Egypt Daily Update: President Al-Sisi Ratifies Protest Law Amendment

May 3, 2017

Al-Sisi Approves Protest Law Amendment

Foreign Ministry Denounces UN Commissioner’s Human Rights Remarks

Judges Club Considers Options in Opposition to Judicial Authority Law

Cartoon of the Day: Changing Weather

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President Al-Sisi Ratifies Protest Law Amendment

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved [Ar] a bill amending the controversial 2013 protest law. The bill—passed by Parliament last month—amends Article 10 of the protest law, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court in December 2016. The amendment stipulates that the authority to reject notifications of the intent to protest will be transferred from the Interior Ministry to the judiciary. If a judge rejects a protest notification, defendants have the right to appeal. The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy issued a statement “[applauding] the amended version of Article 10 as a measure to incorporate judicial review into the procedure for permitting protests” while “[recognizing] that the impact of this amendment relies on implementation by an increasingly politicized judiciary.”

In other news, MP Rayed Abdel Sattar told Egypt Independent on Sunday that 60 MPs favored discussing a bill that would, according to Abdel Sattar, “facilitate state surveillance over social networks in Egypt by making users enroll in a government-run electronic system that will grant them permission to access Facebook.” Abdel Sattar proposed the law in order to crackdown on social media users who utilize these platforms to spread terrorist propaganda or false news. A similar social media surveillance bill was first introduced by Abdel Sattar last month following President al-Sisi’s imposition of a three-month state of emergency, which grants state security officials the authority to monitor all forms of communication.

Foreign Ministry Denounces UN Commissioner’s Human Rights Remarks

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid responded to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein’s comments earlier this week regarding human rights in Egypt. The Commissioner stated, “National security, yes, must be a priority for every country, but again not at the expense of human rights,” emphasizing that Egypt’s ongoing security crackdown and poor rights record “facilitates radicalization” as opposed to combating it. In a Foreign Ministry statement, Abu Zeid “denounced the regrettable remarks,” referring to them as irresponsible, shameful, and disgraceful. The spokesman argued that al-Hussein’s comments make excuses for terrorists and ignore the fact that terrorism is “a global phenomenon that hits all societies around the world, and does not distinguish between cultures or religions.”

Judges Club Considers Options to Oppose Judicial Authority Law

Following President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s ratification of the controversial judicial authority law late last week, the Judges Club—which previously spoke out in opposition to the law—heldan advisory board meeting on Monday. Judges Club spokesman Hazem Rasmi reported after the meeting that the advisory board decided to indefinitely postpone the general assembly meeting that had been scheduled for this Friday and discussed both drafting a new judicial authority bill and filing a suit against the newly-ratified law.

One day prior to the advisory board meeting, the Supreme Judicial Council approved the new judicial authority law. Judges Club Head Mohamed Abdel Mohsen criticized the Council for its support of the law and its unwillingness to back the Judges Club’s opposition. In a statement, Abdel Mohsen emphasized that “it is now a duty to present a united front, end disputes, and clarify objectives” in order to successfully advocate in opposition to the law and in favor of the judiciary’s independence.

The first lawsuit against the judicial authority law was filed earlier this week by lawyer Essam El-Eslamboli at the Administrative Court. The lawsuit requests the law’s suspension and suggests the case be referred to the Constitutional Court to ensure the law’s constitutionality. In his suit, El-Eslamboli refers to the articles of Egypt’s Constitution that mandate the judiciary’s independence and the issuing of laws by the president and parliament.

Cartoon of the Day: Changing Weather

“I’m afraid the closet’s going to get tired of me and think I’m a flip-flopper”

Mohamed Abdel Latif

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