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Egypt's Sisi grants armed forces immunity from prosecution

Egyptian President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi on June 12, 2017 [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]
Egyptian President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi on June 12, 2017 [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has issued a new decree granting immunity to all members of the country's armed forces.

According to the new decree, the Ministry of Defence is the number one sovereign ministry in the country and its officers and soldiers have complete immunity.

This immunity means that no one in the country can question them and if they do, they will be subject to investigation themselves.

When a state of emergency is declared in the country, members of the military are not subject to emergency laws.

No authority in Egypt has the right to search the properties of officers or to grant a search warrant for anybody to search their property or vehicles, according to the decree.

The document was leaked to Arabi21 over the weekend by unnamed sources who have said they believe Al-Sisi is trying to consolidate control over the armed forces as opposition to his role grows.

Not for the first time, 'Leave Sisi' was trending on social media sites in Egypt over the weekend as Egyptians called out the president for failing to fix the crushing economic crisis and for the relentless human rights abuses which take place.

READ: Austria master's student sentenced to 3 years in Egypt prison

During his rule, former army chief Al-Sisi has continually worked to protect the military, allowing army backed businesses in the country to flourish.

In 2018 the Egyptian parliament passed a bill granting immunity to army leaders and exempting them from prosecution for acts carried out in the period following the 2013 coup.

Under the bill PresidentAl- Sisi would decide and select which officers could be granted judicial immunity. Human Rights Watch called the measure "unconstitutional."

But Al-Sisi has also worked to control the military. In 2020 the parliament approved amendments to a bill stipulating that former members of the armed forces would have to ask senior army leaders for permission before running for office.

Prior to this it was only serving army members who were exempt from standing for election or entering politics.

The bill was designed to stamp out any opposition to Al-Sisi's rule as the amendments were passed one month before the elections for the second parliamentary chamber.

In 2018 General Sami Anan was arrested after he announced he would run against Al-Sisi in the presidential elections of that year and accused of doing so without permission.

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