Top News: Kerry Reassures Egypt over Apache Delivery

Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart on Friday that the United States intends to make good on its promise to deliver ten Apache helicopters to help Cairo’s counterterrorism efforts.


Egypt’s political figures reject Islamist politician’s reconciliation initiative
A wide range of Egyptian political figures and parties have denounced a former Islamist MP’s reconciliation attempt to make peace between the government and Muslim Brotherhood. In a press conference in his home town of Kom Ombo in the Aswan governorate on Sunday, Mohamed al-Omda, fresh out of a year-long stint in jail on charges of instigating violence following Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, proposed a seven-part initiative that he said “would save the country.” At the heart of the initiative is treating President Abdel Fattah’s term as a transitional period to “reach to an understanding between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Islamist figures including Yahia Hamed, a leading Brotherhood member and former investment minister, Hatem Azam, vice chairman of the moderate Islamist al-Wasat Party, and Kamal al-Helbawy, a former leading Brotherhood member and researcher on Islamist groups, rejected the initiative. Liberal groups were also mostly opposed to Omda’s initiative, including the Tamarod movement and the leftist Tagammu Party. Meanwhile, the Political Parties Affairs Committee filed charges against the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Construction and Development Party (CDP) on Monday, demanding that it be dissolved immediately, the party’s official Facebook page reported. Former CDP member Rabei Shalaby filed the complaint against the party. The party condemned such charges, adding that “this is a systematic campaign by the coup” to dissolve all Islamist entities which refuse the current regime. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/2/2014]

Egypt extends deadline for NGOs to register or face investigation
Egypt’s Ministry of Solidarity extended on Sunday a deadline for NGOs to register with the ministry or face legal investigation, a statement by the National Human Rights Council read. The extension moves the deadline forward another 45 days until November 10. The decision is the result of several requests by the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), the General Union for Non Government Organizations and other civil society institutions. An NCHR statement also called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to pass a draft law, currently being reviewed by the cabinet, which civil society organizations drafted along with the government to replace law 84. The temporary reprieve is of scant comfort to the threatened parties, who fear it merely delays the inevitable. The decision came as forty-five international and national human rights NGOs issued a joint statement Saturday refusing to register under the Mubarak-era law. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, DNE, 8/31/2014]

Also of Interest:
Calls to delay Egypt’s parliamentary polls divide political figures | Ahram Online
Cabinet requests amending protest law to include tougher penalties | Egypt Independent
Egyptian president ratifies Suez Canal Investment Certificates law | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
Egypt’s Al-Azhar to invest EGP 250,000 in Suez Canal project | Ahram Online
Constitution Party head Shukrallah says it won’t ally with old regime | Ahram Online
‘A merger between Wafd and Sabbahi’s coalition is a matter of time,’ says Sadat | Ahram Online
Sisi urges compensation for governorates excluded from border demarcation plans | Aswat Masriya
Minister warns of Brotherhood teams ready to kill and destroy | DNE
Social Justice Coalition members increase to 27 | DNE
Report to be handed to Sisi about Torgoman area: Syndicate leader | DNE
Withdrawal of Al-Wasat Party from Anti-Coup Alliance receives mixed reactions | DNE


MB leader’s death sentence amended to life in prison, lawyer released on bail
Giza Criminal Court commuted the death sentences of several leading Muslim Brotherhood figures, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and seven others, to life in prison on Saturday. Six others, including al-Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Assem Abdel Meguid, were sentenced to death in absentia, state-owned MENA reported. The defendants were found guilty of killing ten people and injuring 20 others during violent clashes around the Istiqama Mosque in Giza last July. Badie, as well as Brotherhood leaders Mohamed al-Beltagy, Bassem Ouda, Essam al-Erian, Al-Husseini Antar, Essam Ragab, Mohamed Gomaa and Safwat Hegazy were sentenced to life in prison, while Abdel Maguid, Ezzat Gouda, Anwar Shaltout, Abdel Razeq Mahmoud, Azab Yakout and Mohamed Radwan were sentenced to death. The court also ordered the 14 defendants to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds as compensation to the families of the two killed victims in the case. Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud was released on EGP 100,000 bail on Tuesday pending trial. Finally, Cairo’s court of appeals for urgent matters ruled to renege on a May decision to put the Pharmacists’ Syndicate under judicial supervision, due to claims that the Muslim Brotherhood controls the syndicate. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/2/2014]

Court dismisses appeal on Mubarak-era politicians’ ban from elections
The Administrative Court said on Sunday it lacks the proper jurisdiction to rule over banning leaders of the National Democratic Party of former President Hosni Mubarak to run for parliamentary elections. An Egyptian court annulled on July 14 a previous ruling banning Mubarak’ party leaders from running for the coming elections. Sunday’s court decision upholds that NDP members can still run for elections. [Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 8/31/2014]

