Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 22, 2014

07/22/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party spokesman stated that the group is developing a list of party members to run for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Reportedly, the party “is eyeing 80 percent of the parliament’s individual seats.” Spokesman Mohamed Qassem reported that prominent members of the party, Ziad Bahaa El-Din and Nour Farahat both plan to run in the parliamentary elections. According to Qassem, the party “will further push for public figures, women, Christians, and youths to run for the parliament under the party’s wing.” Election coalition talks are still ongoing, and the candidates running for the party lists will remain undetermined until the coalition talks are concluded. [Al AhramRead More…

Marginalized Rights

Two tribal leaders in North Sinai were killed in separate attacks yesterday. Sheteiwi Abu Maraheel and Hassan Al-baiera, both of the Sawarka Bedouin tribes, were both killed on their respective properties by unidentified gunmen. The tribal leaders are believed to have been targeted for their cooperation with Egyptian security forces in the Sinai peninsula. [Daily News Egypt, Ahram]

Rights & Freedoms

Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others who were sentenced to 15 years in prison for protesting during the 2013 ‘Cabinet Clashes’ to denounce the military trials provision in Egypt’s amended constitution. The 25 protesters are undergoing a retrial of their case in the Cairo Criminal court, which was adjourned to August 6. If the verdict is upheld, the defendants will serve their sentences, and will be fined 100,000 EGP each, and placed under police surveillance for 5 years upon completion of their jail terms. [Ahram] Read More…

Security Sector

The Interior Ministry began investigations into the attack that killed 22 Egyptian soldiers in the New Valley. The attack is believed to have been carried out by a Sinai-based terrorist organization, the Ministry is now conducting a series of raids on alleged terrorist cells to uncover the perpetrators. Conflicting reports have emerged concerning responsibility for the attack–terrorist organization Ansar beit al-Maqdis released a statement claiming responsibility, as did the ‘Islamic Caliphate’ (better known as ISIS). [Ahram-ar]

Economy

The government of Egypt plans to pay off all of its arrears, or money owed that should have paid earlier, to foreign oil firms by 2017. The new agreement reached with foreign oil firms will replace the earlier plan to pay off half of the total arrears by 2014, approximately $3 billion out of $6 billion in arrears. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum plans to pay $1.5 billion by September 2014 to foreign oil companies. The Egyptian government has been able to pay off a small portion of its debts, cutting its debt from $6.1 billion to $5.9 billion from May to June 2014. Although this decrease appears significant, it is the only visible effect from a $1.5 billion payment to foreign oil companies last year. The Egyptian government is attempting to address the energy crisis in Egypt, a situation which has been further exacerbated by “growing fuel subsidies,” “declining gas production” as well as the ongoing sociopolitical turmoil. Egypt appears hopeful that by repaying its arrears while also encouraging investment from foreign oil companies, the energy crisis may be averted. [Al AhramRead More…

Foreign Relations

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with President Sisi and other high-level Egyptian officials to discuss the situation in Gaza today. The talks were meant to raise the possibility of restarting peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian authorities to put an end to the ongoing violence in Gaza that has resulted in over 200 deaths in under two weeks. “Just reaching a cease-fire is clearly not enough,” Kerry told reporters after meeting with President Sisi. “It is imperative that there be a serious engagement, discussion, negotiation, regarding the underlying issues and addressing all the concerns that have brought us to where we are today.” [Associated Press, Foreign PolicyRead More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 Three supporters of Morsi sentenced to 25 years in prison for protesting without a permit 

Ahram: Morsi supporters jailed for 25 years over ‘illegal protests’

Three supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi were sentenced to 25 years in prison for violating the Protest Law. The pro-Morsi defendants “were also convicted of defying the constitution, obstructing state institutions, and rioting.” Another pro-Morsi defendant received a suspended one year sentence, and five other defendants were acquitted. The prisoners may appeal the court’s decision, though it is unclear whether they will be successful.

 Ahmed Ezz released on 50million EGP bail after being jailed for “profiteering” 

Ahram: Steel tycoon Ezz released on bail, ordered to pay LE50 million

In this article: Ahmed Ezz, a prominent steel tycoon who was jailed on charges of corruption, including money laundering and “profiteering”, has been released on 50million EGP bail by an Egyptian Court. Over the last three years, Ezz has been convicted of a cumulative sentence of 60years in prison, but his appeals have all been accepted and he is currently undergoing retrials.

Rights & Freedoms

 FIDH calls on African Commission on Human & People’s Rights to send “protection mission” to Egypt 

FIDH:The ACHPR Must Urgently Deploy a Protection Mission to Egypt

In this article: FIDH has called on the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights [ACHPR] to take action regarding the “alarming rate of the situation of human rights deterioration in Egypt” and urges the commission to launch a “protection mission” to Egypt. FIDH expresses great concern over the increase in arrests, “arbitrary detentions” and unjust trials of journalists, peaceful protesters, human rights activists, and political dissidents. FIDH highlights, in particular, the arrests of Yara Sallam, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel, Ahmed Maher, Mahienour el-Masry, and the convicted Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fahmy. FIDH also claims that “the perpetrators and those responsible for human rights violations continue to enjoy full impunity.”

Economy

 Egyptian Ministry of Trade raises export fees, while banning the export of certain minerals 

Al Ahram: Egypt imposes fees on stone exports, banning raw materials

In this article: The Egyptian Ministry of Trade has directed the Egyptian Customs Authority to place export fees on marble, granite, and sands. The export fees on these raw materials are intended to “optimize the added value of their finished products” while “reducing the exports of these products.” According to the Ministry, an export fee of LE200 will be placed raw granite and marble, and an export fee of LE50 will be placed on sand. Additionally, the Ministry of Trade has placed a ban on exporting mineral raw materials, namely Quartz, Feldspar, Talc and Manganese. According to Al Ahram, Egypt exported 2.9 million tonnes of marble in 2013, bringing in $348 million in revenue.

Foreign Relations

 Kerry and aides checked by Egyptian security forces before meeting with Al Sisi 

Reuters: Kerry, aides checked by security at Egyptian presidential palace

In this article: Secretary of State John Kerry and his top aides were subject to security checks before meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi at the Egyptian presidential palace, as evidenced by leaked security footage. The security check, complete with metal detector, is an “unusual screening for a senior State Department official.” Arshad Mohamed of Reuters stated that such a screening is a deviation from the “courtesy” usually extended “to Washington’s top diplomat.” Kerry is in Egypt to discuss a plan with Al-Sisi to end the two-week long conflict in the Gaza Strip, which has claimed the lives of over 500 individuals.