Two Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were released on bail on Thursday by a Cairo criminal court after spending over a year in prison. The court postponed the first session in a retrial of the journalists and a number of other defendants to February 23 and ordered the release of all defendants pending trial. 


Sisi blames unrest on ‘civilizational gap’
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has shrugged off the killing of protesters by police and other human rights abuses, telling a German magazine that there is a “civilizational gap” between his country and Germany, where security forces and demonstrators are more “responsible.” In the interview published on the English website of the German magazine Der Spiegel on Monday, Sisi said critics of Egypt’s human rights record narrowly focus on freedom of expression, ignoring that millions of Egyptians want better education, jobs and shelter. When the interviewers pointed to the mass killing of Morsi supporters during a crackdown on two Cairo sit-ins in 2013 , Sisi said if the police didn’t move in to break up the gatherings, civilians would have done so, leading to “ten times” more deaths. [AP, 2/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Talks underway to merge Egyptian Wafd Alliance with “For the Love of Egypt” electoral list | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • ESDP excludes prominent members to join new electoral list | Ahram Online
  • ‘For the Love of Egypt’ electoral list leaves political parties divided | Ahram Online
  • HEC sets procedures for Egyptians voting abroad | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Nour Party finalizes electoral list | Ahram (Arabic)


Egypt court releases all Al Jazeera case defendants pending retrial
Two Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were released on bail on Thursday by a Cairo criminal court after spending over a year in prison. The court postponed the first session in a retrial of the journalists and a number of other defendants to February 23 and ordered the release of all defendants pending trial. All the defendants were released without paying bail costs except for Fahmy who was ordered to pay 250,000 Egyptian pounds ($33,000). All defendants also face a travel ban, and lawyers said the judge said all defendants must report to their local police station every day. Fahmy, who had renounced his Egyptian citizenship in a bid to be released, said he was “duped” into giving up his nationality, and held up an Egyptian flag in court. A lawyer on Fahmy’s team who declined to be identified said the court’s decision to release the two journalists “was an indication that the court is going to acquit them.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 2/12/2015]

Egypt prosecutor imposes media gag order on Sabbagh case
Egypt’s top prosecutor issued on Thursday a gag order prohibiting media outlets from covering updates on the case of slain activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh until investigation into her murder is concluded. Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat said in a statement that media outlets have circulated “several accounts, inaccurate and contradictory information” regarding the case, adding that this would affect the investigation. The statement added that the gag order will remain until the investigation is completed. [AP, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 2/12/2015]

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urges media to “publish headlines” on overturning mass death sentences
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urged on Thursday media outlets to highlight the court’s decision to overturn thirty-six death sentences served en-masse to Muslim Brotherhood supporters last year. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement published in English that the court’s decision reflects the “independence, fairness, and transparency” of Egypt’s judiciary. “In the interest of fairness and journalistic professionalism, all of the newspapers and agencies that published screaming headlines regarding the initial verdicts are also obligated to publish headlines of their nullification,” the statement read. “Failure to do so would raise serious questions regarding the impartiality and professionalism of these media entities.” [Egypt independent, Aswat Masriya, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Morsi, interior minister to testify in Port Said prison clashes trial | DNE
  • Military court sentences twenty-one student protesters to fifteen years in prison | Mada Masr


Kuwait’s Emir to attend Sharm al-Sheikh economic conference
Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah is going to attend the upcoming Economic Development Conference planned for next March in Sharm al-Sheikh, the Egyptian presidency announced on Wednesday. Early Wednesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received the Kuwaiti ambassador Salem Ghassab in Cairo who delivered a personal message from Kuwait’s Emir informing him he would personally attend the conference. In related news, Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab travelled to Dubai on Wednesday for a summit. Mahlab is meeting with with Dubai ruler Mohamed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Abu Dhabi ruler Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, and some of the country’s leading businessmen and investors to invite them to the economic summit. [Ahram Online, SIS, 2/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt negotiating exemption from Russia wheat export tax | Reuters
  • Egyptian pound steady for seventh straight dollar sale | Reuters
  • Egypt to pay back $1 billion deposit to Qatar in October | Arab today
  • Egypt to issue $1 billion, 1-year, dollar T-bill – central bank | Reuters


After 100 days of hunger striking, Alaa Abdel-Fattah agrees to partial strike
Prominent political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah will commence a partial hunger strike after being on full hunger strike for 100 days, said his sister, rights activist Mona Seif, Wednesday. According to Seif, her brother decided to end his full hunger strike after recent health problems related to his kidneys. The Cairo Criminal Court decided Thursday to postpone the Shura Council case to February 16 after having previously and continuously postponed the retrial since June 2014. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 2/12/2015]

Zamalek to formally question Gaber over refusal to play during disaster game
Zamalek midfielder Omar Gaber, who made big news by not playing against ENPPI over the death of fans before the match, has been suspended pending an inquiry into his conduct by the management, the club announced on Thursday. The 23-year-old midfielder refused to take part in the game after he was informed that fans had died in the Air Defense Stadium disaster. His wages have also been withheld until the investigation is complete. The East Cairo Prosecution also decided on Wednesday to summon Gaber to hear his witness account on the deadly encounter. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) is in ongoing negotiations with the interior ministry over the resumption of the Premier League season, which was suspended by the cabinet following the violence. [Ahram Online, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest


Army destroys tunnels in Sinai and arrests 107 in Saloum
Army forces destroyed a number of tunnels in Rafah in the restive Sinai Peninsula, arresting four people and confiscating six trucks loaded with cigarette cartons. Security forces in Sinai also arrested two people and seized two trucks and a drug-laden fishing boat. In Saloum city, border guard patrol arrested 107 people including ten Sudanese nationals attempting to illegally cross the border. Forces also seized four cars used to smuggle drugs to Siwa and Hurghada. [Shorouk (Arabic), 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Interior Minister: Police and army capable of securing elections | EGYNews (Arabic)


Dar al-Ifta warns against rising Islamophobia in West
Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta warned against the spread of Islamophobia in the West following demonstrations that have swept several European countries raising anti-Islamic slogans, a Wednesday statement by Dar al-Ifta read. Egypt’s Grand Mufti also denounced the killing of three Muslim students at a university in North Carolina, describing the shooting as “a racist and terrorist crime.” Ibrahim Negm, an adviser to the Mufti told the US National Public Radio, “The killing reveals the ugly face of Islamophobia.” Negm lamented what he called “media silence” over the killing of the three Muslim students. Meanwhile, al-Azhar condemned the killing of the three Muslim students who were shot dead on February 10, describing the act as cowardly. [DNE, SIS, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Egyptian diplomat | Hurriyet Daily News
  • Egyptian, Italian military officials discuss regional stability | DNE, SIS
  • Foreign Minister heads in sudden visit to Ethiopia | Ahram Online,  Egypt Independent , Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt slams murder of American hostage in Syria | SIS
  • Sisi receives phone call from Sudanese President | SIS
  • Presidential decree approves US science and technology aid package | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Egypt and France reach tentative agreement on sale of twenty-four Rafale jets | Reuters
  • Russian Ambassador: Egyptian media exaggerated nuclear power plant | Shorouk (Arabic)