Top News: Leading Muslim Brotherhood Figure Dies in Jail

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official died in Egypt on Wednesday after more than a year in detention, the interior ministry said in a statement. Farid Ismail, a former lawmaker and official in the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Brotherhood’s political arm, died in a Cairo hospital of liver failure aged 58, medical and police officials said. The ministry said Ismail’s death had received treatment for liver cirrhosis and Hepatitis C. Ismail’s family and the Muslim Brotherhood accused prison authorities of negligence, and of deliberately leaving the health of the deceased leader to deteriorate without proper medical care. “We asked the court multiple times in the past month to move him to an outside hospital because his health was deteriorating,” his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told Reuters. “The court agreed but the prison never implemented (the order).” Reuters could not immediately reach a judicial official for comment on the allegations. Ismail was sentenced to seven years on charges of rioting and protesting. [DNE , Reuters, Ahram Online, Mada Masr, AFP, 5/14/2015]


Egyptian president meets with Badawy over Wafd Party crisis
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Wednesday with Wafd Party leader al-Sayed al-Badawy along with other officials to discuss the latest crisis facing the party.  The internal political crisis rocking Egypt’s oldest liberal party has been on the rise since late April. Following the meeting with SIsi, Badawy said he will be meeting with the party’s high board members to discuss Sisi’s advice. Sisi reportedly said the current stage needs all political forces to uphold Egypt’s national interests, put aside their differences, unite in the face of various challenges and form a parliament. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 5/13/2015]

National Security Agency urges action against NGOs
Privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper published parts of a report by National Security on Wednesday, which urged the presidency, intelligence and other state institutions to take action against non-governmental organizations recently in contact with Western embassies. The report perceived this communication as “suspicious” attempts by NGOs to conspire and create unrest against the government. The National Security report accuses the Revolutionary Socialists and the April 6 Youth Movement by name — while asserting that other organizations are also involved  — of conspiring with foreign agents to spur chaos in Egypt’s streets, “similarly to what happened in 2011.” The report specified the United States, European countries, and Canada as conspiring powers and urged state institutions to instruct the embassies of these nations to stop interfering in Egypt’s affairs. [Mada Masr, 5/13/2015]

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Security sources say Mubarak to be released after paying fine
Former president Hosni Mubarak has served his three year sentence on charges of embezzlement, and will not be detained further, Minister of Interior Aide for Prison Affairs Hassan al-Sohagy said on Wednesday.  Security sources in the prison sector also said that Mubarak no longer faces any other pending charges. Prison officials are considering whether or not Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal, who were also sentenced in embezzlement case, can be released with time served as well. Mubarak is currently detained in Maadi Military Hospital, since he has not paid the EGP 125 million fine, the sources said. Having already served his sentence, Mubarak’s wife can visit him at the hospital, until the fine is paid, and procedures for his release are concluded. [Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 5/14/2015]

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Egypt targets 5 percent growth in 2015/2016 fiscal year
Egypt is targeting 5 to 6 percent average growth in gross domestic product in the next fiscal year 2015/2016, up from an expected 4 percent for the current year, Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby said. The government is targeting 6 percent growth by fiscal year 2018/2019. Araby said the government’s policy of subsidy cuts would continue but he did not give a breakdown of the intended cuts. Egypt will begin rolling out a smart card system for subsidized fuel starting on June 15 as part of plans to reduce costly energy subsidies over time. Al-Araby said the government would not raise fuel prices immediately once the smart card system comes into force. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 5/13/2015]

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  • Egypt to rely on coal for 25-30 percent of energy | Mada Masr, DNE
  • Egypt’s market loses EGP9.6 billion, EGX30 drops to 5-month low | Egypt Independent
  • 14 GCC, Egyptian investors request North Coast land for tourist resorts: Ministry official | DNE
  • Egypt targets 1 million German tourists in 2015: Tourism Minister| DNE
  • Low Marsa Alam hotel occupancy threatens EGP15 billion investments: Deputy Chairman | DNE
  • Egypt refuses Kuwaiti offer over Ayyat land dispute, new negotiations to start says Salman |DNE
  • EFG Hermes registers EGP 136 million net profits in Q1 2015 | DNE
  • Egypt’s bourse drops to 5-month low after MSCI weighting cut | Reuters


