Top News: Sisi Admonishes Police, Government on Anniversary

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reproached police and criticized his government on Sunday, a year after he took office, after critics accused him of allowing human rights abuses to flourish and doing little to boost jobs. At an event to launch army-backed infrastructure projects, Sisi said “I apologize to every Egyptian citizen who has been subjected to any abuse. I am accountable for anything that happens to an Egyptian citizen.” But he presented no clear plan for addressing the problems.  The presidential office also issued a report Sunday evening in which it listed twenty-four activities as achievements. With the exception of the international Economic Summit held last March, the report did not tackle other economic steps, nor was there a mention of the ambitious New Suez Canal project. The list of achievements included seven meetings with different social factions and organizations, excluding any politician, where potential projects had been discussed. It also counted Sisi’s participation in a bike marathon and Cairo Runners’ marathon as achievements, as well as his decision to donate half his salary to the Long Live Egypt fund. Meanwhile, a poll by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) showed that Sisi’s approval rating is at an all-time high of 90 percent. The percentage at the end of the first year increased to 59 percent among those aged less than 30 years, and increased to 80 percent among those aged 50 or above, Baseera said. [Reuters, DNE, AP, Cairo Post, 6/8/2015]


Endowments Minister calls for international law criminalizing defamation of religion
Egypt’s minister for religious endowments called for the issuance of an “international law to criminalize contempt of religion” on Sunday. A ministry official spoke on behalf of Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa during a conference for world religious leaders in Kazakhstan. Gomaa believes the international law, which he is calling for, should criminalize contempt of religion “without any discrimination.” Gomaa warned from the use of religion for political or sectarian reasons, making the message of heavenly religions the “fuel of endless conflicts.” [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 6/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • PM briefs Sisi on gov’t accomplishments in year | SIS
  • Egypt gets first FAO certificate in era of Sisi | SIS
  • Human Right record embarrasses Sisi’s ‘successful’ foreign policy: experts | Cairo Post
  • January Revolution victims granted residential units: Housing Ministry | Cairo Post
  • Egypt’s BDS movement ready to challenge corporate, political elites over Israeli occupation | DNE
  • Sisi inaugurates thirty-nine projects | SIS
  • Al-Azhar controversy leads to curriculum updates | Al-Monitor


Officer, lawyer in assault case handed short suspended jail terms
An Egyptian court handed on Sunday short suspended jail sentences to both a senior police officer and a lawyer, who the former had assaulted at a police station. Ahmed Abdel-Hadi, deputy head of a police station in Damietta governorate, Nile Delta, was sentenced to three months in jail and 3,000 Egyptian pounds bail. He was also ordered to pay 5,000 Egyptian pounds in compensation for assaulting the lawyer without a legal justification. Lawyer Emad Fahmy was sentenced to one month in prison and 1,000 Egyptian pounds bail after being found guilty of insulting a public employee while on duty. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi apologized on Sunday to Egyptian lawyers saying, “I apologize to all of you, and I tell the state apparatuses please, we need to pay attention to everything despite the circumstances we’re in.” Sisi’s apology came amid an ongoing strike over police violations. The majority of lawyers nationwide responded to the call for a one-day strike to protest Fahmy’s assault. The Egyptian Democratic Party also expressed its solidarity with the strike. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 6/7/2015]

Egyptian women set to be presiding judges of first instance courts: Minister
Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend announced the imminent appointment of a batch of Egyptian women as presiding judge in courts of first instance. “In addition, women will be appointed as aides to the Minister of Justice in recognition of women’s role in the society,” Zend said in a Saturday press conference dubbed “Female Judges in the Arab World.” Since 2007, Egyptian women have been appointed court judges, with the first group including thirty female Judges. [Cairo Post, 6/6/2015]

