US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged the release of three Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to long prison terms in Egypt on charges of aiding the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood organization.


Ministry of social solidarity says draft NGO law in line with new constitution
In a statement on Thursday, Egypt’s ministry of social solidarity said that it is committed to its recent NGO draft law and that the law is in line with Egypt’s 2014 constitution. A statement from Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali, to Egypt’s cabinet, sent in response to civil society organizations’ criticisms of the law, said that the law reflects the ministry’s commitment to achieving the aspirations of Egyptian civil society. According to the statement, the ministry will wait for the election of the upcoming parliament, in order for the elected officials to approve the law. Wali’s remarks come after several human rights organizations released a statement condemning the NGO draft law as a violation of Egypt’s constitution. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 8/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sisi kicks off new Suez Canal project, lays down tightened completion deadline | DNE, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Presidential decree allows establishment of regional UN Women office | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Women for Women campaign develops criteria for women running for parliament | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Strong Egypt calls for unemployment compensation for Egyptians returning from Libya | AMAY (Arabic)
  • FJP says Suez Canal project is a threat to national security | AMAY (Arabic)


Cairo Criminal Court sentences two men to life for Tahrir sexual assault
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced two defendants to life in prison and a third to 20 years in jail on Thursday for charges relating to sexual assault in Tahrir Square during celebrations held after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s election. They were also ordered to pay EGP 100,000 in compensation to the victims of the assaults. The prosecution had charged the defendants with kidnapping, larceny, attempted rape, torture and attempted murder. This is the second verdict involving lengthy jail terms after sexual harassment was criminalized by the authorities. In July, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced nine men to life in jail for sexually assaulting women near Tahrir Square. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Mada Masr, 8/7/2014]

Egypt says Mufti rejects Brotherhood leader death verdict, urges rethink
The Giza Criminal Court asked Egypt’s Grand Mufti for the second time on Thursday to reconsider his decision to reject its death sentence against the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 13 supporters on charges of murder and possession of firearms. An Egyptian court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s general guide, and the other defendants to death on June 19 and referred the verdict to the Mufti, the state’s highest Islamic legal official, whose opinion must be sought before any execution can take place. However, judicial sources said on Thursday that a final verdict in the case had been postponed until August 30 to allow the Mufti to reconsider his original report into the case. [Reuters, DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 8/7/2014]

Court to rule on dissolution of Brotherhood party on August 9
The High Administrative Court announced that the verdict in the case regarding the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) is to be issued on August 9. A number of lawyers had filed lawsuits demanding the party’s dissolution, claiming that the party was established illegally and that it has harmed national security and helped the Brotherhood in its alleged crimes. The FJP released a statement in anticipation of the verdict assuring that its members will continue their work. “[The party’s] men, women and youths revolting in the squares is proof that political work does not exist by the existence of headquarters and air conditioned halls, but through dedicated work, struggle and continuous efforts to serve the public”, the statement read. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 8/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Members of ‘Ansar Al-Sharia in Egypt’ militant group referred to trial | DNE, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Detention extended for young man accused of spying for Israel | Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Criminal court resumes trial of 188 defendants in Kerdasa case | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Cairo criminal court rejects appeal of former Ahram head | Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic)


Mahlab: World Bank agrees to $500 million Egypt loan for home gas delivery
The World Bank has agreed to grant Egypt a $500 million loan to finance a mega-project delivering natural gas to homes across the country, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced Tuesday. Egypt will have a grace period of up to eight years on the loans, while payments on the loan will be made over a 28-year period. [DNE, Al-Ahram (Arabic), 8/6/2014]

Egypt to pay energy companies via bond sale: Finance Minister
Egypt will pay back about $6 billion it owes to energy companies, including with proceeds from a bond sale that’s to take place “very soon,” Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said. Dimian added the government will pay for part of the arrears with savings from a recent reduction in fuel subsidies. [Bloomberg, 8/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt ranks 100 for foreign investment impact for communications for FY 2012/2013 | DNE
  • Stock market makes collective gains Wednesday | Egypt Independent
  • Energy expert: Egypt on verge of humanitarian crisis | Egypt Independent, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Egypt foreign reserves rise to $16.736 billion at end-July | Reuters


