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Egypt's Sisi approves anti-terrorism law setting up special courts

Aug 20, 2015 In the face of a two year insurgency campaign targeted at toppling his government, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt has recently approved an anti-terrorism law that is aimed at nipping terrorism at the bud.

The law, which details sentences for various terrorism crimes ranging from five years to the death penalty, will also shield the military and police from legal ramifications.

President Sisi had earlier promised tougher measures on terrorism-related crimes following a car bomb attack in Cairo that killed the chief public prosecutor.

According to state media, the law will set up a special court that would “fast-track” terrorism cases, but gave no further detail such as whether trials would be open or closed to the public.

The law stipulates that forming or leading a group deemed a “terrorist entity” by the government will be punishable by death or life in prison and membership in such a group will carry up to a 10 year jail term.

According to the new law, financing a “terrorist groups” will bring a 25-year jail penalty. Also inciting violence, which includes promoting ideas that call for violence through blogs and websites, will lead to 5-7 years in jail.

Following international and domestic outcry, journalists who contradict the authorities’ version of any militant attack will be fined as opposed to an initially stipulated imprisonment for such an offence.

The new law has come under fire from human rights groups who accuse President Sisi of rolling back freedoms which was won in the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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