Egypt to criminalise ‘insulting revolutions’

Egypt to criminalise ‘insulting revolutions’

published: 8:23 PM, December 3, 2014
http://www.todayonline.com/world/africa/egypt-criminalise-insulting-revolutions

CAIRO — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said his office is drafting a law to criminalise insulting the uprisings that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and his Islamist successor Mohammed Morsi last year.

The move would help appease both sides in a widening rift over whether the two popular movements expressed the genuine will of Egyptians. The dispute was further stoked by a judge’s dismissal last weekend of a murder case against Mubarak over the killing of protesters.

Just what would constitute an insult however was unclear, as was the time frame for the legislation’s implementation. Such a law, however, would infringe on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the nation’s new constitution. It follows an intense, yearlong media campaign to denigrate the 2011 uprising and paint those behind it as foreign agents.

Many of those who participated in the 2011 uprising also supported massive street demonstrations in June last year accusing Morsi of monopolising power and demanding his resignation, but were later targeted by a crackdown that saw many of their leaders jailed.

News of the draft law broke late yesterday (Dec 2) when the presidential palace released comments by Mr el-Sissi to a group of young media workers. Mr El-Sissi, who led the military ouster of Morsi in July 2013, wields legislative authority since Egypt’s last elected parliament was dissolved by a 2012 court ruling. Elections for a new legislature are due next year.

Another law being drafted, according to Mr el-Sissi, would remove the statute of limitations on graft crimes.

That appeared to be in response to a weekend court ruling acquitting Mubarak, his two sons and a businessman friend of corruption charges because the alleged crime took place over 10 years ago. The prosecution alleged that the businessman, Hussein Salem, bribed the Mubaraks by selling them vastly discounted villas in a Red Sea resort. Salem, a fugitive living in Spain, was tried in absentia. AP

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