Media gag imposed on Matrouh road attack
General Prosecutor Hisham Barakat forced a media gag Wednesday on the incident that left four people killed on the Matrouh-Alamein road along the North Coast. “A media gag is forced if national security is threatened,” said political activist George Ishaq. The Tuesday attack also left a police officer injured after security forces were pursuing a vehicle loaded with weapons and explosives on the coastal road in response to intelligence it received that armed assailants were in the area. Legally, the general prosecutor has the right to impose a media gag when there is a threat to the general welfare, and the sovereignty of investigations and their procedures, explained lawyer Gamil Saeed. Whether or not those threats are present in Tuesday’s incident, “is up to the general prosecutor to decide,” Saeed said. [DNE, 8/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ban on women’s trousers in church sparks protest at Abbasiya Cathedral | Ahram Online
  • Egypt to open Nasser museum in 2015 | Al Monitor
  • Minister of health urges free hospital treatment for children | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Deeb: June 30 revolution is the only one carried out by the Egyptian people | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Ministries meet to discuss problems children face in orphanages | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Blast hits Egypt’s pipeline to Jordan for 24th time
Unknown assailants blew up an Egyptian pipeline in the restive Sinai Peninsula that carries gas to Jordan early Thursday, in the eighth attack of its kind this year, and the twenty-fourth attack since January, 2011.  Security sources said a remote-controlled bomb planted under the pipeline went off in Qurayaa area near the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but witnesses said the explosion sent flames rising far into the sky from the spot where the pipeline was struck. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 8/7/2014]

Woman killed in Sinai shootout
One woman was killed and two people wounded in a shootout between gunmen and security forces in the Sinai Peninsula late Wednesday. The firefight took place when assailants shot at a security checkpoint in the western part of the North Sinai town of Rafah, leaving one woman killed and injuring two others, army sources said. It was not immediately clear if the wounded were civilians or security personnel. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 8/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Four Brotherhood members arrested on charges of inciting violence in Minya | EGYNews (Arabic)


Obama backs Egypt’s efforts to extend Israel-Hamas truce
President Barack Obama on Wednesday backed Egyptian efforts to broker a durable Israel-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza but also called for a longer-term solution that provides for Israeli security while offering Gaza residents hope they will not remain “permanently closed off from the world.”  US envoy Frank Lowenstein was due in Cairo on Wednesday to try to help the Egyptian-mediated talks find a lasting end to their conflict over the Gaza Strip, the US State Department said. Lowenstein is the acting US special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. An Israeli Cabinet minister, however, warned Thursday that Israel will respond if Hamas resumes fire after a temporary truce expires in the Gaza Strip. The statement, along with Hamas’ earlier threats, signals that both sides are digging in their positions — presumably to secure best terms for a deal — as negotiations continue in Cairo. A senior Hamas official has told supporters at a Gaza City rally that the war with Israel won’t be over until the group’s political demands are met. The official, Mushir al-Masri, said Thursday that “our fingers are on the trigger and our rockets are trained at Tel Aviv.” [Reuters, AP, 8/7/2014]

Obama says Al Jazeera journalists should be released
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged the release of three Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to long prison terms in Egypt on charges of aiding the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood organization. Addressing a conference at the end of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, Obama emphasized the right of journalists to play a critical role in their societies. “We have been clear both publicly and privately, they should be released,” he said at the news conference. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also said in a press briefing on Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the issue of “arbitrary arrests” in Egypt during a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. [Ahram Online, DNE, AFP, 8/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s Mahlab meets Algerian PM at US-Africa Summit | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Mahlab meets World Bank Group President | SIS
  • Egypt communicates with Libya tribal leaders to evacuate more citizens | DNE
  • Egypt officials discuss Libya violence | DNE
  • EgyptAir increases to seven flights a day to return Egyptians stranded in Tunisia | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Minister: Egyptians returning from Libya will not impose burden on the state | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Ethiopia agrees to resume Renaissance Dam negotiations | Egypt Independent
  • Mahlab meets Ethiopian counterpart to discuss Renaissance Dam | EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Egyptian, Venezuelan foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation | SIS, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Transport minister says Qastal Port will develop trade relations with Sudan | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Sisi, Jordanian King discuss Gaza situation over phone | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)