Greater Middle East
Alaa Abd El Fattah

Egypt: prison term for activist Alaa Abdel Fattah ā€”again

An Egyptian courtĀ sentenced prominent activist Alaa Abd El Fattah to five years in prison after he was convicted on charges of “spreading false news” andĀ “undermining national security.” Alongside Abd El Fattah, the Emergency State Security Court also sentenced human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer and blogger Mohammed “Oxygen”Ā Ibrahim to four years each. All three defendants faced charges concerning their social media posts on human rights violations. Both Abd El Fattah and El-Baqer hadĀ been held in pretrial detention for more than the legal limit of two years. Verdicts issued by the emergency court cannot be appealed. Human rights groups have criticized the use of “emergency trials,” due process violations, and general repression of freedom of expression in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government. (Photo: Amnesty International)

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egypt police

State of emergency lifted in Egypt ā€”charade?

The ending of Egypt’s nearly four-year state of emergency, announced by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was hailed by international human rights groups as a positive step. But Sisi is now trying to make permanent a more recent, and officially temporary, national security law that would give the military powers normally used during a state of emergency. The amendments to the national terrorism law, which have been approved by the House of Representatives, would give the president the authority to take “measures necessary to preserve security and public order,” including the ability to impose curfews. It would also expand the purview of military courts, giving them power over any crimes concerning “public infrastructure.” A related measure passed by the House would impose penalties for conducting “research” on the military. (Photo via Wikipedia)


Egypt: Copts protest Trump’s Jerusalem move

Pope Tawadros II, leader Egypt's Coptic Church, has cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Cairo later this month, in protest of the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump's decision "did not take into account the feelings of millions of Arab people," the church said in a statement, adding that it "declines to receive" Pence.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: Sufis targeted in Sinai mosque massacre

At least 235 were killed and over 100 wounded in a suicide attack as people gathered for Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt's North Sinai. Women and children are among the dead. The mosque is said to be run by adherents of a local Sufi order, and includes a zawiya—a lodge used by order members for prayer and chanting. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the massacre, followers of Sufi Islam have faced numerous attacks by ISIS cells operating in the Sinai Peninsula.

North Africa

Egypt bombs Libya after new attack on Copts

Egyptian warplanes carried out air-strikes on what President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi called six "terrorist training camps" in Libya after a new massacre of Coptic Christians.

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Egypt: ISIS claims attack at historic monastery

ISIS militants attacked a security checkpoint near the gates of the 6th century St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, as draconian emergency measures take effect.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: terror blast targets Coptic church

A bombing during Sunday Mass at a chapel attached to Cairo's main Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 on the Egyptian holiday marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammed.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: court acquits officer in torture death

An Egyptian court acquitted a police officer accused of torturing to death an Islamist militant arrested over a deadly church bombing in the prelude to Mubarak's ouster.

North Africa

Libya: Coptic Christians abducted by ISIS?

Presumed ISIS adherents in Libya have released photos on social media purporting to show some 20 abducted Coptic Christians, saying they await execution.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: secularism and dictatorship?

A sweeping "anti-terrorism" decree and expanded crackdown on opposition come as Egypt's President al-Sisi is making overtures to the Copts and invoking pluralism.

Greater Middle East

Egypt: new charter approved amid violence

A police station was bombed and 10 killed in clashes as Egyptian voters approved a new constitution that emphasizes secularism but gives greater power to the military.