Mr. Chancellor / Ibrahim Henedy Minister of Transitional Justice

July 9th, 2015 by Editor


The country has been exposed to many terrorist attacks, during the recent period, that have killed many soldiers and Egyptian citizens, in several provinces of the Arab Republic of Egypt. This has particularly been the case in Sinai, which has seen many bombings and terrorist attacks since the revolution of June 30, 2013. In the light of the decision of the Egyptian government to introduce a Draft Counterterrorism Law, we argue that this project must be consistent with the constitution and international conventions, including those relating to rights and freedom.


“EOHR” has confirmed that this Bill contains some of the articles which contradict the current constitution. It includes some restrictions, which human rights organizations have been campaigning against for decades, and it reverses some of the achievements, secured in the 2014 Constitution.
The Draft Counterterrorism Law stated in the article (33) that:

“A term of no less than two years in prison is prescribed for any person who publishes untrue news or information about any terrorist actions that contradicts with the official data that issued by official bodies, without prejudice to disciplinary Sanctions Prescribed in this regard.”

“EOHR” considers that this explicitly violates Article 71 of the Constitution, which states:

“its forbidden to sign any penalty that Cause Deprivation of freedom of the crimes committed by publication or publicity, and crimes relating to inciting violence or discrimination among citizens or to challenge the judgments taken against individuals. These sanctions are determined by the law.”

“EOHR” notes that this represents a restriction of freedom of opinion and expression, confirmed by the Constitution and the law. It is also contrary to international human rights conventions, to which the Egyptian government is signed up, in particular Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and article (19) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which became part of the Egyptian legislation in accordance with Article 93 of the current Constitution, which stipulates:

“The state is committed to the agreements and international conventions on human rights ratified by Egypt, and become the force of law after publication according to the prescribed conditions.”

“EOHR” also considers that there is a breach of the individual right to a fair trial. The draft law provides provision for an exceptional judicial system, which undermines the right to fair trial. Article (50) of the draft law stipulates that An exception to the provisions of article (388) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, The judgment of any of the issues contained in this law in his presence in the right of the accused if the agent attended and expressed his defense”.

“EOHR” considers that this could lead to accused being tried in absentia, without a proper degree of litigation.

The article (51) stipulates that: “Appeal is permitted, in all judgments relating to crimes and misdemeanors stipulated in this law before the Court of Cassation within forty days from the date of the judgment. Majoring circle or more circles from the Court of Cassation to examine the Appeal of the judgment referred to. If the circle considers that the appeal is likely acceptance transmit it to another circle of the Court of Cassation chapter in its theme, and If all the bodies within the court of Cassation find unanimously that the judgment taken against the accused is not acceptable in the form or it is not based on justified reasons, issued a reasoned decision by overturning the judgment.”

“EOHR” considers that the reduction in the duration of appeal from 60 to 40 days is a breach of the right to defense, where the text in the Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter III of appeal the articles from (420 to 440) cancelled by Law No. (57) and amended by Law No.106 of 1962 that: the period in which an accused can appeal is 60 days from the day following the adversarial judgment (this includes the length of time for the judge to give reasons for judgment and writing, which is 30 days from the date of issuance.  Therefore with the recent changes, the accused is left with only 10 days in which to study the reasons for judgment and the possibility of veto. This is not enough time for proper consideration, and contradicts the right to a fair trial. This draft law also reduces the degree of litigation before the Court of Cassation, despite the fact that Article (52) states: “An exception to the provisions of Law No. 57 of 1959 on cases and procedures for appeal to the Court of Cassation, and taking into account what is stipulated in Article (51), The Court of Cassation in the case of Appeal judgment has to address the appeal in separation and independently from the judgment of the court which issued the sentence.”

“EOHR” considers that this exception is very dangerous, because the reduction in the degree of litigation means that unfair judgments can be issued quickly, without proper consideration.

In this context, “EOHR” considers that there is a need to amend this project which is consistent with the vision of both of the judicial bodies of civil society organizations and journalists.


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