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Egypt parliament approves state of emergency for 10th time

November 5, 2019 at 11:48 am

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi [Egyptian President Office/Apaimages]

Egypt’s parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency across the country for a further three months on the justification that it is fighting terrorism in the country.

The General Committee said the extension was necessary given “the circumstances Egypt has been through at both national and regional level.”

In a speech to the House of Representatives Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told the parliament: “There are forces of darkness exploiting the turmoil in the Arab region and the Middle East to carry out despicable acts against innocent civilians as well as members of the armed forces and police, hoping to destabilise Egypt.”

Madbouly also renewed the twilight curfew in North Sinai including Tal Rafah, Awja and Mount Halal.

Presiden Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced the measure last week and according to Egyptian law it must then be presented to the House of Representatives for approval within seven days.

READ: Trump speaks with Egypt’s Sisi, backs talks on disputed Ethiopia dam

Under the state of emergency Egyptian authorities can intercept communication including on social media and refer detainees to emergency courts where they are unable to appeal verdicts. It expands police powers for arrest and limits freedom of movement.

The parliament has approved the state of emergency regularly since April 2017 after two churches in northern Egypt were attacked by twin bomb blasts, killing more than 40 worshippers.

Though it should be implemented for six months maximum at a time, each period is separated by a few days to circumvent this law.

Al-Sisi and his regime have consistently pushed a counter-terror narrative to justify an excessive crackdown against members of the opposition.

After former President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown authorities declared the Muslim Brotherhood – from which he stemmed – a terror organisation and arrested thousands of people for being part of the group, whether they were or not.

Sisi asked key allies including the US to follow suit and join him in designating them a terror group.

For years the Egyptian government has waged a war on Sinai it says is fighting the local Daesh affiliate, but locals say it is a war on civilians aimed at displacing them from their land.

READ: Egyptians accuse Sisi of murdering residents of Sinai