Sunday 25 June 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/24/17)
An Egyptian real estate tycoon jailed for the murder of a Lebanese pop diva was freed Friday as part of a presidential pardon for hundreds of detainees, security officials said. State television said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pardoned a total of 502 prisoners to mark Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Hisham Talaat Moustafa, who was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2010 for the murder of Suzanne Tamim, was among those pardoned on health grounds, an interior ministry official told AFP.
(Reuters 06/23/17)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned 502 prisoners before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, state media said on Friday, including prominent businessman Hesham Talaat Moustafa, according to security sources. No list of names was immediately available, but the prisoners to be released include 25 women and "a large number of youth jailed in cases involving protesting and gathering," state news agency MENA reported, without specifying how many. Since seizing power in mid-2013 from the Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi has presided over a crackdown on Islamist opponents that has seen hundreds killed and many thousands jailed. Activists and liberal opponents have also been imprisoned. A law requiring permission from the Interior Ministry for any public gathering of more than 10 people is...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended a state of emergency declared after twin church bombings in April by jihadists, in a decree issued in the official gazette on Thursday. The renewed three-month state of emergency will start on July 10, according to the decree. Parliament approved the initial state of emergency in April after the two church bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group that killed at least 45 people. The jihadist group said it was behind the bombings...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Egyptian policemen on Tuesday shot and killed three wanted militants from the Islamist Hassam group in a shootout in the coastal city of Alexandria, the interior ministry said. A statement said the suspects were wanted by authorities and were "among the most prominent leaders" of the militant group. Hassam has claimed responsibility for several assassinations and attacks in Cairo and the Nile Delta. The ministry said security forces had approached a hideout of the militants in Alexandria and that the suspects opened fire at them. Police returned fire killing all three.
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
An Egyptian court on Tuesday ruled that previous judicial decisions in favour of transferring two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia were invalid, a judicial official and a lawyer said. Egyptian courts have issued contradictory rulings since Cairo signed a controversial deal with Saudi Arabia in April 2016 to transfer the islands to Riyadh. The government says the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, belong to Saudi Arabia but had been leased to Egypt in the 1950s. Parliament on June 14...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Egypt began on Wednesday to deliver a million litres of fuel to Gaza, a Palestinian official said, in an attempt to ease the Palestinian enclave's desperate electricity crisis. The fuel, trucked in through the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, will be routed to the territory's only power station -- closed since April due to fuel shortages. The deliveries come two days after Israel began reducing its electricity supplies to Gaza, following Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's decision to stop paying...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/21/17)
Human rights groups urged Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to intervene by a Thursday deadline to commute the death sentences of six men convicted of killing a policeman, saying they had been kidnapped and tortured into confessing the crime. The six have been convicted of murdering Sergeant Abdallah al-Motweli, who guarded the house of a judge who helped to sentence Egypt's former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood to 20 years in prison. Sisi, who in 2013 headed the...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including...
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
An Egyptian policeman was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Monday for the deadly shooting of a protester during a January 2015 rally, judicial and security officials said. Shaima al-Sabbagh was hit with birdshot pellets on January 24, 2015 on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the anti-Hosni Mubarak uprising as police dispersed a march. Sabbagh, a 34-year-old mother, was with other activists carrying a wreath to Cairo's Tahrir Square to commemorate the deaths of hundreds of protesters...
(The Associated Press 06/19/17)
The past week's tempestuous parliament approval of a deal transferring two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia is putting Egypt's government at odds with the judiciary and providing the country's battered opposition with a nationalist cause to whip up at a time of growing economic distress. The surprise 2016 deal to hand over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir aimed to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia, which has provided distressed Egypt with billions of dollars in grants and soft loans...
(AFP (eng) 06/19/17)
Egypt's Al-Azhar institution, a leading authority of Sunni Islam, condemned Monday's "sinful" terror attack near a London mosque and urged Western countries to take steps against Islamophobia. "Al-Azhar affirms its total rejection of this terrorist, racist, sinful act, calling on Western countries to take all precautionary measures to limit the phenomenon of Islamophobia," it said in a statement. A 48-year-old driver ploughed a van into a crowd of Muslims near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others. The mosque said the van "deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late...
(AFP (eng) 06/18/17)
A roadside bomb Sunday killed an Egyptian policeman and wounded four others on a highway on the southern outskirts of Cairo, the interior ministry said. "A bomb buried by the side of the road exploded" as the vehicle drove by in the early hours of the morning, the ministry said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but jihadists have carried out many attacks on the police and army since the 2013 army toppling of Islamist president...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Guards check drivers' papers to keep out uninvited guests from gated compounds where Egypt's rich can escape the chaos of Cairo's streets in a country with a widening wealth gap. Built in the deserts around Cairo, some compounds offer amenities such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health clubs, golf courses and man-made lakes, as well as palm trees and manicured gardens with lawns. Iman Khalifa, 32, and her husband traded their Nile view apartment to migrate to a new...
(The Associated Press 06/17/17)
Egyptian security forces have quickly disbursed small protests against a disputed deal which gives control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Anti-riot police were deployed on Friday after calls spread on social media to rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square against President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's agreement. It came two days after Egypt's parliament - packed by el-Sissi supporters- voted to ratify the deal. The vote fueled anger which has been largely suppressed under a heavy security campaign since last year...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/17/17)
A Cairo criminal court on Saturday recommended the death penalty for 30 people convicted of involvement in the 2015 assassination of Egypt's top prosecutor, the most senior state official killed by militants in recent years. The court set a verdict session for July 22, after referring its recommendation to the country's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding legally-required opinion. The July 22 verdict can be appealed against. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb...
(The Associated Press 06/16/17)
Egypt has lifted a $100,000 annual cap for foreign currency transfers abroad in a move that signals progress toward easing a dollar shortage and potentially strengthening investor confidence. The decision, announced Wednesday, applies to individual bank transactions. Egypt set the cap in early 2011, after a popular uprising forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down. Years of unrest since then have crippled the local economy, including the vital tourism sector, and weakened the Egyptian pound.
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
Egyptian police have arrested dozens of activists in the face of opposition calls for protests on Friday after parliament passed a controversial agreement to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia. A lawyer working to release the activists said about 50 had been arrested across Egypt since parliament passed the treaty on Wednesday. Opponents of the government accuse it of trading the Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, for Saudi funding. "We hope the people show up (to protest) because without the people we can't defend what is their right," said former presidential...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Egypt's parliament approved on Wednesday a controversial maritime agreement with Saudi Arabia that transfers two Red Sea islands to the kingdom, state television and a lawmaker said. The deal, which is still under challenge in court, had sparked rare protests in the country with the opposition accusing the government of selling Egyptian territory to its Saudi benefactors. The vote came after days of heated debate in parliament with opponents even interrupting one committee session with chanting. Courts had struck down the agreement, signed in April 2016, but a year later another court upheld it. Lawyers are now challenging the...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...

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