By Ahmed Mansour
Mubaraks Guilty of Embezzlement
Former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons Alaa and Gamal were found guilty of embezzling public funds to maintain their private homes. On May 21, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced to former president to three years in prison and his sons to four years; the defendants were also ordered to pay LE 21 million in restitution and another LE 125 million in fines. The Mubaraks had already reportedly paid LE 104 million in restitution before the trial.
Extra Day for Expat Voting
Egyptians abroad were given an extra day to cast their votes after after high turnouts were reported that were nearly double that of January’s constitutional referendum, officials from Presidential Elections Committee announced late Saturday. The expatriate voting period on Monday, May 19, instead of Sunday, as originally scheduled.
Universities Closed for Elections
The Supreme Council of Universities announced on Tuesday, May 20, that the state universities would be closed May 22-31 for the presidential elections. The move came amid a series of protests, clashes and deadly attacks on campuses.
On May 19, three police officers were killed, and nine others injured in a drive-by shooting as they were attempting to disperse a protest outside Cairo’s Al-Azhar University dorms. Al-Azhar immediately closed the dorms in response to the violence.
On Tuesday, May 20, student Islam Mohamed was killed during clashes between students and police at Cairo University. Mohamed was reportedly a member of Students against the Coup and had been injured once in earlier clashes with police.
Judges Sent to Disciplinary Board
Thirty-four judges and members of the judicial authorities, members of the group Judges for Egypt, were referred to the disciplinary board this week for their participation in November 2012 rallies supporting former President Mohamed Morsi’s supplementary constitutional declaration. According to the judicial authority law, judges are barred from engaging in political activities. Accused of being affiliated with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, the judges under investigation also actively lobbied the Mubarak regime for greater judicial independence in 2005, calling themselves the Independent Current for Judges. Among them are Mahmoud Mekki, the former presidential advisor to Morsi and former deputy head of the appeals court, Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, and former head of the Judges Club Zakaria Abdel-Aziz.
Timetable Moves up for Wheat Imports
The Ministry of Supply accelerated its timetable for wheat imports, purchasing 60,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat for a late-June delivery. Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Khaled Hanafy had initially stated that Egypt will not be importing wheat until July. The wheat is earmarked for producing subsidized bread. According to the minister, since mid-April the government has purchased 2.5 million tons from local sources, accounting for 60% from the target of 4 million tons. The local purchases are expected to last until mid-July.
Morsi Supporters Acquitted
On Monday, May 19, a Cairo Misdemeanors Court acquitted 169 loyalists of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of charges of rioting and disrupting traffic during protests against the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in last August.
Morsi Trial Postponed
The so-called Presidential Palaces trial set to resume on May 20 was postponed to May 22 so the Cairo Criminal Court could hear additional testimonies from five prosecutorial witnesses and view defendants subpoenaed mobile phone data, according to the state-run news agency MENA. Former President Mohamed Morsi and 15 other leading members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood are accused of inciting the murder of protesters during the December 2012 protests outside the presidential palace.
Muslim Brotherhood Arrests in Mansoura
Mansoura Security forces arrested eight members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the village of Awish Al-Hagar, on Monday May 19, for alleged involvement in rioting and inciting violence. The police raid targeted 16 houses, but the police only found eight of the 16 suspects they were looking for. Security officials said that all the arrests had been ordered by the prosecution.
Natural Gas Pipeline Attacked
North Sinai’s natural gas pipeline was bombed near an industrial zone south of the city of Al-Arish on Tuesday, May 20. No injuries or deaths were reported. This is the 22nd attack on the same pipeline since February 2011.