Egypt arrests three April 6 members for incitement of civil disobedience
Egypt’s Beheira prosecution ordered on Saturday the detention of three members of the banned April 6 Youth Movement pending trial on charges of possessing flyers that call for civil disobedience on June 11. The three April 6 members were arrested in Abu al-Matameer district in Beheira governorate. A number of April 6 activists were arrested last week including Alexandrian activist Dalia Radwan, who was charged with membership in a banned group, but was later released on a 5000 Egyptian pounds bail. Last week, 63-year-old Hassan Mubarak was also arrested and charged with belonging to the banned April 6 Movement. Prosecutors ordered him detained for fifteen days pending investigations. [Ahram Online, 6/6/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt adjourns trial of officers accused of torturing lawyer to death; bail renewed | Ahram Online, DNE, Cairo Post
  • New passport regulations leave Egyptian expatriates in limbo | Egypt Independent
  • Staff of Cairo nursery detained after toddler drowns in pool | Ahram Online
  • Detainee dies in CSF camp amid torture allegations | DNE
  • Nine Brotherhood members sentenced to twenty-one years in prison in Minya | Egypt Independent
  • Court sentences twelve to prison for Suez violence | Aswat Masriya
  • New Cairo prison opens to reduce crowding inside detention facilities | DNE


African officials gather in Egypt to talk mega trade pact
Senior officials of three African economic blocs met in Egypt on Sunday to start hammering out details of a free trade agreement. The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) is to be launched at a summit of heads of state and government on Wednesday in Sharm al-Sheikh. The deal between the East African Community, Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa will create a market of twenty-six countries. The deal gives Egypt free trade access to seven new African nations. “The agreement will bolster Egypt’s status internationally and strategically,” Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said. Egypt expects to see its exports to African countries rise by 100 percent in three years to $5 billion, compared to $2.7 billion in 2013. Abdel-Nour added that Egypt has agreed with the African Development Bank to provide credit facilities worth $500 million to Egyptian exporters to support Cairo’s trade deals with Africa. [Reuters, AFP, Ahram Online,  6/7/2015]

Also of Interest


Ninety-six students take final exams from prison
The number of students taking the General Secondary Education Certificate (Thanaweya Amma) from prisons reached ninety-six, according Mohamed Saad, the head of Thanaweya Amma exams in the Ministry of Education. However, Students Against the Coup (SAC) reported that detained Al-Azhar secondary school students in the tenth of Ramadan district were deliberately disrupted by supervisors as they took their exams in detention on Saturday. The group posted on its official page about the incident, alleging that security forces appointed supervisors from the banned National Democratic Party (NDP) to supervise the exams. Supervisors allegedly delayed the delivery of answer papers to students, distracted them while taking the test, and withdrew exam papers before the end of the specified duration of the exam. The Head of the Azhari Institutes sector, Mohamed Abo Zeid, denied that there were any violations or disruptions during the exams. He added that examinations held in detention facilities follow certain procedures, and depending on the prison’s location, supervisors are selected from the same area. [DNE, 6/8/2015 ]

Endowments Ministry to face hardliners using Whatsapp, Facebook
The Endowments Ministry has begun training 300 imams and preachers on the renewal of religious discourse and confronting extremism on Sunday, by using Whatsapp and Facebook. If an imam finds himself unable to answer any question by a hardliner, he can send a message through Whatsapp or Facebook to the Endowments Ministry, which will respond to him immediately. [Egypt Independent, 6/8/2015]   

Also of Interest

  • Cairo University professor dismissed over sexually assaulting student | Cairo Post
  • 24.7 percent of Egypt’s women, 36.7 of men are illiterate: health ministry | Cairo Post
  • Renovating Cairo’s Downtown: Contested visions of the heart of the city | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s high school final exam leaked online | Ahram Online
  • Metal detectors used in high school testing rooms to prevent hi-tech cheating | Cairo Post
  • NGOs condemn al-Raml police station verdict | DNE
  • Source: Pope approves new regulations on personal status | Egypt Independent
  • Pope Tawadros takes part religious festival between Orthodox, Catholic churches | SIS
  • Electricity Ministry cancels price increase as per Sisi instructions | Egypt Independent
  • New Suez Canal prepares for August opening | Egypt Independent
  • Journalists’ Syndicate to participate in June 10 strike | Egypt Independent
  • 1,400 mothers die per year at childbirth | Egypt Independent
  • Human rights organizations criticize ‘insulting Interior Ministry’ as charge | Egypt Independent


