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Arabic press review: Egyptian judge accused of running drug-trafficking network

Meanwhile, Palestinians in contact with international community to pressure Israel to allow Jerusalemites to vote in elections, and Kuwait prohibits all trade in Bitcoin
An Egyptian judge, the son of a senior judge at the Court of Cassation, is accused of forming a narcotics ring (AFP)

Egyptian judge accused of exploiting immunity to traffick drugs

Official documents have claimed the alleged involvement of a judge who chairs an Egyptian court in forming a drug-trafficking network in partnership with foreigners, businessmen and others, reported Arabi21.

Arabi21 reported that, according to information stated in the documents, the accused judge is the son of a senior judge who holds a post in the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial authority in Egypt. 

Investigations have revealed that the judge, which the report does not name, allegedly took advantage of his and his father’s immunity and carried out drug deals from inside the family’s palace. It is alleged that he used the house to trade, manufacture and make narcotics deals out of reach of security services.

The investigations claim that the defendant allegedly made deals to trade and manufacture drugs from 2019 until the end of 2020, and earned hundreds of millions of dollars. The accused also travelled abroad to conclude some of these suspicious deals, the report alleges.

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The judge exploited his judicial immunity to protect the trafficking network by using heavy weapons and a fleet of cars to transport, smuggle and trade drugs within the Egyptian borders, the report further alleges.

Three Iraqi defendants were also allegedly involved in the case, including a businessman and the owners of a famous import and export company, in addition to a number of other foreigners and an Egyptian businessman.

Israel pressured to allow Jerusalemites to vote

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has contacted the international community in order to pressure Israel to allow Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem to vote in the Palestinian elections scheduled to take place in May, Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported.

Azzam al-Ahmad, a leader in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the PA, said that the Palestinian leadership had urged the Israeli occupation authorities and international parties to authorise Palestinians living in East Jerusalem to participate in the elections, according to the newspaper.

"The European Union, the United Nations, Egypt and Jordan are mediating to allow Jerusalemites to vote in the elections," Ahmad said. "This is a right guaranteed by the agreements signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides."

The PLO leader stressed that the Central Elections Commission would facilitate the voting process. 

Israel rejects any manifestation of Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied city, but it has not yet revealed its position regarding the holding of Palestinian elections there.

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This year, Palestinians will hold legislative, presidential and National Council elections for the first time in 15 years.

According to unofficial Palestinian estimates, about 340,000 Palestinians live in occupied East Jerusalem.

Kuwait bans trade in Bitcoin

The Central Bank of Kuwait has instructed local banks and companies not to deal in or engage in direct or indirect investments in the digital currency Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Al Khalij Online reported. 

The central bank said in its circular that “some local banks have internal policies that prohibit dealing in virtual currencies”.

According to instructions provided by the bank, “it is not allowed to finance any person or institution for the purpose of investing in Bitcoin”.

Local media has pointed out that there is no legal legislation that criminalises investing in digital currencies in Kuwait. 

The central bank’s move comes as the price of Bitcoin last week surged to a record $57,181. 

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye