CAIRO: Egypt’s Cabinet is scheduled to review legal amendments made to the “counter-terrorism” draft law during its weekly meeting Wednesday, Youm7 reported.
“The amendments include acceleration in court procedures of terrorism-related crimes through shrinking the litigation period, enhancing the jurisdiction of police officers and prosecutors involved in terror crimes along with facilitating access to bank accounts of suspects,” Ibrahim el-Heneidy, Transitional Justice Minister and head of the committee tasked with making the legal amendments, was quoted by Youm7 Wednesday.
The cabinet’s meeting coincides with a series of deadly attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and comes after the assassination of Attorney General Hisham Barakat whose motorcade was hit Monday by a bomb blast in Cairo’s northern district of Heliopolis.
The law was initially drafted in January 2014 amid a series of assaults on security forces and assassination attempts of senior policemen including former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
In April 2014, it was sent to the interim president Adly Mansour to be approved while in November 2014, the cabinet ratified it before President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi signed off the law in February.
On Nov. 7, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights issued a report signed by over 20 human rights organization condemning the draft law.
“Human rights organizations warn that the new counter-terrorism law would re-establish the foundations of a police state and intensify violence and terrorism,” the statement read.
Egypt has witnessed a significant rise in militancy since the military-backed ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. According to the Interior Ministry, militant attacks have killed more than 500 security personnel since then.
A November 2013 survey conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (BASEERA) revealed that 62 percent of Egyptians approve of an “anti-terrorism” act, while 57 percent agree to another draft law dealing with political demonstrations.