Egypt court hands Muslim Brotherhood leaders life sentences

Senior Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Al-Beltagi (L) sits behind bars in a glass cage during a trial for him and other members of the now-banned group over charges of breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak's 29-year rule, at a make-shift courthouse in southern Cairo on December 2, 2018. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 05 December 2018
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Egypt court hands Muslim Brotherhood leaders life sentences

  • An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat Al-Shater to life in prison
  • Four others were also handed life sentences on Wednesday

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat Al-Shater to life in prison, judicial sources said, in a retrial over violence during the overthrow of president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
The sentence is one among several trials and retrials against Badie, Shater and other leaders of the party that ruled Egypt before the military ousted Mursi following mass protests against his rule.
Badie and Shater were sentenced to life in 2015 over violence between Brotherhood supporters and opponents near the group’s headquarters.
Four others were also handed life sentences on Wednesday. The court acquitted Saad Al-Katatny, parliament speaker under Mursi, along with a former minister, two prominent Brotherhood figures and two others.
The defendants can appeal the ruling for the last time before the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest civilian court.
The public prosecution may also appeal the acquittals or the life sentences that two defendants received instead of death sentences.
The defendants faced charges of inciting violence against the demonstrators in front of the Brotherhood headquarters, aggravated battery and the possession of firearms.
Authorities had referred 18 defendants to trial in the case. Five remain at large and one died before receiving a sentence.
The latest retrial began when the Court of Cassation accepted 13 defendants’ appeals in January 2016.
Separately on Wednesday, two security sources and a judicial source said authorities arrested a justice minister under Mursi and are investigating him for belonging to an illegal group.
The security sources said National Security Agency officers arrested Ahmed Suleiman at his home in Minya governorate on Tuesday and later transferred him to Cairo.
Suleiman had criticized the arrest and trial of Brotherhood leaders after Mursi was ousted.
After Mursi’s ouster, Egypt cracked down on its oldest and most organized militant movement, killing hundreds of its supporters during the violent dispersal of a sit-in, throwing thousands of its supporters in jail and labelling the group a terrorist organization.
The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement and denies links to attacks by militants.


The academic fighting to stop Lebanon’s brain drain

MUSTAPHA JAZAR
Updated 7 min 15 sec ago
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The academic fighting to stop Lebanon’s brain drain

LONDON: Lebanese professor Mustapha Jazar has made it his life’s work to help connect students to the jobs they deserve.
While Lebanon has long produced highly educated students, this promising pipeline is badly affected by a lack of matching job opportunities.
Jazar set up the Lebanese Association for Scientific Research (LASeR) 10 years ago to “try to help the students through their journey from school to the job market.”
“The government itself isn’t doing anything about it,” Jazar said.
LASeR is a research-driven nongovernmental organization (NGO) that focuses on selecting candidates to pursue work-orientated research programs.
Through the undertaking of specific research initiatives, the students are trained in areas that will have a positive impact on Lebanon’s socio-economic condition, and can acquire skills that will improve their employability.
Jazar says: “I’m a true believer in research. Throughout my life I have been a researcher and I’ve tried to find funds to do research; for myself, for my students and my colleagues. Then one day I had the idea to create an NGO to mobilize the benefits of research in a more systematic way.”
For the first five years, LASeR was focused on university professors but the NGO has since shifted its focus to undergraduates. The program now takes in about 150 students annually.
Jazar says: “LASeR’s programs include a mix of capacity-building, soft skills and advanced technical skills according to their major. The aim is that students will be better equipped for the job market at the end of three years of university.”
The framework is called “E2C: Education To Community.” It has three modules: Media to Community, Health to Community and the soon-to-be launched Engineering to Community.
“The idea is to take a bunch of students nearing graduation in their third year of study, call them to apply, and then enroll them in a competition-based experience for three to four months where we deliver training. At the end, they have to deliver a product,” Jazar said.
He said that previous projects have included society-wide health-awareness campaigns and public-technology solutions.
At the end of the training period, a jury assesses the outcome of each group and gives a grade, along with the public’s assessment.
Jazar said: “In this way, they will learn the basics of how to deliver an awareness campaign and how to run a budget. If they need specific training, we will find a senior or alumni to deliver the training. Every team has a mentor. In the media group, most of the students have already found jobs.”
Jazar said LASeR was funded by donations and corporate sponsorship. The NGO relies heavily on volunteer expertise from corporates and within the university.
Local enrollment at Lebanese universities is exceptionally high — at about 50 percent — but the country’s small size and job pipeline inefficiencies mean career opportunities are limited.
“Lebanon is educating many highly skilled people but they are going abroad to work in the Gulf, Canada, Europe or the US,” Jazar said.
“We are facing a real problem, especially in research. Jobs are becoming competitive. Right now, we are nearing saturation. We will be observing brain 
drain soon.”
In 2018, 4,000 students graduated in engineering, which is a huge number for a country that has a population of four million, he says.
“We do believe that there will be a scarcity of job offers, but what is also lacking in Lebanon is self-employment, start-ups and initiatives led by young people, especially in coding,” Jazar said.
Through LASeR, Jazar aims to create a framework that cherry-picks the best talents from society and focuses these talents on addressing Lebanon’s biggest issues and opportunities.
“We believe there’s a huge amount of social problems that need to be addressed. We aim to raise awareness about our society and the environment with our students.
“We are training our students to look for problems and come up with solutions that will make money for their livelihoods — and for the betterment of Lebanon.”