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Egypt to expand Sisi, military's security powers

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi chats with President of Iraq, Barham Salih (not seen) following an official welcoming ceremony at Baghdad Airport in Baghdad, Iraq on June 27, 2021 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on June 27, 2021 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Egypt is set to expand President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's security powers and that of the country's military, the New York Times has reported.

The paper said yesterday that the Egyptian government "approved new amendments to the national terrorism law on Sunday granting the extended powers, and the changes will now go to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for ratification", adding that this was "little more than a formality".

Constitutional proposals could allow Sisi to stay in power till 2034 – Cartoon [Mohammad Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The measures allow the president to impose curfews and other measures he deems necessary to preserve the country's security.

This comes days after a state of emergency, which has been in place since 2017, was lifted. It was first imposed "to fight terrorism," according to parliament. It was put in place after two deadly church bombings, which left dozens of people dead. It has been renewed every three months since.

Under the state of emergency, authorities have the right to evacuate areas, impose a curfew, take strict security measures, and punish violators with imprisonment.

Parliament also passed a bill that would make research on the military and its current and former members without written government consent punishable by a fine of up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,180).

Four senior members of the Egyptian security services are due to stand trial for the murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in Cairo. Regeni, 26, a postgraduate student at Cambridge University, was conducting research in Cairo when he disappeared on 25 January 2016.  His body was found bearing signs of torture nine days later.

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