailants escaped. No injuries were reported, and investigations into the incident are underway. [Ahram Online, 5/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ‘Inadequate’ detention halls in Old Cairo police station – medical report |  Aswat Masriya
  • North Sinai militants have already decreased operations: Al-Tarabeen member | DNE
  • Two children killed playing with IED in Beheira | Egypt Independent
  • “No one is safe” warns new Egyptian Center for Combating Terrorism | Mada Masr


Amnesty International urges Egypt, Tunisia open borders with Libya for refugees
Amnesty International has called on Egypt and Tunisia to open their borders with Libya to guarantee safe passage and shelter for refugees, saying that restrictions imposed by both countries leave migrants and refugees with no other route out of the country but embarking on a unsafe sea trip to Europe. “The world cannot continue to ignore its obligation to grant sanctuary to anyone fleeing such dreadful abuse,”said Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther in a report on Monday. Amnesty International also called on wealthy countries to increase the number of resettlement places available for refugees. It also urged the international community to take effective steps to confront human rights and international humanitarian law violations by all sides of the conflict in Libya. [Egypt Independent, 5/12/2015]

Middle East nuclear weapons ban proposal stumbles at UN
A UN attempt to work out a ban on nuclear weapons in the Middle East was in jeopardy after Egypt complained on Monday about the lack of progress and demanded the resignation of the Finnish coordinator of the initiative. Western officials said Arab proposals drafted by Egypt for a major nuclear non-proliferation conference at United Nations headquarters in New York could torpedo the process and push Israel to walk away. The head of Egypt’s delegation, Assistant Foreign Minister Hashim Badr, rejected any suggestion that Cairo was a spoiler and insisted that he wanted to move the process forward, not kill it. “Egypt has come to New York to secure a conference (on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East), we want a conference,” Badr said in an interview. “This is a key issue for Egypt for a long time, for decades, since 1974-75.” Failure to reach an agreement at the NPT conference could kill the Middle East nuclear ban initiative, diplomats said. [Reuters, 5/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • 2000-year-old Egyptian mummy to go on display after being left at dump | The Guardian
  • Egypt and Djibouti agree on Red Sea security says Foreign Minister | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, SIS
  • Foreign ministry following up on Egyptian detainees in Libya | DNE
  • Campaign launched to support stranded Yemenis in Egypt |DNE
  • Egypt sends Nepal humanitarian aid | Cairo Post
  • Saleh’s fate to be decided in Cairo, says party senior member | Cairo Post
  • Mahlab to meet French Defense Minister in Paris | Cairo Post