Egypt to issue new laws on terrorism, parliamentary immunity

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 21 Jun 2015

Egypt's cabinet is discuss a new draft anti-terror law aimed at toughening penalties on the funding of terrorist activities and organisations

Ibrahim Al-Heneidy
Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidy disclosed Sunday that the justice ministry has finalised drafting a new law aimed at cracking down on terrorist crimes.

"The new 52-article anti-terrorism law is primarily aimed at stemming the tide of funding terrorist activities and organisations and giving new definitions for terrorist crimes," said Heneidy in a press conference.

Heneidy argued that Egypt is facing a ferocious war against terrorism. "In the coming stage, we focus on drying up sources of funding for terrorist activities and as a result there is a pressing need to issue a new anti-terror law aimed at meeting this objective," said Heneidy.

Heneidy said the new draft anti-terror law will be first reviewed by the ministries of interior and defence. "They will have to give their remarks on the draft law within 15 days, after which it will be referred back to the justice ministry to be redrafted," said Heneidy.

Heneidy explained that, "The draft law will impose the death penalty on anyone found guilty of funding a terrorist organisation."

"Those convicted of funding a terrorist will be sent to life in prison, but those convicted of funding a terrorist-labeled organisation will face the death penalty," said Heneidy.

Heneidy explained that under the draft law, different forms of funding terrorist activities will be criminalised. "This funding could be cash or in-kind, including use of national or foreign currency, financial or commercial securities, bonds, and any documents or papers, even if they take a digital or electronic form," said Heneidy.

Heneidy also indicated that Article 3 of the draft defines that "the funding of terrorism includes the collection or the acquisition or the supplying of money or weapons or ammunition or explosives or information in any way, including digital or electronic forms, with the objective of carrying out a terrorist crime or creating a safe haven for terrorists."

Heneidy indicated that, "The law will also send all those found guilty of forming or running or leading a terrorist-labeled organisation to death or to life prison."

He said the draft law will give new definitions of terrorists and terrorist crimes. Article 1 states that a terrorist organisation is one that includes a minimum number of three members acting inside or outside Egypt, having a local or foreign nationality, and aiming to carry out crimes by means of terrorism.

Heneidy also said Article 2 defines a terrorist crime as one aims to cause national disorder by use of force, violence, threats, or  intimidation inside or outside Egypt.

"Terrorist crimes also aim to jeopardise the safety of society or expose citizens to harm or expose their rights, lives, and freedoms stated by the constitution to danger," said Heneidy, adding that, "These crimes also aim to disrupt national unity, social peace, national security, destroy antiquities, and cause harm to the environment, natural resources, buildings, public or private property, etc."

Meanwhile, informed sources said the cabinet will discuss a new law aimed at making the coming parliament immune to dissolution.

The law would save the coming parliament from the threat of dissolution even if the High Constitutional Court (HCC) decided to invalidate the parliament or its election laws, sources said, adding that, "The law will state that if the HCC ruled that any of the parliamentary election laws are unconstitutional, this shall not automatically lead to disbanding parliament, but it will complete its five year term."

This will guarantee that state authorities perform their duties in a smooth way and without facing the threat of dissolution, sources said. Political parties have long asked for such a legislative amendment, insisting that it will open the way for Egypt's long-delayed parliamentary elections.

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