Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1337, (23 - 29 March 2017)

Ahram Weekly



Al-Hariri in Cairo

LEBANESE Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to meet President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. The Lebanese premier was also scheduled to meet Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb and Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Al-Hariri headed the Lebanese delegation at a session of the Lebanese-Egyptian Higher Joint Committee. His visit follows that of Lebanese President Michel Aoun in mid-February, his first to Cairo since he assumed office. Aoun met Al-Sisi as well as Pope Tawadros.

The two leaders discussed ongoing preparations for the Arab summit in Amman set for 28-29 March.

Mission to NATO

PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree establishing a diplomatic mission to NATO. The decree was published in Egypt’s official gazette last week.

Earlier this month, Army Chief-of-Staff General Mahmoud Hegazi met General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, in Cairo. The meeting put particular emphasis on the ongoing crisis in Libya.

Hegazi currently sits on an Egyptian commission that mediates between rival Libyan factions. Last month, Cairo hosted a round of talks between rival political powers in the war-torn country.

The two military commanders also discussed the latest developments in the war on terrorism as well as coordination and cooperation in that field, according to a statement by Egypt’s Armed Forces.

Pavel expressed NATO’s complete support for Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism to achieve security and stability in the Middle East.

Jail term upheld

AN APPEALS court on Monday upheld a three-year prison sentence for two police officers convicted of assaulting doctors at a hospital in eastern Cairo’s Matariya district last year, an incident which prompted thousands of doctors to protest.

Matariya’s Misdemeanour Appeals Court upheld a lower court jail sentence and a LE5,000 fine for the doctors as well as the Doctors Syndicate, according to a statement by the syndicate on Monday.

The defendants did not attend the court session. The verdicts can still be appealed in the Court of Cassation.

In September, nine low-ranking policemen were given three-year sentences over an assault on physicians at a Cairo hospital earlier last year.

The defendants were convicted of the “unauthorised detention of two doctors”, physical and verbal assault, cruelty and misuse of power.

The case stems back to an attack on 28 January 2016 by several low-ranking policemen on doctors at Matariya Hospital after one doctor refused to include fake injuries in a medical report for one of the policemen.

The incident prompted thousands of doctors to protest at the Doctors Syndicate in February, calling for the prosecution of the assailants and the resignation of the health minister.

In January, six members of the Matariya Hospital staff were summoned for questioning by the prosecution for allegedly “inciting to strike”. All six were subsequently released.

There have been several incidents in recent years of policemen being charged with killing and assaulting civilians, though the Interior Ministry has repeatedly stated they were isolated incidents.

Last year, President Al-Sisi pledged to hold accountable policemen guilty of violations after a series of deaths in police custody, allegedly caused by torture, sparked public outcry.

Harsher penalties

THE STATE COUNCIL has finished revising a law regulating organ transplant operations which will include harsher penalties for illegal or forced operations.

Those who perform an organ transplant by deception or force will also face life in prison and fines of between LE1 million and LE2 million, with the possibility of a death sentence if the donor or recipient dies.

Those who perform or help perform an organ transplant in an unauthorised or non-specialised medical institute or centre will be subject to jail terms, in addition to fines ranging from LE1 million to LE2 million.

If the operation results in the death of the organ donor, or the recipient, the punishment can reach life in prison. The person in charge of the medical institute that performed the operation would also face the same penalties. Organ trafficking is explicitly forbidden in Egypt according to Article 60 of the country’s 2014 constitution.

In 2010 the government issued a law criminalising the selling or buying of organs, with penalties of up to seven years in jail.

Last year, authorities arrested 45 suspects — including Egyptians and foreigners — on suspicion of running an illegal organ trafficking ring, the Health Ministry and the Administrative Control Authority announced.

The suspects included university professors, doctors, nurses, medical centre owners and brokers involved in illegal organ trafficking. The centres and hospitals involved in the case were closed on the orders of the ministry.

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