Top News: HRW Says Conditions in Egyptian Prisons ‘Life-Threatening’

Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian authorities in a statement released on Wednesday of failing to take serious steps to improve conditions in overcrowded prisons which are causing deaths. The government denied the accusations.


April 6 says pardon conditions set by presidency to exclude movement’s members
April 6 Youth Movement’s Democratic Front said the conditions set by the institution of presidency and the Interior Ministry to pardon youth jailed over violating the law regulating protests on the occasion of the 25 January revolution would cause the exclusion of detained movement youth, including Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Movement, and activists Ahmed Douma, and Alaa Abdel Fattah. Mohamed Fouad, a spokesman for the April 6 Democratic Front, said that the conditions of presidential pardon included the issuance of a final court ruling, and the detainee should not be accused of damaging public and private property. [Egypt Independent, 1/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt certifies seventy-seven NGOs to monitor parliamentary elections | Ahram Online
  • Sabbahi says upcoming parliament to face major challenge | Egypt Independent
  • Prime Minister says governors’ reshuffle expected in January | Egypt Independent
  • Government plans crackdown on land encroachments | Egypt Independent
  • Decree granting medals for 177 police martyrs | SIS
  • Cabinet approves decrees on building an airport, transfer of ownership, land allocation and importing natural gas | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Social Justice Coalition running 200 members as individuals in parliamentary elections | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Moussa: Constitution guarantees 25 percent of municipalities seats for women | Egypt Independent


Supreme Court to judge constitutionality of protest law
The administrative court in Cairo decided to suspend reviewing an appeal that contests the protest law by human rights lawyers until the Supreme Constitutional Court judges the constitutionality of the law. Prominent lawyers Khaled Ali and Tarek al-Awady filed an appeal against an administrative decision to reject a permit for a demonstration and through the appeal the lawyers contested the constitutionality of the law. “Referring the case to the Supreme Constitutional Court is an expected procedure,” Awady aid. “No date was set for the court to respond but they are already reviewing the case, and they will probably respond within a month,” he added. [DNE, 1/20/2015]

“Severe deterioration” in hunger-striking Mohamed Soltan’s health; Alaa Abdel Fattah moved to prison hospital
Hunger-striking detainee Mohamed Soltan’s physical and psychological health have “severely deteriorated,” his family said in a statement on Tuesday. The statement, published on Facebook, added that the family received reports concerning his significant health setback. It also called on rights groups and the US to work on releasing him. Prison Authority Head, Mohamed Ali Hussein, however, told Aswat Masriya that Soltan is currently at the Tora prison hospital, and his health condition is stable. Meanwhile, leading Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was moved to a prison hospital this week after more than two months on hunger strike, a relative told Reuters on Wednesday. The 33-year-old blogger and software engineer was transferred to a prison hospital on Monday morning after his blood sugar level plunged. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Reuters, 1/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court lifts ban on Brotherhood-affiliated supermarket chain | Aswat Masriya
  • Rights group expresses deep concern over amendments to universities law | Aswat Masriya
  • Administrative court rejects postponing parliamentary elections | Egypt Independent, SIS
  • Trial of eight accused of attacking security forces in Minya adjourned to April 4 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Renowned Egyptian sex therapist accused of violating morals | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s State Council recommends reopening Tahrir Metro station | Ahram Online


Egypt’s pound hits new low of 7.34 per dollar Wednesday
Egypt’s pound weakened to 7.34 per dollar from 7.29 the previous day at a central bank auction on Wednesday, the weakest level it has been allowed to reach since auctions began in December 2012 and the fourth official depreciation this week. The bank offered 40 million dollars and sold 38.4 million at a cutoff price of 7.34 pounds per dollar, the central bank said. Meanwhile, weakening oil prices helped Egypt’s index hit a 6-1/2-year closing high on Wednesday, as bets on property stocks and positive corporate news also buoyed sentiment. [Reuters, 1/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Report: Egypt economy to witness significant improvement in 2015 | Egypt Independent
  • Sisi flies to Davos to attend World Economic Forum | Aswat Masriya
  • Procter and Gamble optimistic over Egypt’s economic recovery | Reuters
  • Job informality among Egyptian youth is higher than 90 percent – ILO report | Aswat Masriya


HRW says conditions in Egyptian prisons ‘life-threatening’
Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian authorities in a statement released on Wednesday of failing to take serious steps to improve conditions in overcrowded prisons which are causing deaths. The government denied the accusations. The group said it had documented nine deaths in custody since mid-2013, when the army’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was followed by a crackdown on his supporters. Human Rights Watch said authorities “are taking no serious steps” to deal with the issue. Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said “such talk has no basis in truth.” “This is very strange talk and hasn’t been said anywhere else before,” he added. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 1/21/2015]

Assets of over 900 Brotherhood members seized says Brotherhood funds committee
The assets of 901 Muslim Brotherhood members and 1,096 associations have been seized so far, the committee to manage Brotherhood funds said on Wednesday. Committee head Ezzat Khamis said during a press conference that the procedures for seizing the assets of an additional 166 individuals are currently underway. The press conference was held to mark a year since the formation of the committee, which is tasked with managing the assets and property of the Muslim Brotherhood organization.  [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 1/21/2015]

Egypt’s endowments ministry welcomes women preachers
Egypt’s endowment ministry has announced volunteering opportunities for the position of women preachers, in cooperation with the National Council for Women. The announcement, published on Tuesday on the ministry’s website, called for women interested in either “preaching, teaching preventive medicine or human development” to work in women-only sections of mosques, forums, and lectures. [Ahram Online, 1/21/2015]

Also of Interest


Four militants killed , three security personnel injured in Sinai
Egypt’s army killed four militants and raided twenty-eight sites in Sinai on Monday and Tuesday as parts of its campaign against an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula. Twenty-seven people were arrested during the operation, sixteen of whom were wanted and eleven were suspects, a military spokesman said. Meanwhile, an armed forces officer and two conscripts were injured following the detonation of an explosive device targeting their armored vehicle in North Sinai. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 1/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Armed forces in media struggle with Sinai-based militants | DNE
  • Rafah Crossing open for second day | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt to take part in London anti-ISIS meeting
The UK Foreign Office has said that Egypt and seven other Arab states will take part in an international meeting coordinating efforts against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) to be held in London on Thursday. Farah Dakhlallah, the Arabic spokesperson of the UK Foreign Office, said on her official Twitter account that Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are expected to participate. The meeting is aimed at coordinating efforts to fight against the militant organization, which has occupied swathes of Iraq and Syria. Twenty states are expected to take part in total. [Ahram Online, 1/20/2015]

Egypt-Qatar ties improving, though disagreements persist
Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has accepted an invitation to attend the Economic Summit due to take place in Sharm al-Sheikh in March. In response to the question whether President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Thani would meet in Abu Dhabi, the Egyptian president said in an interview with Sky News Arabia: “We will wait and see, but there is no meeting decision with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Emir of the State of Qatar.” Qatar’s emir will also invite Sisi to attend the final match of the men’s handball world championship in Doha. [DNE, 1/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s Sisi expresses ‘appreciation’ for Moroccan relations | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Cairo to host meeting for Syrian opposition | Egypt Independent
  • Sisi invites Tunisia’s Essebsi to visit Egypt | SIS
  • Abducted and abandoned: Egyptian hostage crisis continues in Libya | Mada Masr