Cabinet seeks amendments to 2013 Protest Law
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail - YOUM7

CAIRO: Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has assigned the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry to review the 2013 Protest Law in order to adopt amendments, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

In his statements to Youm7, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Magdy al-Agaty said that, in accordance with Ismail’s decision, his ministry will study the 2013 law to decide what’s worth amending or deleting regarding the crime of launching unlicensed protests and the penalty it carries.

Agaty added that he formed a ministerial committee to apply a legislative amendment that agrees with the constitutional right of peaceful protesting and does not breach security requirements. The amendment aims to “differentiate between peaceful and non-peaceful protesters.”

The protest law, issued November 2013, stipulates that protests can only take place with a police permit. Accordingly, hundreds of people, including activists and students, have been jailed over breaching the law.

The controversial law was harshly slammed by politicians and rights groups, locally and internationally, accusing it of being used to punish activists and curb freedom of expression.

It was not among hundreds of laws that were discussed by the elected parliament in January 2016; however, some lawmakers promised to bring it back to the table for discussion during parliamentary elections.

Hafez Abu Saeda, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, told Youm7 Wednesday that the council will contact the Human Rights committee at the parliament to discuss changes to some controversial laws including the protest law, civil society law, labor unions law and anti-torture law.

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