Top News: Proposed Amendments to Prisons Act Would Allow Prisoners Telephone Calls

Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ibrahim al-Heneidi said the Legislative Reform Committee has discussed amendments to the Prisons Act. Article 38, which gives a prisoner the right to send letters and receive visits, would be amended to include the right to make telephone calls as well.


Proposed amendments to Prisons Act would allow prisoners telephone calls
Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ibrahim al-Heneidi said the Legislative Reform Committee has discussed amendments to the Prisons Act. Article 38, which gives a prisoner the right to send letters and receive visits, would be amended to include the right to make telephone calls as well. This amendment would also be applicable to detainees of pending investigations. [Egypt Independent, 4/29/2015]

New secular party to ‘challenge religious dominance’
A new political party, the Egyptian Secular Party (ESP), has been proposed to challenge what the founders see as the dominance of religious institutions over the Egyptian state, and to call for the writing of a secular constitution. The party’s main principles include abolishing all articles related to the Islamic nature of the Egyptian state in the constitution, including Article Two, which stipulates that Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation. The party proposes the reform of the legal system, to include civil marriage and a secular personal status law. The party’s founder HishamOuf told Mada Masr that their aim is to encourage the separation of religion from politics and the state. [Mada Masr, 4/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt government sends amended election laws to State Council | Aswat Masriya
  • Brotherhood can defend their ideas, but not impose them on Egyptians: Sisi | Ahram Online
  • Shorouk publishes final drafts of two newly-amended election laws | Shorouk (Arabic)


Ahmed Moussa loses Esraa Abdel Fattah libel case
Television presenter Ahmed Moussa was fined 15,000 Egyptian pounds for defaming activist Esraa Abdel Fattah. Moussa lost the case after filing an appeal, according to Abdel Fattah’s lawyer RamyGhanem. Ghanem won the case against Moussa’s defense lawyer Farid al-Deeb, a lawyer who also represents Hosni Mubarak. Moussa has also been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a 20,000 Egyptian pound fine for insulting and defaming Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, head of the Democratic Front political party. In 2014, the Nasr City Misdemeanor Court sentenced Moussa to six months’ imprisonment with hard labor or a 5,000 Egyptian pound bail for insulting the lawyer of the Zamalek Sporting Club’s fan group the Ultras White Knights, Tarek al-Awady. [DNE, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial of nine including high-profile Brotherhood member adjourned to May 28 | EGYNews (Arabic)


Poll says Egypt’s economic growth set to accelerate over next two years
Egypt’s economic growth is set to accelerate in the next two years, reaching 5.5 percent in fiscal 2016/17, a Reuters poll forecast on Wednesday. After struggling to restore growth during more than four years of political upheaval, the Egyptian economy is showing signs of a revival. The poll showed economists had lifted their growth forecasts for the current fiscal year ending in June to 4.2 percent after the economy grew by more than 5 percent in the first half. The outlook should continue to improve, although not by as much as the government hopes in the near term. [Reuters, 4/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Presidential demands, boycotts and bouncing cheques: The strange case of Sainsbury’s in Egypt | DNE
  • Tourist flow declines in Luxor, Aswan lowers April occupancy rates | DNE
  • Authority chairman says Suez Canal to establish fisheries | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s economic growth set to accelerate over next two years – poll | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Qalaa Holdings posts $115 million year loss | Reuters
  • Egypt promises dues to Spanish company Indra | DNE, SIS
  • 700m cubic feet of gas to be imported daily from Cyprus by 2017| DNE
  • Agreements to be signed with IDB to bolster cooperation says minister | DNE
  • Egypt aims to issue sukuk in early 2015/2016 | Reuters, Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Suez Cement posts fall in Q1 net profit to $7.6 million | Reuters
  • Egypt’s GASC says local wheat purchases 700,000 tonnes so far | Reuters


AFTE campaign calls for reinstatement of expelled students
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemned on Thursday Egyptian universities’ “deliberate expansive use of their abusive authority to expel students.” In a statement released by the group, they called on administrations to “reconsider” their decisions to dismiss hundreds of students. Expulsion on the basis of political practices and activities has become the one of the top violations that students in Egyptian public, private, and al-Azhar universities have been exposed to over the past two years, according to the AFTE statement. AFTE added that university administrations are thereby “withholding from students their right to education” because these students “were practicing their right to free expression on their campuses.” Protests under the title “Bring back our students” took place on various university campuses at the beginning of the most recent academic semester in February. [DNE, 4/30/2015]

Protesters march demanding re-investigation of journalist Mayada Ashraf’s death
A group of journalists and human rights defenders gathered Wednesday in front the Press Syndicate accusing former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim of killing fellow journalist Mayada Ashraf. Mayada, aged 23, was a reporter for al-Dostour newspaper when she was shot dead while covering clashes between security forces and protesters in the Ain Shams neighborhood on March 28, 2014. The group, dubbed the “al-Husseini committee,” marched from the syndicate to the office of the Prosecutor General to present an official lawsuit. The committee is named after al-Husseini Abu Deif, who was shot dead December 2012 in clashes between supporters and opponents of former president Mohamed Morsi. The lawsuit is filed by Mayada’s father, and is supported and signed by the board of the trustees of the Press Syndicate. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 4/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Water in multi-gallon containers behind Sharqiya poisonings says minister | Aswat Masriya
  • No official decision to ban WhatsApp voice call says Egypt Telecom Minister | Ahram Online
  • Tourism ministry extends “Egypt in our hearts” initiative | DNE
  • Backlash ensues against Egypt’s anti-veil campaign | Egypt Independent
  • Stipend attracting labor in Sinai raised to 300 percent  | Egypt Independent
  • Child rights group says child labor in Egypt involves not less than 2.7 million | Egypt Independent
  • Owner says Faraeen channel to close on Saturday | Egypt Independent
  • Doctors Syndicate calls on cabinet to raise health spending to 3 percent of state budget | Egypt Independent
  • Baseera poll shows 32 percent of Egyptians think media is free | Shorouk (Arabic)


Security director says child killed in Sharqiya blast
A five-year old child was killed on Thursday when an explosion occurred outside his home in a city in Sharqiya, north of Cairo, the governorate’s security director said. Director Meleigy Fattouh said that the child was playing under a tree near his home when the explosive device went off. [Aswat Masriya, 4/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Watchful Eyes of Egypt, a new Interpol operation | Egypt Independent
  • Unknown assailants torch train in Beni Suef | Shorouk(Arabic)


Egypt renews travel warning on Libya
Egypt renewed calls on its citizens to avoid travel to Libya as the security situation remains dangerous in the country. ­The foreign ministry also called on Egyptian expatriates in Libya to stay away from conflict-stricken areas. On Monday, Egyptian director Mohamed Galal, who worked at the Libyan TV station Barqa and was kidnapped in August 2014, was confirmed dead. Galal’s family said on Tuesday that his body is still missing, and they are currently awaiting any information regarding his whereabouts. Galal, 31 was kidnapped along with four other Libyans from the station crew, according to a Facebook post by his cousin Doaa Sultan. The bodies of the four abducted Libyans were identified by their families Tuesday night; however Mohamed Galal’s body was not among the deceased, according to Sultan. [Ahram Online, 4/30/2015]

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