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Egypt's president given extended powers over draconian state-of-emergency law Open in fullscreen

Nada Ramadan

Egypt's president given extended powers over draconian state-of-emergency law

Egypt had been fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai since 2013 [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 January, 2016

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Authoritarian Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will have full control over the country's hugely controversial state-of-emergency law.

Egypt's parliament will no longer have power over the country's controversial state-of-emergency law, which has been used by Cairo to clamp down on opponents, it was revealed today.

Ali Abdel Al, recently elected as parliamentary speaker, told MPs that the president can now simply pass the draconian law and inform parliament at a later date once MPs meet. 

Article 154 provided some checks on the president's ability to use the heavy-handed law, which limits civil liberties and freedoms of civilians.

It also extends the power and authority of security forces.

This has angered some MPs who said it went against the country's 2014 constitution.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was quick to take advantage of the new powers handed to him by extending the state-of-emergency in the restless Sinai region for another three months.

Civil liberties in the peninsular have been suspended since the state-of-emergency was first imposed in October 2014.

It covers large populated areas of Sinai, including al-Arish, Rafah, and some surrounding areas.

The strict measures includes a curfew between 7pm to 6am in some areas, although it only lasts for four hours in Arish.

Any person found on the streets during these hours will be thrown in jail, according to the law first implemented in 1958.

New state of emergency

Cairo first imposed the curfew on the Sinai following an attack on an army post that killed 33 security personnel.

Egypt's Islamic State group affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hundreds of soldiers and police personnel have been killed in fighting and bomb attacks since Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013.

Many more civilians have been killed or arbitrarily detained by Cairo, most accused of being members of the outlawed Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood. 

People linked to the group have suffered a brutal crackdown since Morsi was overthrown, including torture and death.

The group have continuously denied any links to recent acts of violence in Egypt. 

Meanwhile Egypt's newly elected parliament convened on Sunday for the first time in four years.

The parliament will review and decide upon all laws issued by Sisi and his predecessor, interim president Adly Mansour, within 15 days of convening.

 

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