Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights: We did not review the 'anti-terrorism' draft law

Ahram Online , Wednesday 8 Jul 2015

Head of the NCHR Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr (Al-Ahram Arabic news website)

Egypt’s semi-governmental National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said it was not consulted on the draft version of an anti-terrorism law the government has started to prepare in the aftermath of recent deadly militant attacks by the IS group against the Egyptian army in Sinai as well as the assasination of the country's top prosecutor.

In the statement issued on Wednesday, the NCHR said the government has not sent the draft law to the council to review it in violation of the constitution which stipulates in article 214 that any draft law related to human rights should be reviewed by National council for Human rights.

The council added that several articles in the draft law, which have been reported in the media, might violate constitutional clauses on freedom of the press and the right to peaceful assembly.

In reference to rights' groups criticism of the draft legislation, the NCHR said the Egyptian constitution guarantees all citizens the right to due process, the right to a fair trial in civilian courts with adequate opportunities to appeal verdicts, as well as the right to travel without restrictions.

The NCHR urged the government to issue a law which respects both the country's 2013 constitution as well as international human rights treaties Egypt has signed, warning that an unconstitutional law would jeopardise the state's fight against terrorism.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met with a number of Egyptian journalists including the head of the journalists' syndicate Yehia Qallash to discuss their objections to articles related to freedom of the press in the draft law.

The NCHR's findings or opinions are not binding to the government.

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