HRW witness on Raba’a al-Adaweya dispersal arrested
Alexandria security services arrested on Saturday former teaching assistant of Alexandria University’s Faculty of Sciences Mohamed Tarek, Muslim Brotherhood member and eyewitness who gave testimony to Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report on dispersal of Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in. Tarek is accused of running several Facebook pages that incite against police and military, and was reportedly among eight people arrested during a protest against police and military in Alexandria. He has also been accused of illegal public assembly, blocking traffic, and membership of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. HRW warned Egyptian police “the further they go down the road of repression, the louder calls for accountability will grow,” after his arrest. [Egypt Independent, 9/2/2014]

State Commissioner to rule on criminalizing use of Raba’a sign
The Administrative Court referred a lawsuit to the State’s Commissioner Authority asking the government to issue a law to criminalize the use of the Raba’a al-Adaweya hand gesture. The lawsuit was filed by Tarek Mahmoud, legal advisor for the Popular Front against the “Brotherhoodization” of Egypt. According to Mahmoud, the Raba’a sign is related to violence and vandalism. “Wherever there is a Raba’a sign there is violence, as the Raba’a sign is a sign for the initiation of violence wherever it’s raised,” he said. Amr Hassan, a lawyer for the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), said that a criminalization would violate freedom of expression. [DNE, 8/31/2014]

April 6 members face prosecution after spending night in security camp
Ten members of the 6 April Ahmed Maher Front face prosecution after security forces arrested them during a memorial gathering in front of Boulaq al-Dakrour Court on Monday. The detainees face charges of road blocking, illegal assembly, protesting without a permit and using fireworks. A statement on the group’s Facebook page says “around 30” of their members were arrested, including two leading members. The members were arrested as police dispersed a rally commemorating April 6’s Ahmed al-Masry, who was shot dead exactly one year ago while covering the police’s dispersal of a Muslim Brotherhood protest. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/2/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian police officer detained over rejection of marriage proposal murder | Ahram Online
Corruption charges against Mubarak-era TV chief dropped | Ahram Online
Cairo court adjourns Brotherhood ‘Supreme Bureau’ case to Sept 8 | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
36 Zamalek soccer fans detained for 15 days | Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, DNE
17 rights groups urge Arab foreign ministers to reject Arab Court proposal | DNE
Seven protesters acquitted, three others released on bail in Alexandria | DNE
Police officer detained for sexually assaulting handicapped girl | DNE
Egyptian businessman to request investigation into Dutch journalist | DNE


Egypt to borrow $1.4 billion to pay foreign oil debts
A consortium of local banks is set to secure a EGP 10 billion loan ($1.4 billion) for the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to pay back debts to foreign oil companies. Loan will repay around 25 percent of $6 billion debt to foreign oil companies working in Egypt, amid drive to increase foreign investment. [Ahram Online, 9/2/2014]

Overview of Egypt banking sector performance over FY 2013/2014

Over the fiscal year (FY) 2013/2014, Egypt’s banking sector has provided the government with steadier footing, providing loans through treasury bonds to fill the budget deficit. Even with their major role in securing the economy, the banks have managed to record consistent profits. [DNE, 8/30/2014]   

Also of Interest:
UAE to give Egypt $8.7 billion worth of petroleum products for a year | Reuters
Suez Canal project investment certificates available in Egyptian pounds only | Ahram Online
Egypt keeps interest rates unchanged on inflation risks | Ahram Online, Reuters
Egypt indices inch upwards after sideways session on Monday | Ahram Online
Egypt revises July inflation rate up to reflect impact of government price hikes | Ahram Online, Reuters
Egypt foreign reserves close to July level: Central bank governor | Reuters
Egyptian government, activists fail to see eye-to-eye on labor law reform | Ahram Online
Egypt working to save the Bali Agreement from collapsing: Trade Minister | Aswat Masriya
Egypt pound steady on official and black markets | Reuters
Government starts using solar energy to generate electricity | Egypt Independent
Number of tourists fell by 20.5 percent  in June 2014 | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s tourism revenues fall by 95 percent since 2011 | The Guardian


Cairo University to ban politically affiliated student groups
Cairo University will not allow any politically affiliated student groups on campus in the new academic year, university head Gaber Nassar said on Sunday. Nassar said that student groups would be dissolved if they were used for any political or partisan activities. Several faculty deans came out in support of Nassar’s statement. His decision comes on the heels of similar actions taken by other university presidents who threatened to suspend any students who offend or incite against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi or any other “symbols of the state.” Ain Shams and Beni Suef Universities have already instituted this rule, while Cairo University says it is still studying the measure. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/1/2014]

