Top News: Sisi Approves New Parliamentary Election Law

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified amendments to an election law regulating electoral constituencies, paving the way for setting a date for long-delayed parliamentary elections, according to state news agency MENA. A judicial official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said the reviewed version took into account the Supreme Court’s concerns. The ratified law defines voting districts in the country of more than 50 million voters. According to the new amendments, Egypt will be divided into 205 electoral constituencies for individual candidates and four for the party lists. The former parliamentary electoral laws were ruled unconstitutional in March by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), on the grounds of disproportionate districting. [Ahram OnlineAPCairo Post, 7/10/2015]

Shafiq revokes Patriotic Movement Party resignation
President of the Egyptian Patriotic Movement Ahmed Shafiq on Thursday withdrew his resignation, and said that he would remain the head of the political party. However, in a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Shafiq said that he will make “fundamental changes” to the party’s leadership in all Egyptian governorates. “As my resignation was rejected from the party, I decided to withdraw it hoping to continue my political activities with my colleagues in the party to serve our beloved country,” Shafiq said. In mid-June, he submitted his resignation to the party’s higher committee, citing his inability to perform duties from outside Egypt as the reason behind his move. However, the party’s Deputy Head, Yahia Qadry, who replaced Shafiq in his absence, told Daily News Egypt at the time of Shafiq’s announcement that the party’s higher committee planned to convince the party chief to take back the resignation. A few days later, the party issued a statement rejecting Shafiq’s resignation. [Ahram Online, DNE, Cairo Post, 7/10/2015]   

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Egypt court sentences fourteen Islamists to death over murder, violence charges
An Egyptian criminal court has sentenced ten alleged supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death in connection with charges of killing a senior judge’s security guard outside Cairo. The court on Thursday said that it was referring the ruling to the Grand Mufti, the country’s top Islamic authority, for his non-binding judgment on the matter. The charges stem from the February 2014 killing of a security guard to a senior judge, Hussein Kandil, in the Nile Delta province of Mansoura. The rulings can be appealed. The same court in Mansoura on Thursday sentenced four Islamists to death and nine others to life in jail over violence-related charges dating back to protests in August 2013, a judicial source said. Eight of the nine sentenced to life in prison were sentenced in absentia. The rest of the defendants were present at the court hearing. The Mansoura Criminal Court in Daqahlia also sentenced on Thursday two men to five years in prison and acquitted a third over charges of joining al-Nusra Front, one of the militant groups fighting government forces in Syria. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 7/9/2015]

Bus driver receives suspended sentence for killing GUC student
Egypt’s court has handed four bus drivers and the German University in Cairo (GUC) bus supervisor a suspended sentence of six months in prison for the accidental killing of GUC student, after she was hit by a university bus. Bus driver Mohammed Mamdouh, who stood accused of hitting 19-year-old engineering student Yara Tarek Negm, has been released on bail of 2,000 Egyptian pounds. In early March, Negm was hit by a bus in the GUC parking lot and later died after sustaining a skull fracture and losing a large amount of blood. In March, Mamdouh was detained for three days, but released after three students testified that he was only driving in the bus lane. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 7/9/2015]

Airport security denies activist Khaled al-Sayed is in custody, says lawyer
Security officials at Cairo Airport on Thursday retracted their remarks that activist Khaled al-Sayed was detained pending investigations by the National Security Agency, according to Haleem Heniesh, the lawyer representing Sayed. In a Facebook statement posted Thursday afternoon, Henish said that the security officials denied that Sayed had been taken into custody and refused to allow his lawyer entry into their office. Sayed was detained on Thursday by airport security as he was attempting to depart for Qatar, the Freedom for the Brave campaign said in a Facebook statement. Sayed, who is a member of the Revolution Path Front, sent a message to a friend early Thursday saying that he had been detained before his mobile phone was turned off. Airport security initially denied his arrest until officials spoke to his lawyer, who confirmed his detention. [Mada Masr, 7/10/2015]  

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Egypt’s annual core, urban inflation drop in June
Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation and core inflation dropped in June after rising last month, with analysts saying the fall reflected slower growth in food prices. Core annual inflation, which excludes volatile items like fruit and vegetables, dropped slightly to 8.07 percent from 8.14 percent the previous month, the central bank said. Hany Farahat, a senior economist at CI Capital, said last month’s jump was due to expected volatility in food items ahead of the Ramadan. Urban consumer inflation dropped to 11.4 percent from 13.1 percent in May, official statistics agency CAPMAS said on Thursday. Capital Economics, an economic research company, said inflation could drop into single digits during July. [Reuters, 7/9/2015]

Egypt’s Al-Azhar condemns same-sex marriage campaign
Al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading authority on Sunni Islam, has accused “international organisations” of controlling the ongoing global campaign supporting gay marriage. The institution said the campaign is using all means of mass communication, including the “recruitment” of famous personalities, in order to promote and praise homosexuality. “Homosexuality and moral decline are not a victory for human rights, rather, they contradict with the God Almighty’s honoring and favoring of [humans] over all his creation; it is a degeneration of humanity into the bottom of vice,” Al-Azhar said. The Islamic institution also said it rejected all campaigns to spread or legalise homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the Muslim world. [Ahram Online, DNE, Cairo Post, 7/10/2015]    

Nine NGOs dissolved in Suez, two win lawsuit against dissolution
Nine NGOs allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood were dissolved on Thursday in Suez by the Ministry of Social Solidarity as part of a 2013 court ruling that orders all funds of the group be frozen. Under Secretary of the Ministry of Solidarity Madiha Noun called on banks to freeze the funds of the nine associations, according to Youm7. In the past six months, the ministry examined the activities and funding sources of seventeen Brotherhood-affiliated NGOs in Suez. The ministry is now running four of the NGOs, and dissolved nine. The remaining two filed a lawsuit against their dissolution and won the case. [Cairo Post, 7/10/2015]  

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Egypt’s interior ministry issues ‘constitutional booklet’ to police officers
The Egyptian ministry of interior has issued a booklet to all police officers outlining certain duties and civilian rights granted by the constitution. The booklet, called “The constitutional regulations for security performance,” will help security elements to perform their “noble role” with full commitment according to constitutional legitimacy, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “Brothers and sons…There is no doubt that the constitution is the main foundation that describes the framework of the state and its ruling system, while also determining the rights and freedoms of the individual,” Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar wrote in the booklet’s introduction. Copies of the book and details of its contents have not been released to the public. [Ahram Online, 7/10/2015]  

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Foreign Minister says Africa to be Egypt’s top priority if it wins non-permanent UNSC seat
Addressing African issues would be a top priority for Egypt at the United Nations (UN) if it wins a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in elections scheduled for October, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Friday. Speaking to reporters en route to Egypt from South Sudan, where he took part in celebrations for the fourth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, Shoukry said Egypt is keen on supporting African nations in all fields. Shoukry hailed ties binding Egypt and South Sudan, adding that Egypt has had distinguished ties with South Sudan since its independence. [SIS, 7/10/2015]

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