Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)
Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Newsreel

Al-Ahram Weekly

Tough amendments

AMENDMENTS were introduced to the penal code early this week by a presidential decree. They stipulate that digging, using or knowing of and failing to report cross-border tunnels into the Gaza Strip subjects the offender to a maximum penalty of life in jail, so does the illegal transfer of goods or equipment across the border. They also give the government the right to seize buildings under which tunnels have been dug or any tools used to dig them. Egypt declared a state of emergency in the border area last year after at least 33 security personnel were killed in attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. Several new militant attacks took place in Sinai on Sunday. The Egyptian authorities see the tunnels as a threat and regularly destroy them. In November Egypt said it would deepen its buffer zone with Gaza after finding local tunnels.


Another death sentence

AN EGYPTIAN court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and 13 senior members of the group to death for inciting chaos and violence, and gave a life term to a US-Egyptian citizen for ties with the Brotherhood. Badie has already been sentenced to several death and life sentences. The son of his deputy, Khayrat Al-Shater, was given a life sentence on Saturday. The group maintains it is committed to peaceful activism and has had nothing to do with Islamist violence in Egypt since Morsi's ouster in June 2013. The sentences, pronounced during a televised court session on Saturday, can be appealed before Egypt's Cassation Court.

US-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Sultan was sentenced to life in jail on charges of supporting the MB and transmitting false news. He is the son of Brotherhood preacher Salah Sultan, who was among those sentenced to death. The White House condemned the sentencing, calling for Sultan's immediate release and citing concerns for his health. It added that he would continue to receive US diplomatic support "until he can return safely to the United States”. Sultan, 27, was arrested in August 2013, and he had been on hunger strike while in prison. "He deserves the punishment because of the money and instructions from the Brotherhood which were found with him, and for spreading chaos and horror in society," presiding Judge Mohamed Nagi Shehata told reporters about Sultan.

Saturday's case was known in the media as “the Rabaa Operations Room" trial. This is in reference to a sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya in 2013 which was forcibly dispersed by the police. Saturday's session sentenced 51 people to life imprisonment if not death. The long list of charges included leading and funding an outlawed group, overturning the constitution and planning to spread chaos.


Appeal quashed

EGYPT's Cassation Court rejected on Tuesday an appeal by an ultraconservative Islamist and ally of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, upholding his seven-year sentence for forging official documents to run for the presidency in 2012, a judicial source said. Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, once a popular TV preacher, was convicted in April 2014 of forging documents required by the election commission to conceal his late mother's US citizenship, an action that led to him being disqualified from the race. He was sentenced to seven years in prison over the accusations, which he denied. The Court of Cassation confirmed the ruling, making it final.

According to the law, anyone whose parents hold any nationality other than Egyptian can not run for the country's top post. Security forces arrested Abu Ismail days after the ouster of Morsi in July 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown against the former leader's supporters. Thousands have since been jailed, including the ex-president himself, who is now entangled in multiple trials that might carry the death penalty.


Homosexual deportation

On Tuesday, Egypt’s Administrative Court rejected an appeal from a Libyan student who was scheduled to be deported by the Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry previously took the deporting decision on the grounds that the Libyan was alleged to be a homosexual.

In addition to rejecting the appeal, the Administrative Court also upheld what said to be the right of the Interior Ministry to deport homosexual foreigners and/or ban them from entering the country again.

The Libyan's deportation and subsequent ban from re-entry came after a complaint was filed against him with a misdemeanour court in 2008, describing him as homosexual. And it was not clear what the precise charges against the deported Libyan were.

The deportation decision by the interior ministry followed whereby it said it would deport gay foreigners and ban them from entry.

The Libyan appealed on the grounds that he was a graduate student at Cairo's Arab Academy for Maritime Transport and the ban prevents him from completing his studies.

Although homosexuality is not explicitly outlawed in conservative Egypt, those accused of homosexual behaviour or activity are often charged under laws that criminalise "debauchery" or the corruption of public morals.

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