Top News: Outgoing President Mansour Issues Several Laws Before Leaving Office

Just forty-eight hours before he is to leave office and return to his original position as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Egypt’s outgoing interim President Adly Mansour signed into law a number of pieces of legislation on Thursday evening.

Outgoing President Mansour issues several laws before leaving office
Just forty-eight hours before he is to leave office and return to his original position as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, Egypt’s outgoing interim President Adly Mansour signed into law a number of pieces of legislation on Thursday evening. He signed into law Egypt’s new parliamentary elections law, a decree banning all non-certified Islamic preachers, as well as laws toughening penalties on littering and sexual harassment. He also issued a decision amending articles of the country’s criminal penal code giving defendants sentenced to no more than six months in jail a choice of supervised labor outside the prison, unless their sentences stipulate that this is not an option. He also approved allocating 398.6 acres of state land to the ministry of trade, industry and investment to establish a developed industrial zone for leather tanneries. Finally, he issued a law adding a 5 percent tax on individuals with incomes in excess of EGP1 million and on profits of companies in excess of the same amount. [Ahram Online, 6/5/2014]

Political parties express concern over parliamentary elections law
A law passed by Egypt’s interim president will set the stage for parliamentary elections this year but political parties fear it will return the country to a system similar to one under ousted president Hosni Mubarak. One of the most significant changes in the election law is a return to a system where individual candidates take the majority of seats in parliament, rather than party lists of candidates. Such an arrangement would weaken the position of political parties in the country where they already have little influence on the ground, politicians say. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 6/6/2014]

Also of Interest:


Prosecution demands maximum penalty for Jazeera defendants  
The trial of Al-Jazeera English reporters accused of fabricating news reports and aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has been adjourned by a Cairo criminal court to June 16. The beginning of Thursday’s session saw a media ban for unknown reasons. However, media personnel were eventually allowed back inside the courtroom. The defense team again challenged prosecutor’s evidence, arguing that their investigations have turned no incriminating evidence. They also called the trial “farcical”, as they have in past court sessions. Prosecutors meanwhile demanded the maximum penalty, ranging from fifteen to twenty-five years in jail, for all twenty defendants. The trial was adjourned to June 16. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic), 6/5/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian court upholds five year sentence for author | Ahram Online


Egypt studying international bond issue: sources
Egypt’s finance ministry is studying the possibility of issuing its first international bond since 2010, two officials told Reuters, as investor confidence in the country gradually returns after the turmoil which followed the 2011 revolution. A government official with knowledge of the matter said Egypt had discussed with banks the possibility of an international eurobond issue of between $750 million and $1 billion, “whenever the time and need is appropriate to cover the budget gap.” A second official confirmed this, adding that the bond issue would mainly be aimed at Gulf Arab investors. [Reuters, 6/5/2014]


NASL calls for protests on occasion of Sisi’s inauguration
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) has called on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to launch a wave of protests starting Friday, to be escalated on Sunday’s presidential inauguration ceremony. “We will continue the wave of protests that initially started on July 3,” declared the NASL statement released late on Wednesday. Security forces have intensified their presence around Egypt’s capital in anticipation of the protests. The interior ministry increased the security presence in front of police stations, vital institutions and churches on Friday morning. Tahrir Square saw a heavy security presence, while formations of central security forces and an armored vehicle were also stationed in the vicinity of the US Embassy in Cairo. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 6/6/2014]

Vodafone reveals Egypt one of several countries using secret wires to tap phones
Vodafone revealed on Friday that governments around the world use secret wires to gain access to mobile phone conversations conducted on its network in some of the twenty-nine countries in which it operates. The British telecommunications giant , one of the world’s largest mobile operators which has been operating in Egypt since 1998, issued a twenty-page report called “Law Enforcement Disclosure”, in which it said in Egypt, and seven other countries, it is unlawful  to disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception of the content of phone calls and messages, including whether such capabilities exist. “If we do not comply with a lawful demand for assistance, governments can remove our license to operate, preventing us from providing services to our customers,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Vodafone as saying. [Ahram Online, 6/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Crowds continue to gather at presidential palace to celebrate Sisi’s victory | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Abdallah El Shamy’s brother condemns fact finding committee’s report | Shorouk (Arabic)


Security source denies accusations of torture in two Egyptian prisons
A security source has denied accusations of torture inside two Egyptian prisons amid conflicting reports that circulated on Thursday concerning grave violations that recently occurred inside the two prisons. The April 6 Youth Movement has said that a number of detainees have been tortured over the past few days at Wadi al-Natroun and Fayoum prisons. A security source denied these accusations, calling them rumors that tarnish the image of the police. [Aswat Masriya, 6/5/2014]

Also of Interest:


US to send senior State Department officials to Sisi inauguration
The US plans to send two senior State Department representatives to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidential inauguration, officials said on Thursday. US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said at a press conference that the delegation would be headed by Thomas Shannon, counselor to Secretary of State John Kerry. Senior Advisor to the Secretary, David Thorne, will also be part of the delegation, which will attend the inauguration on behalf of President Barack Obama. Kerry has previously dispatched Shannon and Thorne to Cairo to engage with the Egyptian government on economic assistance, coordination with Gulf aid, and economic reforms. Harf also said the United States looks forward to working with Sisi but reiterated concerns about limits on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Harf added that the United States pressured Egyptian authorities to provide health care for Mohamed Soltan, a US citizen held in an Egyptian prison for over 100 days. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Egypt Independent, 6/5/2014]

International delegations head to Cairo for Sisi’s swearing-in
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo on Friday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Egypt’s president-elect, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, on Sunday. In the absence of a delegation, French Ambassador to Egypt Nicolas Gallet will be attending the inauguration, while Algeria’s speaker of the parliament will represent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Several delegations arrived in Cairo Friday, among them the Saudi delegation in preparation of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s arrival, as well as delegations from Sudan and Eritrea. [Ahram Online, 6/6/2014]

EU reiterates concerns, says ready to work ‘closely’ with Sisi
The European Union said Thursday it was ready to work “closely” with newly elected Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but urged him to ensure his government respected human rights and the rule of law. In a statement the EU expressed its “willingness to work closely with the new authorities in Egypt in a constructive partnership with a view to strengthening our bilateral relations.” It outlined the “serious challenges” facing the country — a “dire economic situation, the deep divisions within society, the security situation, and the respect of the human rights of all Egyptian citizens.” The EU said Egypt’s new constitution enshrined a wide series of fundamental rights, but these were not always respected. [AFP/Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), 6/5/2014]

Also of Interest: