Top News: Rights Group Says 127 Students Arrested in Past Three Days


Egyptian universities started the new academic year on Saturday amid a tense atmosphere marked by condemnation and calls for protests.



Prime minister says parliamentary district law to be issued in three weeks
Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said late Monday that a law redrawing the country’s parliamentary districts will be issued within the next two to three weeks. Mahlab said the law is currently being revised, aiming to redraw Egypt’s districts to comply with the requirements of the new constitution. Article 102 of the new constitution stipulates that legislators must ensure that they represent both geography and population. Efforts aimed at holding Egypt’s parliamentary elections later this year have gained momentum in recent days, but Justice Minister Mahfouz Saber, a member of the legislative reform committee, said in a public statement after an October 9 meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that the electoral districting cannot be finalized because “the new [district borders] cannot be completed without taking the addition of three new governorates into account,” suggesting a wider public dialogue would be required. [Ahram Online, 10/14/2014]

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Brotherhood figures sentenced to three to fifteen years for torturing opponents in 2011
Several Muslim Brotherhood figures were sentenced Saturday to three to fifteen year prison sentences on charges of torturing an opponent protester during the January 2011 uprising. Brotherhood leading member Mohamed al-Beltagy, Islamic preacher Safwat Hegazy in addition to Brotherhood member Hazem Farouk and Al-Jazeera‘s Ahmed Mansour were handed fifteen-year sentences. Brotherhood members and loyalists Omar Zaky, Mohsen Rady, Osama Yassin and Judge Mahmoud al-Khodeiry were given three-year sentences. Additionally, a court on Tuesday sentenced former parliamentarian and Wasat Party leading figure Essam Sultan to a year’s hard labor for insulting the judiciary.  Egypt’s prosecutor Hisham Barakat, meanwhile, referred on Tuesday Rifaa al-Tahtawi, Morsi’s chief of staff, for appointing a  “terrorist”, al-Sayed Rifai, to the position of national expert at the presidency’s central administration. Rifai is a convicted “terrorist”, the prosecution said in a statement on Tuesday. He served fifteen years in prison for crimes which include joining a “terrorist” organization, torching, vandalising, possessing arms and attacking citizens, among other charges. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/14/2014]

Egypt court to issue verdict on same-sex marriage video on November 1
Qasr al-Nil misdemeanor court decided to issue its verdict on November 1 for the case of eight men charged with “debauchery” for appearing in an online video of a gay wedding on a Nile boat. The defendants have been detained since early September as per an order from Egypt’s prosecutor-general to investigate charges of debauchery and spreading acts that violate public decency. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/11/2014]

Court adjourns presidential palace verdict to October 16
A Cairo Misdemeanor court postponed on Saturday the trial of twenty-four defendants charged with violating the protest law to Thursday, October 16, while keeping the defendants in custody. Sanaa Seif, sister of prominent political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, was arrested alongside photojournalist Abdel-Rahman Mohamed who works for al-Badil news site, human rights lawyer Yara Sallam, and photographer Rania al-Sheikh, and twenty others on June 21 while taking part in a march calling for the repeal of the protest law and the release of all those arrested on background of the law. The defendants were crammed into a small detention room at the Tora Police Institute, where the proceedings took, but journalists were forbidden from attending the session. A power cut in the room meant lawyers had to proceed with the defense using light from their mobile phones. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 10/11/2014]

Also of Interest
Man accused of sexually harassing journalist on EgyptAir flight referred to detention | Mada Masr
Douma tells court health is deteriorating; judge adjourns 2011 cabinet case | Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr
Hunger striking Mohamed Soltan to remain in detention as trial adjourns to October 15 | Aswat Masriya, DNE, Mada Masr
Three men arrested for attack on police officers | DNE
Twenty-two arrested in Kafr al-Sheikh protests Friday | DNE
Morsi Presidential Palace trial postponed | DNE
The ‘Grand Espionage Case’ to resume Tuesday | Mada Masr
Former presidential spokesman trial postponed to October 18 | DNE
Detained photojournalist’s retrial postponed to November 3 | DNE
Prosecution’s primary investigation suggests speeding is cause of Edfu car crash | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s GDP growth rate up to 3.7 percent in fourth quarter

