Protest law not reviewed by parliament committee: Egypt MP

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Jan 2016

A parliamentary committee did not discuss the country's controversial protest law because it was issued before the country's constitution was passed in 2014

Members of the Egyptian parliament attend the opening session at the main headquarters of Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2016. (File Photo: Reuters)

The secretary of a legislative committee in Egypt's new parliament said on Thursday that the controversial protest law issued in 2013 by then-interim president Adly Mansour has neither been presented nor discussed.

The secretary, Salafist Nour Party MP Mohamed Salah Khalifa, explained that the laws presented for review by the committee were ones issued only after the constitution was passed in 2014.

The protest law makes demonstrations illegal if conducted without government permission, with violators facing heavy fines and lengthy prison terms.

MP Ibrahim Abdel-Wahab, a member of the legislative committee, told Ahram Online that 34 laws were presented on Wednesday for revision, affirming Khalifa’s comments about the protest law not being discussed.

Abdel-Wahab added that he and the other MPs had expected to revise all laws passed in the absence of parliament, though they were informed by the general secretariat that the laws to undergo revision were those passed after the 2014 constitution.

Although committee MPs said they were only provided with post-constitution laws, the Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Magdy El-Agaty said on Monday that he provided the parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al with all the laws passed in the absence of parliament.

On Tuesday, Egypt's new parliament decided that 19 committees would begin to discuss and review 341 decrees issued by former interim president Mansour and incumbent President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in line with Article 156 of the constitution.

According to the article, if a parliament has not been elected, the president has the power to issue decrees that will become law.

Once a parliament has been elected, the laws must be presented, discussed and approved within 15 days of the first session.

However, if the presidential decrees are neither presented nor discussed with 15 days – or if they are not ratified – they are to be revoked retroactively, though parliament may still review any law it chooses.

The protest law – passed in 2013, several months after the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi – has led to the jailing of thousands of protesters, mostly supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group, though many others were non-Islamists.

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