On February 22, 2024, at 2pm EST, we hope you can join us for our next Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar – Fighting Terrorism Through Law: How Egyptian Courts Apply Laws on Combating Terrorism and Terrorist Financing. Register here.
Over the past decade, Egypt has suffered from crimes of terrorism that took place in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere across the country. As an example of a recent act of terrorism, in July 2023, it was reported that at least four Egyptian police officers were killed and 21 were injured in an attack on the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in El-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.
Egypt does not publish official data concerning the number of victims of terrorism. However, according to a 2022 U.S. State Department report on human rights practices, the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, had announced that over the past decade, 3,277 personnel from the military and security forces had been killed, with another 12,277 wounded because of terrorism. Additionally, a 2021 U.S. State Department report on human rights practices states that press reporting suggests that terrorists killed more than 90 civilians in 2020 alone in Northern Sinai.
In its efforts to combat terrorism, in August 2015, Egypt passed Law No. 94 of 2015, as amended on counterterrorism and terrorist financing. Law No. 94 of 2015, which consists of 54 articles, defines the terms “terrorist groups” and “acts of terrorism.” It enhances the penalties to which natural and legal persons may be subjected if convicted of promoting, financing, or aiding terrorism. It also sets forth new procedural rules for terrorism cases, including the interrogation of persons accused of such crimes. Moreover, it creates special courts to adjudicate terrorism cases.
This law has generated debate among legal scholars, human rights organizations, and political activists. Supporters argue that it will play a vital role in combating terrorism and enhancing the stability and security of Egypt. However, others claim that the law imposes unprecedented restrictions on the freedom of speech in violation of the Egyptian Constitution of 2014. Opponents also argue that it gives government authorities the ability to apply a broad definition of terrorism to arrest individuals who write statements, reports, and articles in newspapers criticizing the performance of the regime and to charge them with promoting terrorism.
The webinar will discuss the definition of “terrorism” under the 1994 UN Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and Security Council Resolution No. 1566 of 2004 as well as “terrorism financing” under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Additionally, it will address the scope of the problem of terrorism in Egypt, especially in the Sinai Peninsula. It will focus on Law No. 94 of 2015, as amended, on counterterrorism and terrorist financing. The webinar will also examine whether the provisions of Law No. 94 of 2015 adhere to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Furthermore, the webinar will discuss Law No. 8 of 2015 as it relates to terrorist entities and lists of terrorism. The webinar will highlight the arguments of those who support and oppose the law by claiming it restricts freedom of speech. Lastly, it will talk about how Egyptian courts have applied Law No. 94 of 2015 by providing an overview of different court cases on that legal matter.
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