Egyptian football star Abou Treika breaks his silence
Egypt’s football superstar Mohamed Abou Treika has denied that the tourism company – which he co-owns and is facing legal action for – is linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Abou Treika said in an interview with Al-Ahram on Thursday that the company co-owner, allegedly associated with the Brotherhood, left it over a year ago. “I would also like to make it clear that the case so far has not gone beyond the investigations phase,” Abou Treika said. “Even the head of the [investigating] committee Ezzat Khamis made media statements saying there are no official charges yet.” A government committee assigned to seize the properties and finances of members of the Brotherhood announced in a statement on Friday that they had confiscated the assets of a tourism company co-owned by Abou Treika and others. The committee said that Anas Mohamed Omar al-Kady is one of the company’s owners and also a member of the banned group. It said that Kady, who is currently detained pending trial in Alexandria, is accused of committing “hostile acts against the state.” However, Abou Treika explained that the company was originally founded by six people, including Kady, under the name Nile Land Tours in 2009. Abou Treika then joined in 2013 and the company became a general partnership and its name was changed to Ashab Tours. In the company’s new legal contract at the time, he said, Kady and four others withdrew from the company completely. [Ahram Online, 5/14/2015]

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  • Muslims, Christians clash over ‘Martyrs’ Church’ construction | Al-Monitor
  • Egypt media criticism of Sisi raises questions on allies’ support | Reuters
  • UN Women, ENACTUS organize competition for anti-violence projects | Egypt Independent
  • Fabricated charges, arbitrary suspensions in ‘month of labor’ says ECESR | DNE


Police attacked in Gharbiya, Warraq
Hundreds of Beshbish village residents in Gharbiya set fire to the home of a low-ranking police officer Wednesday evening, in revenge for shooting four residents in a dispute over cigarettes. Civil Protection Forces and security leaders headed to the scene of the incident and extinguished the fire. A quarrel occurred between the policeman and a seller in the village, while the former was buying a packet of cigarettes. The policeman shot four people, who defended the seller. Additionally, policeman Amr Ezzat from the Warraq police station and his friend Yasser Samy were shot dead, after masked gunmen opened fire on them, as they were riding a motorbike on in Ezbet al-Khalayfa. Giza security services have launched an investigation into their killing. [Egypt Independent, 5/14/2015]

Egypt human rights council presents its annual report to Interior Minister
The head of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Mohamed Fayek met Wednesday with Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar to discuss a number of issues related to human rights and to submit their annual report. The council’s report included recommendations and an appraisal of the Egyptian constitution and its text, guaranteeing rights and freedoms. The report praised the end of the emergency law, as well as legislation issued to protect women against violence. The report also addressed the conditions in Egyptian prisons and cases of torture, and called for the amendment of the Protest Law, as well as NGOs law and anti-torture laws. The NCHR also suggested amendments to the Prisons Law, in order to allow prison visits by the council with notification, and to not extend the period of punishment inside jails for more than one week. [DNE, 5/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Imprisoned journalist beaten in prison for conversion to Christianity | DNE
  • Ten prisoners treated for food poisoning in Ismailia | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Four army soldiers killed in Rafah | DNE
  • Civilian killed by unknown gunmen in North Sinai | Egypt Independent
  • Five transmission towers bombed in Beheira, Sharqeya, Qena | Cairo Post


Israel says Egypt buying advanced Russian air defense system
A senior Israeli intelligence official who tracks the regional arms balance said on Wednesday that Egypt was buying Russia’s advanced S-300 air defense system, a deal reported in Russian media but not confirmed by Cairo. When asked about the Israeli remarks, an Egyptian official reached by Reuters did not corroborate them but said that Israel should not feel threatened. “If we are getting such a thing, it’s because we’re looking east, not north,” the official told Reuters, in an apparent reference to Iran. [Reuters, 5/14/2015]

Thirteen Egyptian workers kidnapped in Libya, families say
Residents of al-Sheikh Massoud village in Minya said they had received phone calls from their family members working in Libya, telling them they had been kidnapped. According to the residents, thirteen people have been abducted, and the kidnappers have demand a ransom of 15,000 Libyan dinars for each of them. The residents said they had submitted complaints to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, calling for an intervention to secure the release of their families. They fear that Islamic State might be responsible for the abduction, and fear they may be killed. [Egypt Independent , 5/14/2015]

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  • Egyptian Prime Minister meets Hollande as he concludes visit to Paris | Ahram Online