Egypt. According to countryaah, the opposition gathered its forces during the year and launched the Mayihkomsh campaign in October (roughly “he should not rule”). Among the inmates were Ayman Nur, leader of the opposition party al-Ghad (Morning Day), who was released Feb. 18 from prison where, despite many believing he was innocent, he served a five-year sentence for document forgery since December 2005. The Mayihkomsh campaign was aimed primarily at President Hosni Mubarak’s supposed plans to inherit his son Gamal Mubarak. In addition to al-Ghad, a wide spectrum of opposition groups also participated in the banned Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood and the Facebook-based April 6 movement, whose members were mostly highly educated young adults.
A 17-year-old French tourist was killed and a total of 21 people were injured on February 22 when an explosive charge exploded in the Khan el-Khalili base station in central Cairo. Three Egyptians were reported the day after being arrested for involvement in the attack. Another seven people who were said to have ties to the al-Qaeda terror network were arrested in May.
Parliament voted in February for a law with harsher penalties for sexual harassment. Among other things, telephone harassment was charged with high fines. The law also stated that the police must investigate every allegation of sexual harassment, something that has often not happened before.
Mamdouh Ismail, owner of the sunken ferry Al Salam Boccaccio 98, was sentenced March 11 to seven years in prison for causing death to another in connection with the ferry disaster that claimed more than 1,300 lives in 2006. Ismail was in exile.
With reference to the spread of the new influenza A/ H1N1, also called swine flu, the government ordered at the end of April that all the country’s total about 250,000 pigs should be slaughtered. The action made many Coptic pig farmers poor.
US President Barack Obama visited Egypt on June 4, giving a speech at Cairo University urging Americans and Muslims to meet in the fight against extremism. The speech contained a number of Koran quotes and phrases in Arabic.
Egypt made many attempts during the year to mediate in the conflict between the rival Palestinian movements Hamas and al-Fatah.
Tensions arose between Egypt and Algeria in connection with the World Cup qualifiers in football in November.
In October-December, the regime sought to conduct parliamentary elections, which, however, were met with massive electoral boycotts by civil society. Only 10% voted and the elected parliament had no popular legitimacy.
As revenge for Russia’s entry into the war in Syria, IS crashed into the Russian airplane over Sinai in late October. (How Sinai became a magnet for terror, Guardian 8/11 2015). Since al-Sisi’s military coup 2½ years earlier, reasonable relations had been developed between Egypt and Russia, and hundreds of thousands of Russians traveled to Egypt each year as tourists. The downturn of the aircraft was supposed to put an end to this flow, thus affecting Egypt’s already strained economy.
In December 2015, the dictatorship brought 730 people to court in a mass trial. Including photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, who was accused of belonging to a “criminal group” and of murder after documenting a protest action in Cairo in August 2013.
The dictatorship decided in February 2016 to close the independent Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture and Violence Victims. The closure triggered protests not only from the center itself, but also from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Danish Dignity Center Against Torture, which worked with Nadeem. The decision to close was formally taken by the «Ministry of Health», which sent two police officers to close the center. In previous months, the regime had focused on shutting down the independent human rights organizations in the country to stop the flow of information on the serious human rights situation. (Egyptian anti-torture group vows to defy government move to shut it down, Guardian 22/2 2016). Later in February, the regime murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni, found on the outskirts of Cairo, with clear signs of torture. The European Parliament expressed moderate concern, while in April Italy withdrew its ambassador from the country.
Saudi Arabia’s dictator Salman visited Egypt in April. The two countries signed economic cooperation agreements worth $ 25 billion. US $ and Saudi Arabia were also assigned to the two Egyptian islands in Aqaba Bay of Tiran and Sanafir. However, in order to avoid getting too much into the pocket of Saudi Arabia, Egypt sought to play on several horses and strengthened relations with Russia. It had the interesting consequence that President Sisi announced in November that Egypt supported Bashar al-Assad’s stay on the presidential post in Syria. A break with the politics of previous years. A foreign affairs analysis in February 2017 pointed out that the exchange rate was also due to the two countries’ joint enemy, IS, the shared suspicion of Turkey and its superpower ambitions and that Egypt did not share Saudi Arabia’s hatred of Iran.