In the framework of Observatory of Combating Terrorism through promoting democracy National demands not to violate personal freedom and sanctity of private life in the light of Anti- Terrorism Law

May 7th, 2009 by Editor


At the end of a workshop entitled” Guarantees of personal freedom and private life in the light of Anti- terrorism law” which was  held by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights ( EOHR) supported by European union in the framework of Observatory of Combating Terrorism through promoting democracy on Wednesday 6/5/2009, a number of members of People’s Assembly, representatives of political parties and human rights activists called for not violating  personal freedoms and sanctity of private life provided in the Constitution ( articles 41,42,44and 45)in the light of anti terrorism law .


 Participants warned from the result of enacting a new law for terrorism which  blast rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens which were guaranteed under the provisions of the Constitution and international covenants on human rights ratified by the government, They are stressing necessity of carrying out  a dialogue concerning this law and not limiting it to a particular party and the need to declare its features to the public opinion.


Mr. Hafez Abu Seada confirmed that article 57 of the Constitution considers any attack on personal freedom or the sanctity of private life of citizens is a crime which is not dropped with prescription, however State guarantees a fair reparation for victims. He called for reconsider article 179 of the constitution as it conflicts with other constitutional articles, the necessary of judicial monitoring for any procedures related to confront terrorism and respecting defense rights, confirming the right to fair trial before the natural judge and the presumption of innocence and canceling all forms of exceptional judiciary.


Abu Seada added that the international covenants on human rights which were ratified by the Egyptian government and has become an integral part of domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Constitution contains many of articles which guarantee personal freedoms and sanctity of private life  , so these rights and freedoms may not be  prejudiced in the light of new terrorism .


Abu Seada also called legislators for depending on  the general principles of Berlin Declaration, issued in August 2004, which contains many of the obligations imposed on the state to protect human rights in the process of Combating Terrorism, as well as the agenda of Madrid in 2005, and the strategy of United Nation to counter terrorism , besides security Council resolution No. 456 1 (2003) and 1624 1 (2005) and General Assembly resolutions Nos. 57/219 and 58 / 187 59 / 191, which provided that” Combating Terrorism is a legitimate right for each State, however countering terrorism has to be achieved in the frame of respecting human rights and that any deprivation of liberty must remain consistent in all circumstances with the norms of international law. “


Dr. Wafaa Amer, member of policies Secretariat of the National Democratic , objected on  the definition of terrorism, so it is important to give a clear and specific  definition for it. The current situation  requires the existence of a law used to protect citizens, stressing that the law is not an end in itself, but the goal is the credibility of the application  through providing  an adequate and effective guarantees to protect the community.



As for  Ahmed Abu Baraka, member of People’s Assembly, clarified that Egypt is one of the first countries that has issued anti-terrorism law , namely the law No. 97 of 1992, so we do not need to pass a new law. He confirmed  that in case of enacting a new law , the  image will be darker than now under the emergency law, so it is important to stand in solidarity to determine a clear definition for human rights guarantees which have to be provided in this law .


Dr. Samia Al Motaim, head of administrative prosecution department, agreed with abu barka and confirmed that we are not in a need for a new law for terrorism as the penal code, criminal procedures law and emergency law are enough to confront the crime of terrorism, however it is necessary to get rid of the environment that produces these crimes, through the lifting of the state of emergency and a return to natural law, and apply the emergency law just  in the event of disasters and crises.    


Ambassador. Nagi Al Ghatrify, former president of Al Ghad party, confirmed that the recent constitutional amendments have been given license to go beyond articles 41, 44 and 45, as well as voting  for these articles was very weak, which gives an indication of the lack of legitimacy.

Al Ghatrify criticized the existing bodies which implement the law confirming that there is no need to enact a new law for terrorism.


Essam Shiha, member of Al Wafd Party, strongly rejected the enactment of new anti-terrorism law, noting that we have enough to deal with this crime, Egypt was among the first to know terrorism and develop its laws to combat it. He called for the necessary of applying  harmonization between human rights and Combating Terrorism, it is not necessary to sacrifice fundamental human rights as a pretext of countering  terrorism. There is a responsibility for The Egyptian authorities to abide by its international commitments according to the international law for human rights when conducting their charges to maintain the public safety and confronting crimes. Shiha also called at the same time for the need to amend article 179 of the Constitution because it threatens public freedoms and the right of citizen to stand before the natural judge.