In a sign that confidence is returning to the Egyptian economy, the country’s GDP growth rate is up to 3.7 percent from the previous 2.5 percent. Despite the positive note, full-year growth rate remains unchanged. The IMF is expected to asses Egypt’s economy in November. Egypt hopes that this assessment could strengthen the country’s economic outlook ahead of an economic summit in February 2015. [Reuters, 10/13/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt to receive $5 billion in loans from UAE and Saudi Arabia: Source | Ahram Online
Egypt has paid back $500 million to Qatar: Central bank governor | Reuters, DNE
IMF to assess Egypt’s economy in November: Finance minister | Ahram Online
Manufacturing grows and unemployment stabilizes during FY 2013/2014: Planning ministry | DNE
Egypt to approve domestic product preference laws before February 2015: Prime Minister | DNE
Notable increase in agricultural exports to Russia: Ministry spokesman | DNE
Kuwaiti fund to grant Egypt $100 million loan for power station | DNE
Income and capital gains tax revenues register EGP7.8 million in July, August | DNE
$400 million British Gas investment to develop Rashid and Burollus gas fields: Ministry of petroleum | DNE
Egypt central bank seen keeping rates on hold as inflation eases | Reuters
Government announces project to produce biodiesel from cooking oil | Aswat Masriya
Egypt imposes temporary tariffs to protect steel industry | Reuters


Rights group says 127 students arrested in past three days
Egyptian universities started the new academic year on Saturday amid a tense atmosphere marked by condemnation and calls for protests. Heightened security measures have seen at least 127 students arrested in the past three days, according to rights group, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. At least seventy-eight students were arrested from their homes across the country between Saturday and early Sunday. Raids on the homes of a number of Al-Azhar University students continued on Monday, with more arrests made.  Egyptian police backed by armored vehicles stormed the campuses of Cairo and Al-Azhar universities on Sunday, where students smashed a number of newly installed metal detectors, and broke through the electronic campus gates. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protests.  Egypt’s higher education minister said all students who protested at universities on Sunday will be expelled by the evening of the same day. On Monday, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim ordered the “heavy presence” of security forces on Al-Azhar University’s campus. Protests, however, have continued as students in university campuses across Egypt rallied on Monday condemning the arrest and suspension of fellow students. [AP, Mada Masr, DNE, Ahram Online, 10/14/2014]

Also of Interest
Alaa Abdel Fattah’s right to fair trial violated: EMHRN | DNE
Dar al-Ifta condemns American satirist’s comments on Islam | DNE
Thirty killed in road accident in Edfu | AP, Mada Masr
Air Force commander announces air taxi service | Mada Masr
Faculty members to protest despite scrapping of university law | Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr


Three corpses found in Egypt’s Arish
Residents in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula found three dead bodies south of Arish on Sunday morning, a security source from the police said. The three bodies, shot in the head, belonged to youth of known tribes in North Sinai, according to the security source. Meanwhile, unknown assailants killed Saturday a 32-year-old employee in central Sinai, security sources said, suspecting the assailants to belong to the fundamental Islamist groups in the peninsula. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 10/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt says kills top militant leader in Sinai | Reuters


$5.4 billion pledged for Gaza reconstruction at Cairo conference
In continued efforts to bring reconstructive aid to Gaza, a total of $5.4 billion was pledged at the Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Cairo on Sunday. The conference organized by Egypt, Norway, and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, included more than ninety countries and international organizations. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addressed the Israeli government and people during the Gaza reconstruction conference on Sunday, saying “it’s time to end the struggle.” Sisi described the conference as an “important” and “indispensable” step. Egypt’s foreign affairs minister, Sameh Shoukry, also said on Sunday that re-opening Palestinian-Israeli border crossings in Gaza will help in rebuilding the war-torn coastal enclave. [DNE, Ahram Online, SIS, 10/12/2014]

Kerry says US to send Egypt Apache helicopters in November
The United States will send Apache helicopters to Egypt in November, said US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday at a meeting Monday with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the presence of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Kerry also said that a group of investors will visit Egypt the same month to study available investment opportunities, as Kerry made clear US intentions to assist Egypt in its economic growth. Kerry broached human rights during the meeting as well. “The Secretary also emphasized the importance of a vibrant civil society and giving all Egyptians space to make their voices heard,” a State Department official said. The pair met following the daylong Gaza Reconstruction Conference held in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the outcome of the day’s events and bilateral and regional cooperation. Kerry said on Sunday that Egypt’s role as “an intellectual and cultural capital of the Muslim world” is highly important in “in publicly renouncing the ideology of hatred and violence that [ISIS] spreads.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/13/2014]

Also of Interest
Sudan restates claim to disputed territory with Egypt | Al-Monitor
Key Ethiopia dam talks to begin in Cairo on Thursday | Ahram Online
Russian officials coordinate Putin’s first visit to Egypt | Ahram Online
Foreign ministry condemns ongoing violence in Yemen | DNE, SIS
Shoukry stresses support for Libyan government | DNE, SIS
Egyptian workers riot in western Saudi Arabia | AP
Egyptian Embassy in Washington releases report praising Sisi | Mada Masr, SIS
Egypt, Algeria discuss bilateral ties, regional issues | SIS
FM meets with Estonian counterpart | SIS
Egypt, UAE forces in joint military exercises | SIS
Shoukry receives Chinese envoy for Middle East | DNE
Egypt’s army sends food supply to Gaza strip | Aswat Masriya