Freedom for the Brave: Security forces coerce detainees into ending hunger strike
Security forces threatened to tear gas 34 detainees held at Ain Shams Police Station, coercing them into ending the hunger strike they had begun earlier in the day, according to a statement released by the Freedom to the Brave group. On Sunday night, the detainees had declared a hunger strike after they were reportedly beaten for calling for medical help for a fellow inmate, as well as for having their personal belongings stolen. Security forces responded by firing tear gas to force them to end the strike. The Ministry of Interior’s press office denied the incident, saying: “There are no strikes in Ain Sham police station.” Detained journalist Ahmed Gamal Zyada was also threatened in order to end his hunger strike, reported Freedom for the Brave. According to Zyada’s brother Mohamed, the head of investigation at Abu Zaabal prison threatened him with relocation to a solitary confinement cell. [Mada Masr, DNE, 9/1/2-14]

Also of Interest:
Two children killed in Upper Egypt building collapses | Ahram Online, DNE
82 percent of Egyptians approve of Sisi’s performance: Baseera | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
Egyptian police disperse Ahrar anti-police, anti-military protest | Ahram Online
Minister of education denies postponement of academic year start | Aswat Masriya
Azhar University considers closing down dorms to avoid violence | Mada Masr
Egyptian government serves political Islam: EIPR | DNE
Cairo University professors protest against colleague’s arrest | DNE
Egypt’s Dar-al-Ifta prohibits online chats between men and women | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Men-women online chatting ban taken out of context: Dar al-Ifta | Ahram Online


Eleven soldiers killed in North Sinai roadside bombing
Eleven security personnel were killed in North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid on Tuesday after an IED exploded, state news agency MENA reported. Four other security personnel were injured. Security sources said that unknown assailants planted the device. Meanwhile, six alleged militants were killed and ten arrested in North Sinai late Sunday, state news agency MENA reported. Fayez Abdallah Hamdan Abu-Sheta, the key suspect in the kidnapping of a number of security personnel last year, was also killed by security forces in North Sinai on Sunday, together with a second militant and a teenage girl. Three army and police officers were injured in clashes with gunmen during a raid in Masaeed neighborhood in Arish City in North Sinai Sunday. [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/2/2014]

Two more decapitated bodies found in North Sinai
Two young men’s bodies have been found decapitated in Egypt’s North Sinai, south of Rafah city, early Sunday morning. Local witnesses told Aswat Masriya that unidentified assailants kidnapped the two men the previous day and that their corpses were found later in a desert area. Police say they are investigating the incident and suggest that “jihadists could be behind it.” Ten days ago, four decapitated bodies were similarly found in the peninsula. A fifth beheaded body was found on Friday. [Ahram Online, 8/31/2014]

Also of Interest:
Border guard killed in car chase in Wadi al-Gedid | Ahram Online
Egyptian authorities re-open Salloum border crossing to Egyptian trucks | Ahram Online
Egyptian police arrest two alleged members of Cairo militant group | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Stampede at Egypt’s Sharqiya army institute kills nine | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent
Brotherhood members set police vehicle on fire at 6 October city | Egypt Independent
Ain Shams police station set on fire | Egypt Independent
Egyptian shot dead in Libya | DNE


Kerry reassures Egypt over Apache delivery
Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart on Friday that the United States intends to make good on its promise to deliver ten Apache helicopters to help Cairo’s counterterrorism efforts. Kerry announced in June that he was “confident” Egypt would receive the helicopter gunships soon, and reiterated that in his phone call to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, a senior State Department official said. “Secretary Kerry informed Shoukry that the United States intends to move forward on deliveries of Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military, which we believe are a critical tool that will help the Egyptian government in its counterterrorism efforts,” the official said. In an effort to improve ties, Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdi Loza met Tuesday a United States’ congressional delegation, headed by House of Representatives member Chris Stewart, to discuss developments in bilateral relations between the two countries. The delegation included members from the armed services, intelligence, budget, science and homeland security committees. Meanwhile, the new United States ambassador to Cairo, Robert Stephen Beecroft, is expected to arrive in Egypt late September, succeeding Anne Patterson who left in August. [Ahram Online, AFP, DNE, 9/1/2014]

Also of Interest:
Shoukry calls on Europe to support anti-terrorism efforts | DNE, Aswat Masriya
Shoukry to visit Ethiopia after Europe tour | DNE
Ethiopia excludes three dams from Khartoum talks with Egypt | Al Monitor
Egypt slams Israel plan to seize Palestinian land | Ahram Online, DNE
Egyptian Al-Azhar delegation visits Gaza’s Shejaiya | Ahram Online
Iran keen on seeing Egypt revive international and regional role | DNE
Shoukry meets with Omani Foreign Minister | DNE