Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

12 April 2014

Egypt: Amnesty International Urges Egypt President to Annul Anti-Terrorism Laws

Amnesty International has criticized anti-terrorism laws that Egypt has decided to impose on anyone who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood or promotes or funds the group.

"New counter-terrorism legislation set to be approved by Egypt's president is deeply flawed and must be scrapped or fundamentally revised," Amnesty International said.

AI said in a report on Friday that the new laws give the authorities too much power to crush freedoms and are especially suspicious because their definition of terrorism is vague.

"These penalties apply in accordance with the court ruling that designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization," Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Thursday.

The two laws were sent to interim President Adli Mansour earlier this month.

"Rather than reducing the number of capital crimes, the Egyptian authorities are expanding them to include crimes which do not cause a loss of life. Disturbingly, this could feasibly lead to even more mass death sentences," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Sahroui fears that the legislation may make it easier for the Egyptian authorities to charge any peaceful activist with terrorist offences as it widens the definition of terrorism to include things such as demonstrating on campus.

Last month, more than 500 people were sentenced, mostly in absentia, to death, in the largest death sentence Egypt has seen in its modern history.

Egypt has seen a crackdown on activists and opponents since the ousting if President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July.

Armed attacks against security personnel have also increased since the army's overthrow of Mursi in response to mass demonstrations against his rule.

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