Egypt, anti-terrorism laws: new “Arab Winter”?

Death penalty for those who take part in the Jihadist groups. Journalists mustn’t contradict official accounts. Al Sisi mandate marks return to nationalism and repression against opponents. But this policy is counterproductive: attacks in the country has exponentially increased since 2013.

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Yes to anti-terrorism legislation. The hard line of the Egyptian president to Sisi has gone on. Within the 54 measures passed, the most crucial are death penalty for those who founds or finances a terrorist group. And fines from 23,000 to 58,000 Euros to journalists who write wrong informations or different knowledge from government statements.

If Egypt wants to be back first partner in the political and trade relations with International Community, like about Suez Canal expansion, on the other hand al Sisi wants to show internal stability and capability to fight internal Jihadists group. This mood is bringing a hard repression not only against Islamists, but also against also political opponents and Egyptian press.

A crackdown began in June 2014, when current president al Sisi started his political mandate, and continued with Arab Springs protagonist repression. Many political opponents, not considered terrorists during Mubarak regime, are now considered criminals. As the death sentence to former President Morsi, to supreme leader Badie and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which the legal office filed an appeal on August 16.

This attempt to stabilize the country, with an eye to the West in view of a possible intervention of the United Nations and Italy in Libya, brings a regression in terms of fundamental rights. An attitude branded by some observers as illiberal and even more militaristic than the Mubarak regime. This political behaviour wants to give West the eye, especially if United Nations and Italy will intervene in Libya. However, many international observers have talked about a harder repression than during Mubarak regime.

But it’s not enough. This fight against terrorism is counterproductive. As reported by the Brookings Institution, data published in August by Egypt Center for Economic and Social Rights tell us that the terrorist attacks in Egypt have increased exponentially: from 2011 to June 2013 were 78; from July 2013 until May 2014, 1223 . And with tens of thousands of arrests for political reasons, at least 300 disappeared, murders of institutional positions and deterioration in Sinai, the issue is clear.

An ineffective and counterproductive policy which, as underlined by the Brookings Institute, could be a gift, from political and public points of view, Islamic State.
Giacomo Pratali

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