Draconian amendments to Egyptian laws spell further disaster for human rights

A set of legislative amendments approved by the Egyptian parliament last week in the name of security will sanction mass arbitrary arrests, enable indefinite detention without charge or trial and will severely undermine fair trial guarantees, Amnesty International said in a statement published today. The amendments were rushed through parliament after last week’s deadly bombings of three Coptic churches in Egypt that left 44 people dead and more than 100 injured.

“If adopted, the proposed legislative amendments would pose an even greater threat to civil liberties by weakening the few remaining protections in the criminal justice system. The amendments give the security forces carte blanche to commit grave violations in the name of combatting terrorism. They would also sanction mass arbitrary arrests, indefinite detention as well as giving courts powers to flout fair trial rights,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s campaigns director for North Africa.

“Instead of addressing the root causes of sectarian attacks, the Egyptian authorities have responded to last week’s deadly church attacks by lashing out with a series of repressive legislative amendments to consolidate their iron grip on power.”

The amendments include changes proposed to the Emergency Law, the Code of Criminal procedure and the Counter-Terrorism law, among others. After Egypt’s State Council reviews the amendments it will send a revised draft of the legislation back to parliament for approval and who will then seek the President’s sign off.

For further details or to read the full statement click here