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Yearbook 1999

Egypt. The year was marked by big and small victories for President Hosni Mubarak and his fight against militant Islamism. In March, a leader of the militant Islamist group al-Jama'at al-Islamiyya announced that the group was giving up its fight to forcefully dismiss the government. The group would instead try to reach its goals through political pressure, said the group's lawyer Muntasir az-Zayat. One month after the group's announcement, about 1,000 imprisoned members of al-Jama'at al-Islamiyya were released. At the same time, nine members of the banned Islamic Jihad organization were sentenced to death for Islamist-motivated acts, and another 78 were sentenced to three years to life imprisonment. The nine who were sentenced to death had all been tried in their absence.

1999 Egypt

According to Countryaah official website, a large majority of Egyptians voted on September 26 to allow President Hosni Mubarak to retain power for a fourth six-year term. He had no challenger when the parliament nominated him as presidential candidate in June, receiving 93.8% of the vote. The turnout was 79.2%. After the election, he appointed Atif Ubayd, privatization manager in the outgoing government, as new head of government.

A few weeks before the election, Mubarak had been subjected to a knife attack by a man in Port Said. Police shot to death the man, who was said to be a mentally unstable street vendor. Mubarak was slightly injured.

In July, Egypt's highest administrative court, the government, announced that girls may be prohibited by law from wearing a full Muslim veil during school hours. A lower court had previously ruled that such a ban was illegal. With the ruling of the Cabinet, a five-year battle was settled on the issue.

Three journalists in the Islamist newspaper Ash-Shab were sentenced in August to two years in prison for defamation by Yusuf Amin Wali, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and also Secretary-General of the ruling National Democratic Party, al-Hizb al-watani ad-dimuqrati.

On October 31, a Boeing 767-300ER passenger plane of EgyptAir crashed off the east coast of the United States. The 217 people on board, including 62 Egyptians and at least 106 Americans, were killed. American experts, who investigated the accident using, among other things, a tape recording of the conversation in the cockpit, suggested in November that the crash could have been due to the backup pilot committing suicide. This angered Egyptian authorities, who said it was not yet clear what caused the accident.

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