Top News: Seven Brotherhood Supporters Sentenced to Life for Blocking Road

The Banha Criminal Court sentenced on Saturday seven defendants to life in prison for blocking the ring road on August 14, after the forcible dispersal of two pro-Mohamed Morsi encampments in Cairo.


Egypt parliament expands, to include 630 MPs
Egypt is set to increase its members of parliament by almost 30 percent under a new draft election law expected to be finalized in two months, an official has said. A revised law setting new rules for the upcoming parliamentary elections will increase the lower house seats to 630 from 444 under ousted president Mohamed Morsi, spokesperson of the law drafting committee Judge Mohamed Fawzy said. Thirty members–as compared to ten previously–will be named by the head of state while the rest will be elected in the parliamentary poll, Fawzy said. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 5/12/2014]

Sisi, Sabbahi continue media campaigns
Egypt’s presidential hopeful and former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in an interview with Sky News Arabia on Sunday that the army would not have to intervene if Egyptians came out against him, were he to become the country’s next president. Egyptians will enjoy better lives within the first two years of his presidency, Sisi promised in the second televised interview of his presidential campaign. Egypt’s other presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabbahi, said Friday night that, according to the constitution, the armed forces “is not above parliamentary monitoring” during a televised interview on privately-owned satellite channel CBC. He added that it would not be above other institutions and its personnel would not replace civilian experts. He also vowed to protect Sisi if he is elected president. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 5/10/2014]

Sisi’s campaign coordinator in Alexandria resigns over former regime influence
The coordinator of presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s campaign in Alexandria, Mostafa Kadry, resigned Saturday in protest at what he described as the dominance of remnants of the Mubarak regime in the campaign. Kadry said that his decision came due to the involvement of seventeen figures allegedly tied the Mubarak regime in Sisi’s campaign. “When I complained about their presence to members of the Cairo-based official central campaign in a meeting Friday, I was surprised to find that they saw no harm in their presence in the campaign,” said Kadry, who added that his decision came out of faith that “the presence of Mubarak’s loyalists in the official campaign contradicts with what Sisi announced as a refusal of the return of the former regime.” [Ahram Online, 5/10/2014]

Sisi, Sabbahi’s campaigns briefed on Egypt’s foreign policy
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met on Sunday with representatives of the country’s two presidential candidates to brief them on Egypt’s foreign policy since June 30. They discussed the ministry’s steps it has taken to return Egypt to its strategic role at regional levels, the ministry’s foreign policy vision in the immediate future, and ways to deal with some current issues, especially those directly related to Egyptian national security. Fahmy met with the campaign advisor for foreign affairs and the campaign media coordinator for candidates Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi, respectively. Fahmy’s meeting with both candidates is aimed to give them equal time to draft their electoral plans for Egypt’s foreign politics. [Ahram Online, 5/11/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Arab spring a plot to divide countries: Egypt’s Grand Imam | Ahram Online
  • 53 million Egyptians are registered voters: CAPMAS | Ahram Online
  • Dissolving our Nour Party better than bloodshed: Salafist leader | Ahram Online
  • Army chief says Egypt will see successful elections | Aswat Masriya


Thirty-seven Al-Azhar students jailed four years for rioting
An Egyptian court sentenced thirty-seven pro-Muslim Brotherhood students to four years in prison on Sunday over charges of rioting and practicing violence. The court also ordered that they be put under surveillance for four years and fined EGP 30,000 each. The defendants were accused of protesting without permit, blocking a road and vandalizing public property. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 5/11/2014]

Egypt charges 200 Islamist militants with bombings, other violence
Egypt’s general prosecution referred 200 suspected Ansar Beit al-Maqdis members to criminal court on Saturday, on charges of “founding, leading, and joining a terrorist organization” and launching bomb and rocket attacks across the country. The prosecutor’s statement said 102 of those charged were in government custody with the rest on the run. The prosecutor’s statement said the charges related to fifty-one attacks that killed forty police officers and fifteen civilians, including a car bomb at a security compound in central Cairo in January and an attempt to kill the interior minister in September. According to government figures, around 500 people have been killed in such attacks, mostly policemen and soldiers. Saturday’s statement called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis “the most dangerous terrorist organization” and said it had collaborated with al-Qaeda and Palestinian group Hamas. [Ahram Online, Reuters, DNE, 5/10/2014]

Seven Brotherhood supporters sentenced to life for blocking road
The Banha Criminal Court sentenced on Saturday seven defendants to life in prison for blocking the ring road on August 14, after the forcible dispersal of two pro-Mohamed Morsi encampments in Cairo. The defendants were referred to trial last March on charges of assembly, thuggery, disrupting traffic, resisting the authorities, possessing weapons and attacking citizens. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, 5/12/2014]

Also of Interest:


Egypt minister hails savings from smart-card system for bread distribution
Egypt’s supplies minister said on Saturday a smart-card system for bread distribution rolled out in one Egyptian city had reduced wheat consumption by 30 percent, easing the strain of subsidies on the government’s budget and foreign reserves. Khaled Hanafi told Egyptian state television that statistics gathered from the first stage of a reformed bread subsidy program in the Suez Canal city of Port Said showed a marked drop in consumption. The program has enabled the government to keep tabs on individual consumption of bread via the electronic cards, already used for other subsidized goods such as rice and sugar. [Aswat Masriya, 5/11/2014]

