Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 28, 2014

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Legal & Political Institutions

An Egyptian court issued its largest mass death sentence of 683 alleged members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood’s top official, Mohamed Badie, was amongst those accused. None of the defendants were present for the verdict, as most have gone into hiding or fled abroad. Badie, however, is in government custody.

In a separate case, a Minya court upheld 37 death sentences out of the 529 mass death sentencing that took place in March. The remaining defendants were issued 25-year sentences and fined LE20,000. [Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Mada Masr, Global Post, NYT, Daily News Egypt, Ahram, CNN, Reuters, BBC, Daily SabahRead More..

Foreign Relations

Al Jazeera’s Qatar headquarters have served Egypt with a $150million lawsuit for “damage to its media business inflicted by Cairo’s military rulers.” The lawyer handling the case has said, “Al Jazeera invested substantial sums in Egypt. The effect of this recent campaign by the military government is that this investment has been expropriated. Egypt is bound by international law to pay Al Jazeera just and effective compensation.” [Reuters, AL JazeeraRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters issued a ban on the April 6 Youth Movement on charges of “espionage” and “activities that distort Egypt’s image.” The court also shut down the movement’s headquarters, to which April 6 media director, Khaled al-Masri stated: “We are an idea, not a company. How would they ban people from assembling in coffee shops, clubs and other places?” The group plans to appeal the ban.  [Daily News Egypt, Egyptian Streets, Al Jazeera, AhramRead More..


Egypt’s finance minister Hany Kadry Demian announced that Egypt would have to undergo tax system reform and implement the state subsidy program or else Egypt’s budget deficit will be around 14.5% of its gross national product. The planned reforms include raising income tax on the wealthy and replacing sales tax with value added tax. [AhramRead More.. 

Marginalized Groups

The Minya province has frequently been a “flash point for sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians.” The province has seen an increase in fatal violence in the last year following the Rabia al-Adawiya and Nahda protests, the torching of Christian houses in al-Badraman, and the burning of more than 30 churches over 2013. Many have attributed the violence to “poverty, disease, and ignorance”, the rise of extremist groups, and lack of government follow-up. [Al MonitorRead More..

Security Sector

Three police personnel were injured in an attack by unidentified gunmen in the Sinai peninsula. The gunmen fired at a police vehicle in al-Arish, injuring two captains and a conscript. [AhramRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

 Sisi asks Egyptians to vote in “unprecedented numbers for the sake of Egypt”–while Islamists boycott the vote 

TIME: Al-Sisi Urges Large Voter Turnout in Egypt’s Elections While Islamists Call for Boycott

Reuters: Sisi urges big vote in Egyptian election; Islamists urge boycott

AP: Backers of Egypt’s Toppled Leader to Boycott Vote

In this article: Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi has called on Egyptian voters to come out in “unprecedented numbers for the sake of Egypt” in the upcoming presidential elections. Sisi’s announcement comes shortly after Islamists and supporters of ousted president Morsi called for a boycott of the election.

Security Sector

 Human Rights Watch: Revise terrorism law to “protect right to life” of Egyptians 

Human Rights Watch: Egypt: Revise Terrorism Laws to Safeguard Rights

In this article: Human Rights Watch has issued a statement imploring Egypt to revise the draft law on terrorism to “protect the right to life and other rights and freedoms guaranteed by its consitution and by international law.” “Terrorist attacks are clearly a serious security threat in today’s Egypt, but trampling on fundamental rights won’t make the country safer,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Respect for human rights needs to be at the heart of the battle against terrorism.”

Marginalized Groups 

 Egypt has first reported case of MERS 

UPI: MERS virus reported in Egypt

RT: MERS spreading: Saudi Arabia registers 26 more cases after Egypt discovers first patient

LATimes: Egypt reports its first case of MERS virus  

In this article: The MERS inflection [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] has been found in a young man in Egypt who had recently spent time in Saudi Arabia. This is Egypt’s first reported case of MERS, while hundreds of cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia.

Rights & Freedoms

 Anti-protest law demonstrations continue in Egypt over the weekend 

Al Arabiya: Egypt activists rally against anti-protest law

PressTV: 1000s in Cairo demonstrate to slam Egypt protest law

Al Jazeera: Activists defy Egypt’s anti-protest law

In this article: Hundreds of protesters marched to the presidential palace in Cairo on Saturday to call for a revocation of the anti-protest law in Egypt. The mostly non-violence protests on Saturday were a culmination of weeks of protesting from the April 6th movement, whose founders are serving prison sentences for violating the controversial anti-protest law. “We are determined to continue to protest to cancel this law,” said protester and spokesman of the liberal al-Dostour party, Khaled Dawoud. “I hope the law gets scrapped so that elections are carried out in suitable conditions.”

 One student injured by birdshot pellets and two policemen injured in Al-Azhar clashes 

Ahram: Birdshots fired at student’s head during Egypt’s Azhar Uni clashes

In this article: During clashes at al-Azhar University between pro-Morsi supporters and security forces, two police officers were injured and an Al-Azhar student was shot in the head by birdshot pellets. The demonstrations were another in a series of protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters calling for the release of jailed protesters.

 Head of Egypt’s Journalist Syndicate demands release of all detained journalists 

Ahram: Journalists’ Syndicate head calls on prosecutor-general to release Al-Jazeera journalist

In this article: The head of Egypt’s Journalists’ Syndicate has requested that the prosecutor-general release Al-Jazeera reporter Abdallah el-Shamy. The press syndicate’s legal consultant Sayed Abu Zeid told Ahram Online that Rashwan had previously met with the prosecutor-general and demanded the release of all detained journalists.

Rashwan also managed to move journalists Ahmed Ezz El-Din and Hani Salah El-Din from Al-Aqrab high security prison to Tora Prison, added Abu Zeid.

Foreign Relations

 German and Turkish heads of state release joint statement condemning mass death sentence in Egypt 

Turkish Press: Turkish, German presidents criticize Egypt death penalties

In this article: After Egypt’s ruling of death sentences for 683 people, the Turkish and German presidents have strongly criticized. “We cannot understand such a domineering judgement by a temporary government to a society in transition,” German president Gauck said. “Especially in transition periods, a superior jurisdiction system should be established rather than taking revenge.”