CAIRO – 9 July 2017: Government officials called to expedite the formation of the Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism over the past two days, following terror attacks that killed a number of security personnel in North Sinai on Friday.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi first announced plans to form the counter-terrorist council in April in response to the Palm Sunday bombings that killed 48 people and injured dozens of others in Tanta and Alexandria.
Calls were made to ministers and other governmental institutions related to the fight against terrorism requesting the expedited submission of candidate names to be included on the council.
The formation of the council will be declared through a presidential decree which will include its duties, members and internal committees.
The council will combat terrorism through a coordinated effort by all ministries and officials concerned with national security and will develop necessary strategies to eliminate extremism through intellectual, cultural, legal and security means. It will also provide means to stop local and international sources of funding terrorist groups.
Members of the council committees will be responsible for issuing recommendations and resolutions on combating the phenomenon of terrorism and extremism. These recommendations will be binding by state entities.
The council will analyze and study the plans and ideologies of terrorist organizations, in addition to monitoring their activities.
Within the council there will also be a committee for legal affairs that will issue all legislation against terrorism to achieve justice in sentencing those found guilty of terror offences. It will also develop the security plans of the Ministries of Defense and Interior to deal with terrorist groups and organizations and to identify the security gaps exploited by those entities.
In a similar context, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court Abdel Wahab Abdel Razak said on Saturday, “The state is taking effective steps to issue amendments and laws to achieve fast litigation in terror related cases.”
The judge’s statements came as a comment on the judicial system’s efforts to counter terrorism following the terrorist attacks that targeted security personnel recently in North Sinai.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi recently ratified amendments to the Criminal Procedure Laws, the Regulation of Terrorists and Terrorist Lists Law and the Anti-Terrorism Law in order to improve security conditions across Egypt. Additionally, Sisi declared a State of Emergency imposed under Emergency Law in April following the Palm Sunday bombings. Different emergency measures have been implemented in North Sinai since 2014.
Three months ago the three above amendments were applied to the 2013 Kerdasa Massacre case where 14 security personnel were killed by pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters in a Giza police station. The court rendered the death penalty to 20 defendants and dozens more to prison sentences in conclusion.
Hamdi Bakhit, a member of the Parliamentary Committee for Security and National Defense, told Egypt Today, “Only one case has been ruled by with the new amendments and there will be additional terror-related cases reviewed in accordance to the recent amendments.” He also added, “Terror-related cases during the upcoming period will be concluded under Emergency Law.”
Bakhit’s statement came in contradiction to comments from prominent lawyer Essam El-Eslamboly who told Egypt Today that a number of cases have been forwarded by the General Prosecution to military trials.