Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to sign a deeply worrying new counterterrorism bill into law today which contravenes the Egyptian Constitution and international human rightslaw, Amnesty International said.
According to Egypt’s Minister of Justice Ahmed El Zend, the president has the law on his desk for final approval today ahead of August 14, the second anniversary of a police operation to disperse protesters camped in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda squares, which resulted in the killing of more than 600 protesters and mass arbitrary arrests, among other human rights violations.
“This new law will become yet another tool for the authorities to crush all forms of dissent and steamroll over basic human rights. It is an abomination that will only pave the way for more horrific incidents like Rabaa in the future. The Egyptian authorities must drop the draft law or fundamentally revise it,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
The draft law vastly expands the Egyptian authorities’ powers that would usually only be invokedduring a state of emergency, and effectively bans the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
Amnesty International sent a memorandum to the President on 12 August, urging him to drop the law or fundamentally revise it to bring it in line with the Egyptian Constitution and international human rights law.