Legal & Political Institutions
The number of seats in Egypt’s House of Representatives will be decreased from the originally proposed 630 seats to 567. Out of the 567 seats, 420 will be elected individually, while 120 will be elected from political party lists and 27 will be appointed by the president. The new number was a result of pressure from political parties who believe that the original number was too large and would serve as an impediment to parliament’s productivity. [Ahram]
Gender & Sexuality
Outgoing President Adly Mansour issued his final decree as president, criminalizing all forms of sexual harassment. The new law stipulates that verbal harassment in private and public spaces will be penalized with a minimum of six month jail sentence and 3,000 EGP fine. [Egyptian Streets, Seattle PI, El Watan]
A group of entrepreneurs has mobilized in Egypt to try to combat the daily functional problems that the country faces due to the failure of the government to address things such as traffic congestion, garbage pileups, and power shortages. For example, Bey2ollak is a start-up mobile application that provides traffic updates, founded by Gamal El-Din Sadek. Entrepreneurism is taking off in Egypt because “entrepreneurs are in better position than established businesses to secure highly competitive investment opportunities, and he advocates government incentives like tax exemptions for startups as rewards for hiring the unemployed.” [Global Post]
Rights & Freedoms
The prosecution and defense teams in the Al Jazeera trial of journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Peter Greste issued their final statements today. The prosecution fired a series of accusations at the journalists and the Al Jazeera network, claiming it was responsible for the “fall of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen” and that the journalists made reports on clashes between protesters and police in order to bring down the Egyptian state and harm Egyptian unity. The prosecution then asked the judge for the maximum sentence for the three. The defense team then issue their final statements reminding the judge that the prosecution tampered with and edited video evidence, and that “nothing in the investigation proves the accusation that Mohamed Fahmy is a threat to national security.” The judge postponed the trial until June 16 for the defense to finish its statements and a verdict will be issued. [Al Jazeera, AU, Egyptian Streets]
In another case of an Al Jazeera journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, the Cairo Criminal Court extended Elshamy’s detention until June 11. Elshamy has been detained without charge since August 2013, and his detention has been repeatedly extended without ever going to trial. He has also been on hunger strike for over 100 days, and was recently placed in solitary confinement and force fed by prison authorities. A fact finding committee that was commissioned by President Adly Mansour said that Elshamy is in good health and is not in detention for any political reasons after they allegedly visited him in jail earlier in the week. Elshamy’s family refutes these claims, asserting that Elshamy risks death and regular abuse from prison authorities. [Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Ahram]
Security forces raided 10 hideouts in North Sinai and killed seven Islamist militants in the raids that were allegedly trying to attack a security convoy. The raids took place in Sheikh Zuweid and Bear Al-Abd of North Sinai. [Ahram]
President Adly Mansour, who is set to leave office this week following the inauguration of President-elect Abdel Fattah al Sisi, issued a presidential decree stipulating a 5% tax raise for 3 years for Egyptians whose incomes exceed 1million EGP. [Ahram]
The European Union issued a “Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the presidential elections in Egypt” congrulating Abdel Fattah al Sisi on his election into presidency and also reiterating its call on “Egyptian authorities to allow journalists to operate freely; to ensure peaceful protest notably by amending the protest law.” [EU Declaration]
Legal & Political Institutions
Amr Hamzawy questions Egypt’s ruling system’s vision for the future: “Are you prepared to rise above the temptations of tyranny?”
In this article: Amr Hamzawy asks state institutions in Egypt’s ruling system: “What is your vision for the nature of the Egyptian state–autocratic or democratic? Do you believe that the state will be held together by repression, force, injustice, and exclusion, or through justice, the rule of law, and the participation of the Egyptian people in the political process?…Are you prepared to rise above the temptations of tyranny..?” He addresses the economic elites in Egypt associated with the ruling party, asking: “Is your only goal ensuring a return to the marriage between power and wealth by renewing your deference and support in return for protection and financial rewards?” Lastly, Hamzawy addresses the media affiliated with the ruling system, asking them: “Should you not take a step back, stop presenting only one hysterical narrative, and cease spreading propaganda for one-man rule while defaming dissenters and labeling opposition voices as traitors? Should you not recognize that social reconciliation and overcoming Egypt’s current state of polarization peacefully depend upon your role in ensuring the free circulation of information and facts and raising the awareness of the Egyptian public?”
