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Notorious emergency courts return in Egypt

Emergency state security courts resumed operations in Egypt yesterday, more than four years after they were suspended in the wake of the 2011 uprising that toppled long-serving president Hosni Mubarak.

A decree issued by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and published in the Gazette on Sunday stipulates that public prosecutors will refer defendants to the emergency courts in cases related to terrorism, violating the protest law, vandalising public property, committing acts of violence, and other breaches.

The decree applies to cases that have not been referred to regular courts yet.

Geneva based Egyptian human rights researcher Ahmed Mefreh told Anadolu Agency that these courts were "a violation of fair trial standards" as stipulated by a UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, "even in emergency cases and exceptions, which strips these courts of international legitimacy".

Read more: 500,000 children born to underage Egyptian mothers annually

He considered the decision to resume emergency courts as "new leeway for the regime" so it can avoid appeals in trials.

Verdicts issued by Egyptian emergency courts may not be appealed and are final, except for a presidential pardon.

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has been president of Egypt since June 2014 after winning a presidential election. The election came after Sisi led a military coup in 2013 when he was the country's defence minister, ousting former president Mohamed Morsi.

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