NGOs: law on ‘terrorist entities’ allows labeling of rights advocates
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CAIRO: Dozen of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed concern Saturday that a recent law on terrorist entities allows rights groups and political parties to be designated terrorists.

A Tuesday presidential decree defines a terrorist as any entity, organization, group, individual, or cell that participates inside or outside Egypt in a “terror act” against the people, environment, antiquities, transportation system, public and governmental entities, judiciary system, or diplomatic or consular staff.

“The undersigned organizations note that the law relies on a broad, vague definition of actions on the basis of which individuals or groups may be designated terrorists. Under this definition, human rights defenders, political parties, or developmental associations may be easily labeled terrorist entities and their members terrorists,” a joint statement of 12 NGOs read.

“Article 1 of the law contains undefined terms that should not be used to regulate the designation of entities and individuals as terrorists, including ‘infringing public order, endangering safety, interests, or security of society.’ Such broad terms utterly contravene several rulings issued by the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on the adoption of ambiguous penal provisions, allowing the authorities to interpret these provisions to serve their own interests,” the statement continued.

According to the decree, the General Prosecution has right to ask a court to label suspects terrorists in two lists: one for terrorist entities and the other for individuals upon final verdicts.

The signatories include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights studies, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, Arab Panel Reform Organization, Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, and etc.

Attorney General Hisham Barakat ordered Saturday a decision to form a committee to prepare the lists of “terrorist entities and individuals,” upon the Sisi’s decree. Until the election of a new House of Representatives, which is scheduled to be held in March, Sisi holds executive and legislative powers.

Lawyer Samir Sabry, who has submitted successful suits demanding the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood, April 6, and Hamas, requested that Barakat to put the Slalafist party Masr al-Qawyia, chaired by Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fetouh, on the blacklist of terrorist entities, Youm7 reported.

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