An Egyptian military court sentenced fifteen Mansoura University students to up to ten years in prison on Thursday, according to the campaign group No to Military Trials for Civilians. The students must also pay a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds.


Committee outlines responses to UNHRC recommendations
Transitional Justice Minister Ibrahim al-Heneidy said that the national committee responsible for the periodical review of human rights has completed its responses to recommendations made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He noted that Egypt’s responses did not tackle the issue of the international supervision of the elections, which was not raised by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member states. Heneidy added that the committee will hold a meeting next week in the presence of the former Presidential Advisor for Constitutional Affairs, Ali Awad to discuss the constituencies law. Hisham Badr, Assistant Foreign Minister of Egypt for International Institutions, said that the UN international council unanimously ratified Egypt’s report for the periodical review of human rights, adding that Egypt will start implementing these recommendations. Meanwhile, Mohamed Tawfik, head of the National Council for Human Rights, hailed Egypt for accepting these recommendations, calling for swift actions to bolster human rights by amending the protest law, enacting a new NGO law, reconsidering the pre-trial detention period, and overhauling the legislative system. [SIS, 3/20/2015]

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Military court sentences university students from two to ten years in prison
An Egyptian military court sentenced fifteen Mansoura University students to up to ten years in prison on Thursday, according to the campaign group No to Military Trials for Civilians. The students must also pay a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds. The sentenced students include second year science student Israa Maher, who was given two years prison time, third year law student Said Mohamed who was sentenced to ten years, as well as students from the Mansoura branch of al-Azhar University who were sentenced to three years in prison. These rulings were made after “security forces raided Mansoura University, assaulted the students, and arbitrarily arrested a number of students,” the group No to Military Trials for Civilians said. These students were taken because they were present on-campus October 28, 2014 and they were taken to the prosecutor on charges of “possessing fireworks, white weapons, inciting leaflets, gasoline, books that contain radical fundamentalist thoughts, protesting without license, and for threatening general social well-being.” [DNE, 3/20/2015]

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  • Egyptian prosecutors’ case against Al-Jazeera journalists undermined in retrial | The Guardian
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Egypt signs customs agreement with Saudi Arabia, await parliamentary approval
Egypt signed a customs agreement in cooperation with Saudi Arabia, according to Magdy Abdel Aziz, Chairman of the Customs Authority. The agreement, which is applicable for three years, is expected to facilitate the growing commerce cycle between both countries. “We are waiting for the parliament’s approval in order to apply the agreement,” said Abdel Aziz. The agreement fights customs’ violations, which negatively affect political, financial and social interests for both countries. Saudi Arabia is Egypt’s foremost commercial partner amongst Arab countries. A customs committee will be arranged, under the presidency of the Egyptian Chairman of the Customs Authority and Saleh Ben Manieal-Kheleui, the General Director of the Saudi customs. It will face any obstacles that might delay the agreement`s application, according to Abdel Aziz. An official will be appointed for communicating with the customs authorities of both countries to set up the meetings to ensure cooperation and that would aim to solve any potential obstacles. [DNE, 3/19/2015]

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  • Egypt’s economy: Thinking big | The Economist
  • Bread rationing and smartcards: Egypt takes radical steps to tackle food waste | The Guardian
  • Egypt’s Sharm conference raises hopes while benefits remain unclear  | Ahram Online
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  • Sources: National Bank of Egypt in talks for dollar bond issue | Reuters
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  • National Bank of Egypt in talks for dollar bond issue: Sources | Reuters


Another two cases of violence against students recorded in Upper Egypt
Ramadan Abdel Hamid, undersecretary of the Education Ministry in Minya, has sent a legal committee to investigate an assault on a primary schoolgirl by her teacher in Matay. The girl’s father accused the teacher of beating his daughter causing her serious injuries. A teacher at Nag AbdRabo School in the village of Balsfora in Sohag was also referred to a disciplinary board and transferred to an administrative position at Sohag Education Department after beating a pupil in the first grade with a water hose. [Egypt Independent, 3/19/2015]

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  • Egypt’s capital: Art Deco to desert skyscrapers | Ahram Online
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Brotherhood allying with jihadist militants Interior Ministry Spokesman says
Interior Ministry Spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif blamed AjnadMisr for an attack near the Cairo High Court earlier this month which killed two civilians and injured a number of others. Abdel-Latif also said the militant group was behind other smaller attacks in Haram, Giza and Ain Shams. He added that fugitive members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood have indirectly participated in attacks taking place in Egypt. Investigations indicate “leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who have fled the country are changing their rhetoric and officially abandoning their commitment to peaceful movements,” Abdel-Latif said. He added that the Brotherhood has been merging with other “terrorist organizations” whose goal is to “spread chaos.” [Ahram Online, 3/19/2015]

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Refugees held for over 100 days at Alexandria police station
A group of seventy-four Syrian and Palestinian-Syrian refugees have been detained at Karmooz police station in Alexandria for over 100 days. Dozens of them have been on a hunger strike for more than 20 days demanding their release while their fate remains in limbo. In November 2014, the prosecutor general issued a decision to release all the refugees, but the National Security Apparatus has ordered all the refugees to be detained until they are deported. Thirty other refugees with passports have been deported to Turkey, but the sixteen detained Syrian refugees, including fourteen men and two children—a boy of 13 and a girl of 8— have no travel documents, and only one of them is officially registered as a refugee with the UNHCR. The fifty-eight detained Palestinian-Syrian refugees have travel documents and are registered by UNRWA as refugees. [Ahram Online, 3/19/2015]

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  • Expats: Closing Egypt’s embassy in Geneva favors Brotherhood | Egypt Independent
  • Industry Minister: Egyptian businessman asks developing industrial zone in Ethiopia | SIS
  • Egypt’s Prime Minister to visit Ivory Coast | Aswat Masriya
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