Egypt's Judicial Council approves draft anti-terror law
Ahram Online, Sunday 5 Jul 2015
The law still awaits legal revision by another judicial body before it is sent to the president for approval by decree

Egypt's highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial Council, on Sunday approved a draft anti-terror law that will impose harsher punishments on those convicted of terrorism charges.

The cabinet last week approved the draft legislation which it said would provide "swift and just deterrence" against terrorism and dry up the sources of terrorism funding.

The moves came on the same day Egypt was rocked by the deadliest militant violence in years when Islamic State fighters in North Sinai attacked several military checkpoints and triggered a day-long fight with troops which the army said left 21 soldiers killed and over 100 insurgents dead.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi pledged tougher legal measures last week after a car-bomb attack killed the country's top public prosecutor, the highest-ranking state official to be killed in years.

Under the Egyptian constitution, the judicial council has to look at the legality of legislation about the prosecution and judicial process. Its opinion is advisory though.

The law will also be referred to the State Council, another judicial advisory body, for legal review, and then awaits president's approval before it can be passed by decree.

The proposed law will stipulate harsher punishments to those convicted of committing terrorist or violence acts or belonging to a terrorist group, according to Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim Heneidy. It will also grant prosecutors wider powers to inspect the bank accounts of those facing terror-related charges.

In February, El-Sisi signed off on an anti-terrorism law that enables authorities to ban groups or punish individuals deemed a threat to national security.