A general view shows members of the Egyptian parliament attending the opening session at the main headquarters of Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's parliament has approved an 18-article law that aims to regulate the procedures of sequestrating, managing, and disposing of the assets of terrorist organisations.
The original name of the law – the Law Regulating the Procedures of Sequestrating, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Affiliated Organisations – was amended to the Law Regulating the Sequestration, Managing and Disposing of the Assets of Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan explained that "the change was necessary in order to go in line with the constitution, which stipulates that laws are issued to address general conditions rather than a particular case."
Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the head of parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs committee, also said that the law goes in line with Article 237 of the constitution, which makes it obligatory for the government to fight all forms of terrorism and track its sources of funding.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said on Monday that "after all 18 articles of the law were approved on Monday, it is still necessary that each MP vote [on the law]."
As the majority of MPs were not available on Monday, Abdel-Aal instructed members of the majority Support Egypt bloc to attend Tuesday's session so that the law can be finally voted on in a constitutional way.
A report prepared by the committee said "the sequestration of the assets of the organization of Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated groups began in 2013 after it was listed as a terrorist organization."
"A presidential decree was issued to form a committee to be mandated with regulating the procedures of sequestrating the assets of Muslim Brotherhood and implementing judicial rulings in this respect."
Under the current law, the committee comprises nine members affiliated with government ministries and state institutions. This will change in the new law, whose Article 3 states that all members of the committee will be judges from appeals courts.
Minister Marawan said the change was necessary as some began to raise doubts on the legality of the sequestration committee in its current form, and so it was important that its regulation and procedures be codified into law.
MP Mostafa Bakri said "the law comes after a number of administrative courts ruled that the sequestration of some Muslim Brotherhood assets be lifted."
The law states that all state institutions – including banks, whether public or private – will be obliged to cooperate with the committee, giving all necessary assistance and implementing its resolutions.
"The assets include all kinds of property, in-kind possessions, bonds, domestic or foreign cash, and financial securities," the draft states.
The Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation following a number of terrorist attacks targeting buildings belonging to security forces in Cairo and Nile-delta cities in December 2013.
Many of the group’s leading figures were arrested, while many of its assets were sequestrated.
The government also designated two movements – Hasm and Lewaa El-Thawra – as terrorist organisations led by Muslim Brotherhood figures. The two movements have also been listed as terrorist entities by the UK and the US.