Top News: Sabbahi Vows to Continue Brotherhood Ban; Reject US Assistance

Hamdeen Sabbahi vowed to maintain the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood if he is elected president.

Sabbahi vows to continue Brotherhood ban; reject US assistance
Hamdeen Sabbahi vowed to maintain the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood if he is elected president. In an interview on Al-Nahar channel on Tuesday, Sabahi said, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not exist as an organization whose loyalty is to foreign entities, or as a political party. This is in accordance with the 2014 constitution that bans parties based on religion. Nevertheless Islamic trends will not be prosecuted or hunted down as long as they are peaceful.” When asked about the role of the military, Sabbahi said, “There will be no political role for the army under my presidency. The army will protect the country but will not rule.” During the interview, he vowed, if elected, to deny economic assistance from the United States and ensure that Egypt is not treated as a “subordinate.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 5/7/2014]

Egypt’s cabinet approves new anti-sexual harassment law
Egypt’s cabinet approved on Wednesday a new anti-sexual harassment law. The cabinet had amended the law and sent it to the justice ministry for revision last month. The justice minister then revised it and sent it back to the government for final approval. Previously, there had not been a specific law proscribing sexual harassment in Egypt, but three articles in the penal code were sometimes applied in cases of sexual harassment. The new draft states that a sexual harasser is one who “accosts others in a public or private place through following or stalking them, using gestures or words or through modern means of communication or in any other means through actions that carry sexual or pornographic hints.” The new law punishes sexual harassment with a prison sentence, a fine, or both. [Ahram Online, 5/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt reacts to Sisi interview | Mada Masr
  • Morsi’s family denies ousted president released Islamists | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Sisi: The people are uncomfortable with political Islam; when they say leave I will do it immediately | AMAY (Arabic)


Morsi Wadi Natrun trial resumes to hear witness
A Cairo criminal court, headed by Judge Shaaban al-Shamy resumed the trial of Mohammed Morsi over charges of storming prisons during the January 25 Revolution. Morsi and 130 other defendants are charged with espionage, terrorism, and weapons smuggling among other other charges. The court heard testimony today from General Adel Helmi Mohamed Azeb, who testified that a group consisting of Bedouin, Hamas, and Hezbollah partisans equipped with heavy arms stormed the prison. [Egypt Independent, 5/8/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Shubra police department events trial adjourned to May 21 | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt court sentence sixteen to three years for violent clashes | Aswat Masriya


Egypt cabinet approves 5 percent tax hike on rich
Egypt’s government approved a temporary 5 percent tax on wealthy individuals to fund social programs, the cabinet said in a statement late on Wednesday, less than three weeks before the country votes for a new president. The tax hike, which will apply to those earning over one million Egyptian pounds ($142,200) a year, still needs to be passed by Interim President Adly Mansour before it can be implemented and will only be applied for a temporary period. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 5/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s government to reapply daylight saving time | Ahram Online
  • Egypt seeks funds for public projects in stock market | Ahram Online
  • Emirates NDB Egypt bank to loan LE711 mil to develop Cairo International Airport | Egypt Independent
  • Tuk tuks: Tottering through regulations | Mada Masr
  • Agriculture Ministry beginning to implement program to develop Aswan countryside | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • UAE energy minister talks with Egyptian ambassador about cooperation in the sphere of energy | Shorouk (Arabic)


Banned April 6 group mulls election boycott
A branch of the April 6 Youth Movement said on Wednesday it opposes former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidential candidacy but has not yet decided whether or not to boycott the upcoming poll. An in-house poll showed that members evidently oppose Sisi, with some either backing Sabbahi or pondering a boycott, the April 6 Democratic Front said in a statement, adding that the group may boycott or throw its weight behind leftist Sabbahi. The group also announced that it would launch a campaign titled, “Against you,” in opposition to former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which aims to “uncover his lies and previous positions against the revolution.” [Ahram Online, 5/7/2014]

Rights groups claim torture in Egypt is systemic
Torture in Egypt has become an “unwritten law” that is more powerful than laws and the constitution, a group of human rights groups said on Wednesday. In a press conference held to condemn the continued torture practices exercised by the Egyptian authorities, three human rights groups stressed that torture is “systematically” practiced. The groups included Freedom for the Brave, Nation without Torture and Al-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims. The groups released a statement during the press conference where they referred to torture as “one of the legacies of Mubarak’s regime.” [DNE, Mada Masr, 5/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Project threatening Sharm reefs halted, for now | Mada Masr
  • Ethnic Oromos protest in Cairo over violence in Ethiopia | Ahram Online
  • Health Ministry in Qalayubiya denies new cases of MERS | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Brotherhood student rally at Cairo University demanding colleagues’ release | AMAY (Arabic)


Security prevents attack on petroleum and electricity companies in Suez
National security forces foiled an attack on petroleum and electricity companies in Suez, a security source said. The source added that security forces in Suez arrested twenty-five “thugs and convicts,” who were allegedly hired by the Muslim Brotherhood to orchestrate attacks on police and military forces during the upcoming presidential elections. [Mada Masr, 5/8/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Criminal elements in Sohag arrested for possession of ten bombs, a rifle, and drugs | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Soldier and officer injured in clashes between security and residents in al-Saloum | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Assailants set fire to police officer’s car in Beni Suef | Egypt Independent


US to nominate Iraq ambassador as next ambassador to Egypt
The Obama administration plans to nominate its ambassador in Iraq to be the new US ambassador in Cairo, US officials said on Wednesday, as US-Egyptian ties remain strained following the Egyptian army’s ouster of an elected president last year following popular protests against him. Robert Stephen Beecroft, a longtime diplomat who has been US ambassador in Baghdad since 2012, would replace Anne Patterson, who left the Cairo post last year and is now serving as a senior official on Middle East issues in Washington. It is not clear when Beecroft would be formally nominated, the officials said on condition of anonymity. The Senate must confirm US ambassador positions. [Reuters 5/8/2015]

Egypt condemns abduction of Nigerian girls
The Foreign Ministry denounced the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, spokesman for the ministry Badr Abdel-Aati said. He expressed hope that the abducted students would be released soon. Also, Al-Azhar condemned Boko Haram’s kidnapping of the girls and claiming they would deal with them as slaves to be sold or married by force. In a statement, Al-Azhar said this act has nothing to do with the tolerant and noble teachings of Islam. It also called for the immediate release of the girls and holding the kidnappers accountable for any harm to them. In the same context, Awqaf Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa deplored the kidnapping of the girls. [SIS, 5/7/2014]

UNHCR says some improvements for Syrian refugees in Egypt
Assistant Foreign Minister for Refugees and Migration Tariq Maati hosted an international delegation tasked with inspecting the status of Syrian refugees in Egypt on Tuesday. The delegation, made up of representatives from nations willing to resettle Syrian refugees, concluded its visit on Wednesday, according to a foreign ministry statement. Nations represented in the delegation included Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Following the meeting, Maati said that Egypt is prepared to cooperate further with the international community “to ensure the best ways to help our brothers Syrians live in dignity and alleviate their suffering”. [DNE 5/7/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian cleric denies terror support at NY trial | AP
  • UK Charity Commission asked to contribute to Brotherhood review | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian ambassador to Jordan urges Egyptian migrants to legalise status | DNE
  • Mehleb heads a delegation to Guinea-Bissau | Egypt Independent