The parliament approved Tuesday the implementation of an emergency state for three months, currently in effect. The official parliament’s website reported that the approval by majority allows the army and police to take measures needed to face terrorism and its funding, and protect citizens and institutions.
On Monday, the government approved the state of emergency and announced it was effective on Monday at 1 pm.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail attended a general session in parliament to clarify reasons and conditions for imposing a state of emergency in the country in a speech in parliament on Tuesday.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced on Sunday the state of emergency that was approved by the cabinet on Monday morning in response to the deadly attacks on churches in Tanta and Alexandria that occurred on Palm Sunday.
Ismail started his speech saying, “Egypt is facing a fierce and treacherous terrorist attack which foreign bodies are behind.” He continued that the terrorism Egypt is facing requires exceptional procedures, such as the state of emergency, justifying that it will assist the state to mobilise its forces to deal with such criminal acts.
The law organises several mechanisms for using Twitter and YouTube, and whoever will violate them will be punished, parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal asserted.
In the wake of the attack on the St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church that left 25 killed and 49 injured in December, talks about amending the Criminal Procedures Law to address the slow pace of litigation and swiftly handle terrorism-related cases were raised.
Monday’s general session also included discussions for other pending issues in the country. These discussions included amendments for some articles of the Criminal Procedures Laws and the appeal procedures in the Court of Cassation regarding issues of the formation of terrorist entities and terrorists, as well as a law specified for fighting against terrorism. The final decision for these laws will be declared at the end of this week.
Al-Sisi also announced the Supreme Council for Combating Terrorism and Extremism, which will be assigned to work on renewing religious, media, and political discourse. These issues have long been called for in the country by Al-Sisi and the government, but nothing regarding their real improvement has yet been seen on solid ground.
Sunday’s attacks were made against Mar Girgis Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, with total combined deaths of more than 40 and over 100 injuries.
The state of emergency could result in high emergency security procedures that had been stopped in Egypt in May 2012 by the armed forces after being practised for many decades.
Among the security procedures, random arrests, and detentions are excluded, in accordance with the Constitutional Court declaration in June 2013, which stated that part 1 of Article 3 stipulating random arrests is unconstitutional. However, it is expected that parliament will return it within the awaited decision.