Egypt / by Lewis McKinnon

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told a United States (US) congressional delegation that issues of human rights and civil liberties in his country should not be approached from a Western perspective due to domestic and regional conditions. An Egyptian court on 7 May recommended the death sentence against six people, including two Al Jazeera employees. Egypt sentenced 51 people to two years each in prison for protesting against the decision to cede two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in return for investments and aid. The Grand Imam of Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar, met with Pope Francis on 23 May in an attempt to repair relations between the two faiths. Egypt expelled French journalist Rémy Pigaglio without giving reason for the dismissal. Many European Union (EU) member states are ignoring an EU-wide suspension on arms transfers to Egypt. Eight alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death by an Egyptian military court on terrorism charges. Kenyan diplomat Yvonne Khamati accused an unnamed Egyptian official of describing sub-Saharan Africans as ‘slaves and dogs’ at an environmental conference held in Nairobi. Egyptian authorities detained leaders of the Egyptian Journalists’ Association and charged them with harbouring fugitives and publishing false news. Eight police officers were killed on 8 May when unidentified gunmen fired upon a police minibus driving through Cairo. For the first time in three months, Egypt opened its border with Gaza on 11 May for 48 hours. EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a 19 May flight from Paris to Cairo. Rumours of a love affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman resulted in inter-religious violence on 20 May in Minya province. Egyptian state media released new information regarding an agreement between Egyptian authorities and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation made in January. Russia will loan Egypt $25 billion to finance the building and operating of a nuclear power plant in Egypt.