Egypt hits back after int’l criticism of new anti-terrorism law
Egyptian Security forces - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO: Egypt had defended a controversial anti-terrorism law, saying “respect of Egypt’s independence of decision taking is a must.”

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified Sunday the law that was blasted by Egyptian and international human rights advocates.

“Egypt has never commented on any laws some countries passed to combat terrorism on their territories where many of their citizens see (such laws) as restricting the freedoms,” said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid Wednesday.

U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday that the new anti-terrorism law “could have a significant detrimental impact on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including due process safeguards, freedom of association, and freedom of expression.”

“With this sweeping new decree, Egypt’s president has taken a big step toward enshrining a permanent state of emergency as the law of the land,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Wednesday.

Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday that the new law deepens the crackdown on the press; per Article 35, journalists who publish “incorrect” terrorism-related information that contradicts the Ministry of Defense’s official statements shall be fined between 200,000 EGP and 500,000 EGP.

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