Report shows 163 cases of forced disappearance since April
Several activists who were allegedly abducted by security forces and illegally detained over the past few weeks faced the prosecutor on Friday. These incidents have largely targeted members of the April 6 Youth Movement, leading some to speculate that the crackdown is in response to the group’s call for a general strike on June 11 to protest the deteriorating economic conditions and political climate of the past two years. Lawyers have documented dozens of forced disappearances recently, a phenomenon that they say marks a new phase in the Interior Ministry’s unconstitutional crackdown on activists. A report compiled by the Freedom for the Brave campaign documented 132 cases, with an additional thirty-one cases reported but with no documentation, to reach a total of 163 cases in almost two months. The report cited sixty-six cases of ongoing forced disappearances, where the whereabouts of those subject to disappearance remains unknown. The campaign’s report also documented sixty-four “finished” cases, with the detainees’ whereabouts eventually confirmed. The report also mentioned forced disappearance cases that ended with deaths of the disappeared. [DNE, Mada Masr, 6/8/2015]

Also of Interest


Cairo court overturns verdict designating Hamas a terrorist organization
The Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters overturned Saturday the ruling that a lower court had issued on February 28, 2015 designating the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas a terrorist organization. The February court decision was appealed by the State Litigation Authority, which represents the Egyptian government. The decision was made due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction on the matter. Judicial sources said the decision signals a possible easing of pressure on the Gaza Strip’s ruling faction. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, welcomed the court’s ruling, saying it would have “positive consequences on the relationship between Hamas and Egypt.” Prior to the initial ruling, the Abdeen Court for Urgent Matters had accused the group of carrying out terrorist attacks in Egypt and using tunnels between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle arms and funds, with the aim of terrorizing people and targeting military and police forces. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP,  Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 6/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • New documents reveal Israeli war crimes against Egyptian prisoners of war in 1967 | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt-Libya Sallum border crossing opens from Libyan side Monday | Cairo Post
  • Washington: Egypt requested control systems to secure border with Libya | Egypt Independent
  • 47, 985 Egyptians fled Libya since beheading video: official | Cairo Post
  • Ramadan Umrah crisis reaches impasse | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt voices support for ‘legitimate government and army’ in Libya| Ahram Online
  • Egypt, Italy and Algeria to discuss Libya in Cairo | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, SIS, Cairo Post    
  • Sisi calls on Hungary ‘to convey real image’ of Egypt to EU | Ahram Online
  • Hungary’s Orban tells Sisi western ideals not necessarily suited for Egypt | AP
  • Transportation Ministry to start contracting procedures of trains, rail cars with Hungary | Egypt Independent
  • Tony Blair arrives in Cairo for region talks | Ahram Online, Cairo Post  
  • Russia begins naval exercises with Egypt | AP, DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Hall of Egyptian children’s cancer hospital named after late Saudi king | Ahram Online
  • Shoukry to attend Syrian opposition conference in Cairo | Egypt Independent, AP
  • ‘Aida 4’ participates in maritime exercises with Cyprus | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian-Libyan treaty on border crossing procedures implemented | DNE
  • Azhar grand sheikh starts tour in Europe | Egypt Independent, Cairo Post
  • Egypt ex-minister says FIFA’s Warner asked for $7 million bribe | AFP, Reuters, The Guardian  
  • Only the Syrians have paid the bill for the “Syrian tragedy” – Egyptian FM | Aswat Masriya
  • PM meets Russian Federal Atomic Energy delegation | SIS