Morsi calls on youth to defy the “coup leader” who became president
Daily News Egypt: Morsi urges resistance in statement from detention
Egypt Independent: Morsy directs message to Egyptian people from jail
In this article: Ousted president Muhammad Morsi released a message from his prison cell, encouraging his supporters to protest against the “military coup” now that the “coup leader” has become president. Morsi directed his message to Egyptian youth, calling on them to continue the January 25 revolution.
20 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to 3-year prison terms for violating protest law, and violence
Egypt Independent: Brotherhood supporters imprisoned in Suez
Aswat Masriya: 20 Brotherhood members get 3 years for breaking protest law
In this article: A Suez court sentenced twenty Muslim Brotherhood supporters to three year prison terms and 50,000 EGP fines for violating the protest law, violence, and weapons possession. The defendants were arrested over the past few months during clashes with police in Suez.
Rights & Freedoms
Reporters without Borders calls on Sisi to release all detained journalists
In this article: Reporters without Borders has released a statement calling on president-elect Abdel Fattah al Sisi to release all detained journalists and guarantee the freedom of press in Egypt. “Reporters without Borders reminds you that, like other citizens, journalists must be treated fairly and justly, in ways that respect national and international judicial standards,” the letter said.
April 6 Youth Movement Calls on Rights Organizations to Investigate abuses in Egyptian Prisons
Press Statement: April 6 Statement to International Human Rights Organizations
In this article: The April 6 Youth Movement issued a statement urging all human rights organizations to immediately visit Egypt’s Wady el Natron and Fayoum Prisons to collect information about the torture that prisoners face. They claim that “Natron prison security forces shut down power and water for the detained , and when they demanded their basic rights for clean water and electricity , beatings and fatal torture was administered leading to the death of one of the detainees.” The movement demands proper investigation into prison conditions and to start immediate investigations into the human rights violations occurring.
Ahmed Douma + 268 others ‘2011 Cabinet clashes’ trial postponed to June 15
Egypt Independent: Trial of activist Douma, 268 others postponed to 15 June
In this article: The Cairo Criminal Court today postponed the trial of noted activist Ahmed Douma along with 268 others to June 15. The defendants face charges of violating the protest law, weapons possession, assaulting security forces, burning the Institut d’Egypte and attacking other government buildings, and attempting to burn the Interior Ministry during the 2011 Cabinet clashes.
Amnesty International condemns Egypt’s plans to monitor social media networks
In this article: Amnesty International has condemned Egypt’s plan to monitor social media networks, saying: “Amnesty International recognises that in some cases, states may legitimately need to resort to targeted covert surveillance for reasons of national security. However, indiscriminate mass surveillance is an unnecessary and disproportionate interference with the right to privacy.” They call on president-elect Abdel Fattah al Sisi to ensure the rule of law and the right to privacy that is protected in the law.
Three killed by accidental gunfire during Sisi victory celebration
Egypt Independent: Three people die by gunfire in Ayat during Sisi victory celebration
In this article: During celebrations after Abdel Fattah al Sisi was officially announced as victor of the presidential elections, three people were accidentally shot in Ayat, Giza and killed. One man fired shots into the air as a form of celebrating, accidentally shooting victims passing by in a car.
Egyptian Ambassador to the US writes open letter to Washington Post, saying their assessment of presidential elections was “based on [a] fabrication” of events
Egypt Embassy: An Open Letter to the Washington Post
In this article: Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, wrote an open letter to the Washington Post regarding the “false characterization” of an editorial that expressed the editorial board’s “general discontent” with the Egyptian presidential elections. He writes, “your whole assessment is based on this fabrication. Rather than wait for the official results and the reports of election observers, you chose to pre-empt any objective discourse.”