Egypt’s Parliament finally approved on Monday a draft law submitted by the government to amend some provisions of Law No. 396 of 1956 regarding the regulations of prisons, and Law No. 182 of 1960 regarding drug control.
The new law aims to prevent the conditional release of those convicted of crowd crimes, terrorism, drugs, and money laundering except for drug possession crimes with the intent of personal use and abuse stipulated in Article 37 of the drugs law.
The law also aims to regulate the reform and rehabilitation of prisoners and to facilitate decent living after their release.
The new government-drafted amendments to the Prison Regulation Law, which was initially approved late February and then sent to the State Council for revision before given a final vote.
The draft law provides for the organisation of prisons, a new article which states conditional release stipulated in this law shall apply to convicts for committing any of the crimes stipulated in Law No. 10 of 1914 regarding gathering, and Law No. 182 of 1960 regarding drug control and regulating the use and trafficking of drugs, except for the felony stipulated in Article 37 of the Anti-Money Laundering Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law.
The report of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee (LCAC) on the amendment defines conditional release as the release of a convicted person with a freedom-restricting sentence before the expiration of each period of his sentence in terms of conditions that are imposed on him and restrict his freedom where this freedom is attached to fulfilling those obligations.
The LCAC and the human rights committee previously prepared a report to amend the regulation law to ban the conditional release of defendants serving prison sentences in crimes related to organising illegal public gatherings, carrying out acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
The report indicated that members from the LCAC and the human rights committee approved the new amendment, and the law now covers a legislative loophole that allowed some criminals to win rulings for their conditional release.
“The current law on regulating prisons bans defendants convicted of drug trafficking only from being conditionally released,” stated the report.
“As stated by the law for regulating prisons, the term ‘conditional release’ means that those who are serving freedom-restricting sentences can be released on three conditions: they must have served more than half their sentence; exhibit good behaviour and manners; and that they do not pose a threat to public security once released,” said the report.
Article 56 of the constitution states that prisons are places of rehabilitation and shall be subject to judicial supervision, and is a space where all actions inconsistent with human dignity or endangers human health shall be prohibited.
The new amendment is in line with international conventions on human rights and helps protect society from serious crimes, such as drug trafficking and organising illegal gatherings.