Top News: Mubarak and Sons to be Retried for Embezzlement

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons will be retried in the ‘presidential palaces’ embezzlement case after the Court of Cassation accepted their appeal on Tuesday. Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, were sentenced to three years in prison on charges of embezzling funds allocated for developing communications centers at the presidency. 


Sisi discusses parliamentary elections with party leaders
Political party leaders who attended a joint meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday, the first such talks since he became president, said Sisi called on political parties to unite. The two-day talks, abruptly announced on Sunday, will continue on Tuesday. According to attendees, the meeting tackled several issues, including opening political space for the youth, the freedom of NGOs to work, the restrictive protest law, and concerns over upcoming parliamentary elections and the electoral law governing them.  Sisi said he would favor a “national party list” promising that he would back it if it will bring political parties together. He also responded to concerns that the party electoral list of former prime minister Kamal al-Ganzouri might be backed by the government, assuring that the state backs no specific party or list. The president guaranteed that the upcoming parliament would enjoy “expanded decision-making powers.” Finally, Sisi warned political parties that the people would revolt against the next parliament if it fails to actively represent them. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, 1/13/2015]

Elections commission sets campaigning regulations
The High Elections Commission (HEC) issued a decision on Tuesday regulating campaigning for and financing the upcoming parliamentary elections. The decision regulates a candidate’s right to campaign for his platform among voters, the committee said in a statement. As per the decision, the time for advertising and campaigning begins when the final list of candidates is announced and continues until noon of the day before polls open. The HEC also set a maximum campaigning budget of 500,000 Egyptian pounds in the first round and 200,000 pounds in case of a run-off round for individual candidates. The amounts are doubled for every fifteen candidates running on one party list. Any candidate is allowed to receive donations from any Egyptian citizen or party, as long as each donation does not exceed 5 percent of the campaigning budget. The decision grants the candidate the right to use mass media for campaigning. The HEC announced last week it would not wait thirty days from the day of the announcement, as allowed by law, to open the door for candidacy applications. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has begun arrangements for Egyptian expatriates to vote in the elections. [Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), 1/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Carter Center confirms it will not observe Egypt’s parliamentary elections | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Popular Current spokesman: Sabbahi not behind decision to boycott elections | Egypt Independent
  • Classified report reveals State Security’s take on January 25 revolution | Mada Masr


Mubarak and sons to be retried for embezzlement; Unclear if Mubarak to remain in custody
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons will be retried in the ‘presidential palaces’ embezzlement case after the Court of Cassation accepted their appeal on Tuesday. Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, were sentenced to three years in prison on charges of embezzling funds allocated for developing communications centers at the presidency. It remains unclear whether the former president will be retried while in custody. According to various sources, Mubarak will be released, likely on January 17, since he has already served his three-year prison sentence, mostly in preventive detention. However, an interior ministry source told Egypt’s state news agency that while the high court has ordered a retrial in the embezzlement case, it did not order the release of Mubarak. The decision to free Mubarak or his sons is now in the hands of the public prosecution or the court that retries them, the source said. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, AP, The Guardian, 1/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Four Egyptians accused of spying for al-Qaeda face death penalty | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Thirteen suspected Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members to face trial for 2014 police killings | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Prosecution appeals Ramsis bathhouse verdict | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Neighbors of defamed bathhouse confident arrests fabricated | Egypt Independent
  • Morsi espionage trial postponed to January 18 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • General prosecutor refers to court forty-five Muslim Brotherhood members accused of blowing up power stations | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt bourse to allow trading in ETFs
Egypt’s stock exchange will allow trading in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for the first time on January 14, as part of an effort to encourage foreign investment and boost liquidity. ETFs are traded like a stock and can allow investors to diversify their risks and reduce transaction costs. The introduction of ETFs comes during a period of takeovers and share issued on Egypt’s stock exchange, signaling a renewed interest from international investors in a market working to restore confidence. The main stock index rose about 30 percent in 2014 and trading volumes have rebounded above levels seen in 2010. [Reuters, 1/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Telecom Egypt signs EGP 15 billion agreement with Mobinil, Vodafone | Ahram Online
  • Strong economy key for Egypt’s future democracy: UK minister | Ahram Online


Charlie Hebdo’s new caricature ‘unjustifiably provocative’ says Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta
Charlie Hebdo’s decision to renew the publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohamed is “an unwarranted provocation against the feelings of … Muslims around the world,” Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta warned in a statement on Tuesday. The new issue of Charlie Hebdo will cause a “new wave of anger” in France and the West in general, the statement added. Dar al-Ifta called on French authorities and political parties to denounce the publication of the new cartoon, calling it a “racist act” by a magazine that seeks to “ignite religious sedition and sectarianism and deepen hatred.”  The cover of the first edition of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo since twelve of its staff members were killed by Islamist gunmen last week showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohamed crying and holding up a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the words “All is forgiven.” [Ahram Online, AP, Reuters, 1/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah  banned from traveling to Germany | Aswat Masriya
  • HRW: ‘Egypt needs to stop persecuting people for atheism’ | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Protesters demand rights throughout Egypt despite cold weather | Egypt Independent
  • Nine NGOs observe detained students taking exams | DNE
  • Minister of Social Solidarity refutes UNICEF numbers on Egyptian street children | Egypt Independent
  • Half of Egypt’s population lives in slums | Shorouk (Arabic)


Kidnapped police captain in Sinai found dead
Police captain Ayman al-Dessouki, kidnapped on Monday, allegedly by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militants, was found dead on Tuesday in the restive Sinai Peninsula, Egypt’s army announced in a statement. Egypt’s general prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, imposed on Monday a gag order on the incident because the matter was still being investigated. Prosecution investigations later revealed the officer was shot twice in the head. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, seven men were found dead from gunshot wounds in different parts of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah in North Sinai. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Mada Masr, 1/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ‘We are perfectly equipped for waging war’: Ajnad Misr video | DNE
  • Conscript arrested for attempting sexual assault in Hurghada | Egypt Independent
  • Police arrests assailants accused of drive-by shooting in Giza | Aswat Masriya


ISIS in Libya claims responsibility for abducting twenty-one Egyptian Christians
Islamic State militants based in Libya on Monday claimed responsibility for kidnapping  twenty-one Egyptian Christians in the country. The group released Monday photos of twenty-one men who were described as “captive crusaders” captured by the militant group. It is still unclear whether the captives are the Coptic Egyptians who went missing in Libya earlier this month. Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Libyan citizens in Benghazi found on Monday the body of an Egyptian worker who was shot and handcuffed. The murder was likely motivated by theft, the owner of the farm where the Egyptian worker was employed said. [ Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, The Guardian, 1/12/2015]

Sisi discusses Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Tony Blair
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with former British prime minister and Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair Sunday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the region.
Blair expressed his appreciation of Sisi’s efforts to address concepts and misconceptions related to Islam and extremism, according to a presidential spokesperson’s statement. The meeting also discussed the Middle East peace process as Blair asserted the central role Egypt plays in resuming the communications between Israel and the Palestinian leaders.  [DNE, 1/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Sisi tells Ethiopian patriarch that Nile is Egypt’s ‘source of life’ | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian expats in France reflect on Charlie Hebdo attack | Aswat Masriya
  • Fifteen Egyptian fishermen arrested over breaching Libyan territorial waters | Egypt Independent
  • 137 Egyptian fisherman arrive in Egypt from Libya | Aswat Masriya
  • Thirty-three Egyptian fishermen released from jail says government security director | Aswat Masriya