New police law amendment bans Egypt's cops from speaking to media without permits

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Aug 2016

According to the new amendments, police officers are also banned from forming unions or joining political groups

Police protest
A file photo from October 2011 when lower-ranking policemen demonstrated in front of Cairo's interior ministry (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

New police law amendments that were passed on Tuesday by Egypt’s House of Representatives ban police officers from speaking to the media except after receiving permission, and also ban officers from forming independent unions and joining political parties.

The amendments that were proposed by the government relate to eight articles in the 1971 police authority law.

Among the new amended articles that created controversy in the media is article 42 from the law which prohibits police officers from issuing any statement about their work unless they have received written permission.  

Article 42 also prohibits police officers from abusing their power by mistreating citizens in a way that violates the law and constitution.

The article further prohibits police officers of any rank from joining or forming political parties or founding and joining political parties or associations of any form. 

Article 102 prohibits police officers of any rank from organising protests, sits-in or strikes that can block roads or endanger the “welfare of the people.”

In the last several years, the Ministry of Interior faced a serious challenge by some officers when a group of low-ranking police officers founded a union demanding better rights for their rank in the police force by organising several protests and strikes in governorates across Egypt.

The low-ranking police officers who led the movement are currently detained pending investigation on several charges including forming "an illegal cell" inside the police force.

The legislative amendments in the police authority law were suggested by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in February following the murder of an unarmed taxi driver by a low-ranking police officer in central Cairo.

Police officers who break the law would face prison terms or fines of up to EGP 20,000. 

 

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