Egypt’s tax hike on wealthy to last three years
A new 5 percent surtax on the incomes of wealthy Egyptians will last for three years, the finance minister said on Saturday, less than three weeks before the country elects a new president. Hany Dimian said the tax, approved by the cabinet last week, would apply to those earning more than one million Egyptian pounds annually in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He said the first payment would be due in January 2015. Those subject to the tax would be given the choice of whether their funds should go towards public projects in education, health, agriculture, housing or infrastructure. The temporary tax had been under discussion for several months, but its approval comes shortly before presidential elections. [Reuters, 5/10/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sisi meets with young investors, businessmen and SME owners | DNE
  • IMF: Egypt’s economy strong, well-established, will flourish again | SIS


Controversial cleric says Egypt’s Sisi has added to country’s catastrophe
Egyptian Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, asked Egyptians on Sunday to boycott presidential elections saying it’s prohibited and that presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dismissed the elected president Mohamed Morsi and grabbed power through an act of tyranny. Qaradawi noted remarks by Israeli former Defense Minister Ehud Barak who called on the United States to support Sisi for presidency saying, “He’s their Sisi, not our Sisi.” He also added that he only brought murder and violence since he grabbed authority and that Egypt has not gained anything from his ascension. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 5/12/2014]

Police teargas student protesters in Alexandria
Security forces fired teargas to disperse dozens of protesting students in Alexandria on Saturday after they attempted to block the city’s Abu Qir highway, close to Alexandria University’s faculty of engineering. The students, reportedly supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, were demanding the release of dozens of their colleagues who have been arrested in earlier clashes with police. The protest started at the faculty of engineering after the students took their exams, which have been advanced in universities nationwide amid a rise of on-campus violence. [Ahram Online, 5/12/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt reverses travel ban on teenager inventor | Ahram Online
  • Former Al-Ahram chief editor jailed for slapping journalist | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Doctors Syndicate says use of coal will be ‘disastrous’ | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate suspends two-month partial strike | Ahram Online, DNE
  • We will not be ruled by a serial killer: Anti-Coup Alliance | DNE
  • Al Jazeera’s Elshamy could ‘die within a few days’: Doctor | DNE
  • Draft law combating sexual harassment is a positive yet insufficient step: Women’s rights advocates | DNE
  • Talk show host defends Douma in Cabinet clashes trial | Mada Masr
  • Pope Tawadros II: Jehovah’s Witnesses is unchristian, illegal sect | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Pope continues visit to UAE, giving thanks for Gulf support | Ahram Online


Soldier and policeman killed during raid in Sinai and Sharqiya
An army conscript was killed and another injured in clashes between security forces and militants in North Sinai. The clashes took place on Sunday morning when security forces launched a raid in the city of Sheikh Zuweid, a security source said. Security forces are searching the area for the perpetrators. In the governorate of Sharqiya, a police sergeant was killed when unidentified assailants fired shots at him. The sergeant was on duty and riding a motorcycle when he was attacked, a security source said. On Monday, unidentified men torched the Sharqiya headquarters of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s campaign before escaping, a security source said. The fire destroyed the main gate of the office, which had on it a large portrait of Sisi. [Ahram Online,DNE, 5/11/2014

Interior minister says forty terror cells discovered since April
At a press conference Monday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said security forces have uncovered forty terrorist cells since April and proclaimed that authorities are in a “decisive stage in curbing terrorism.” He aired the confessions of five alleged militants, saying they had masterminded a number of attacks. Some of their plots were foiled, Ibrahim said, but others were carried out, killing five senior police officers by planting explosives in their vehicles or posts or by drive-by shootings in the greater Cairo area. In the confessions, one of the militants, who identified himself as Abdullah Hussein, said he had fought in Syria’s civil war alongside Ahrar al-Sham, a member of an umbrella group of Islamist rebel factions in Syria. He said he trained there in weapons and explosives, then returned to Egypt three months ago and plotted the attacks on police and military. The contents of the confessions could not be independently confirmed. [AP, 5/12/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Palestinian among arrested as Sinai security operations continue | DNE
  • Defense Minister says able to secure presidential elections | Egypt Independent
  • Abducted policeman rescued north of Cairo | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt army says war against “black terrorism” to continue | Aswat Masriya


Egypt FM calls for release of prisoners as new Israeli ambassador arrives in Cairo
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy called on the international community to pressure Israel to end the administrative detention of Palestinians. Fahmy’s comments came during a meeting in Cairo with Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of Palestinian resistance leader Marwan Barghouti, who has been imprisoned in Israel for over a decade. New Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren arrived in Cairo Sunday afternoon to take his new position as successor to the former ambassador Yaakov Amitai. According to a diplomatic Egyptian source, Koren will submit his credentials in the coming days before starting his official duties. Egypt’s former army chief and presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a televised interview on Sunday that if necessary he might have to amend the peace treaty with Israel if he is elected president. [Ahram Online, DNE, 5/11/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute ‘not a war’ says Egypt PM | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Mahlab concludes Equatorial Guinea visit ahead of African Union summit | DNE