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Egypt extends state of emergency by three months

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 October, 2017

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extends state of emergency that grants his regime extraordinary powers to monitor, detain suspects and curb freedom of expression.

Egypt has extended its state of emergency by another three months, the country's official gazette reported on Thursday.

The decision, made by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is due to go into effect on Friday.

Sisi first declared the heightened security state following a bombing of Coptic Christian churches in April by extremists.

Prior to Thursday's announcement, the measure was renewed by three months in July.

Militant groups operating mainly in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula have targeted the country's Coptic Christian minority and security forces in attacks that have intensified since the overthrow of President Mohammad Morsi in 2013.

Since December, over 100 people have been killed in these attacks and scores more have been wounded.

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.

It also grants the country's president the ability to issue directives related to monitoring and intercepting all forms of communication and correspondence, imposing censorship prior to publication and confiscating extant publications, imposing a curfew or ordering the closure of commercial establishments and the sequestration of private property.

When emergency laws were first introduced, critics raised fears that Egypt's would use the heightened measures to crackdown on political opponents and expand extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, without stopping terrorist attacks.

According to rights watchdog Amnesty International, Egypt has "used mass arbitrary arrests to suppress demonstrations and dissent, detaining journalists, human rights defenders and protesters, and restricted the activities of human rights organisations".

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