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Egypt Parliament approves inclusion of companies and unions in terrorism lists

March 10, 2020 at 12:49 am

Egyptian parliament in session, 29 November 2016 [Anadolu Agency]

Egyptian parliament approved by a majority of the draft law of terrorist entities lists, which provides for expanding the definition of “terrorist entity” to include new categories, such as companies and unions, under the pretext of combating “money laundering and financing terrorism.”

The amendments approved by Parliament included “redefining the crime of financing terrorism, and adding new regulations to be imposed on entities added to lists of terrorist groups and terrorists.”

The new regulations include “freezing the membership of the entity that has been added to the terrorism list in professional unions and boards of directors of companies, associations and government institutions while expanding the process of confiscation and freezing the assets, funds and property of those listed, even if the use of the resources mentioned above in financing any terrorist activity has not been proven.”

The government said that the goal of the amendments is to keep pace with international and regional standards to combat money laundering and financing terrorism by avoiding the flaws revealed by the practical implementation of the two legislations.

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Jurists and activists considered these amendments as an expression of the authority’s desire to expand the jurisdiction of the security services and the Public Prosecution in confiscating the funds and property of oppositionist and prisoners of conscious.

In late January, Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Abdel-Aal, referred a draft law submitted by the government to amend the terrorist entities law to a joint committee, chaired by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs and the National Defence and Security Committee, for discussion and approval.

The joint committee agreed eventually to the amendment, which included the possibility to add “satellite channels, founded by people, companies or institutions … radio stations and social media outlets or sites” to terrorist entities lists.

The amendment also introduced a set of regulations for inclusion in the lists of terrorist entities related to denying those listed of running for local councils’ elections and enjoying ration support or any government support of any kind, as well as ending their service in government posts or their contracts with public sector companies, in addition to denying them any appointment or contracting opportunity in the future and prohibiting them from practicing all civil or advocacy activities.”

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Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had issued the Law of terrorist entities in February 2015, aiming at coming up with a list of terrorists and groups that the state classifies as terrorist, similar to what several Arab and foreign countries have done.

The anti-terrorism law was issued in August of the same year, a month and a half after the assassination of the Attorney General, and several amendments have been made to the two laws during the past years, to constrict Al-Sisi’s opponents and seize their money under the pretext of countering terrorism.