Mr. Ali Fatah Al Bab, member of the parliament, assured that we are really in two minds before this law, first: the continuity of state of emergency , second: enacting a new law for terrorism . He confirmed that emergency law allows the executive power to control the other authorities, the matter which leads to the imbalance among other authorities. According to this law, rights and freedoms will be confiscated , so we are not in a really need to enact a new law for terrorism, however it is necessary to accelerate the reform process  and changing the system as a whole.         


At the conclusion of the seminar, participants emphasized that the Egyptian legislation is not in a need for a new law to combat terrorism, as there is already an existing law, law No. 97 of 1992. However, in the case of the Government’s willingness to pass a new law to combat terrorism, we have to depend primarily on the balance between the protection of human rights and combating  terrorism , this will be achieved through not prejudicing such guarantees of personal freedom and sanctity of private life provided in the constitution , Egyptian law and international covenants concerned with human rights which can be clarified as follows:


The Constitution:

Article (41) :  

 “Personal freedom is a natural right and protected- except for  the red handed case – no one may be arrested or inspected or prevented from move except only by an order issued for the necessary of  maintaining security and investigations requirements. This order  is declared by the competent judge or the prosecution, and that in accordance with the provisions of law and the law defines the period of provisional  detention. “


 Article (42):

 “Every citizen is arrested or imprisoned or whose freedom is restricted has to be treated in a manner that preserves the dignity of human being , and may not be harmed physically or mentally, and may not be detained or imprisoned in places not subject to laws issued to organize prisons”.


Article (44):

“Homes are inviolable and must not be entered or inspected except by a causal judicial warrant and in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

Article (45):

 The private life of citizens has an inviolability and  protected by law. Also postal correspondences and telephone talks and other means of communication have a sanctity ,the secrecy is guaranteed, they may not be confiscated or monitored except for an exceptional judicial warrant for a definite period and in accordance with the provisions of the law. ”


Article (57):
“Every  attack on personal freedom or the sanctity of private life of citizens is a crime which is not dropped with prescription, however state guarantees a fair reparation for victims.

Article (66):
“Punishment is a personal , no crime or punishment except only on the basis of the law, punishment is not imposed except for judicial decision, no punishment imposed  only on the base of law and punishment only for acts committed subsequent to the date of law issuance .”

Penal Code:

Article (280):

“Every one who  arrest
  or detain others without a warrant by the  competent judge in circumstances other than those authorized by the laws and regulations punish with imprisonment or a fine not exceeding two hundred pounds.

Article (281):

Also be punished by imprisonment not exceeding two years each person lend a place  for imprisonment or detention, however  with the knowledge to do so.


Article (282): 

If the arrest  occurred  in a situation described in article 280 from a person dressed a police clothes illegally or characterized with a position falsely or show a fake issue claimed to be issued legally, he would sentence to imprisonment or a fine of not more than 200 L.E . 


Criminal procedures law:


Article (40)
No one may be arrested or imprisoned except by order of the legally competent authorities, and must be treated in a manner that preserves the dignity of the human person and shall not be harmed physically or morally.

Article (41)
No one Shall be imprisoned except in the prison designated for that purpose , prison warden may not admit  any person except according to a decree signed by the competent authorities.


The international covenants :


Article (3): of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “Everyone has the right to life, freedom  and personal security.


Article (12): of Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that” No one shall be subjected to any arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence , and every person has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.


Article (9): of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states “Everyone has the right to freedom and personal security, no one May be subjected to arbitrary detention. No one shall be deprived of his freedom except on grounds provided by law.


Article (8): of the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which states “Everyone has the right to freedom and personal security, no one shall be arrested or detained or stopped illegally , he has to be submitted to judiciary without delay”.


Article (17): of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.


It is noteworthy that the workshop was held in the framework of the “Observatory for combating terrorism through supporting democracy “which started its activity in February 2008 with the support of European union. The basic goal of the Observatory is the support of democratic development in Egypt, through monitoring and controlling of the impact of the inclusion of Combating Terrorism articles  in the constitutional amendments of this development on one hand, and the impact of  terrorism law  on this development as well, and how to achieve the balance between combating terrorism and protecting human rights.







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