CAIRO: A number of human rights organizations, political groups and public figures have urged the government to postpone issuing the approved counter-terrorism law after the parliamentary election, said a Wednesday joint statement.
The law, which was proposed following violent attacks in Cairo and Sinai this month, should be issued after “broad and genuine social dialogue,” and lengthy discussions to ensure “[articles] do not contravene the constitution of 2014,” according to the statement.
Aiming to guarantee “swift justice” to those who commit violence, according to the government, the law is also feared to increase the number of “innocent inmates” whom President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi admitted to exist.
The proposed 55 article-draft law has been criticized for restricting media work by jailing reporters with a minimum two-year jail term and fine for publishing data on terrorism that “contradicts that provided by the government.”
Journalists Syndicate voiced harsh criticism against the law describing it as a “setback for freedom of opinion, publication and expression,” as it limits the journalists to “one source of information.”
The Cabinet approved Wednesday to amend the punishment imposed on journalists, per Article 33 in the draft law, by abolishing imprisonment and maintaining the fine.
“Terrorism cannot be fought with statutes that confiscate civil liberties, but only by bringing in society as a full partner in the confrontation of violent groups and by animating constitutional provisions in the realm of liberties and economic and social rights,” read the joint statement.
The joint statement was signed by 23 rights groups, seven political parties and 25 public figures.
The counter-terrorism law currently awaits ratification by the President to go into effect.