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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

House of Representatives discusses, votes on a bundle of security-related legislation

Members of the House of Representatives clamored yesterday to prove they’re tough on terror as the House discussed legislation relevant to the state’s security clampdown following Sunday’s devastating attacks. At the top of the agenda was granting preliminary approval to amendments to the Criminal Procedures Act that are designed to expedite the prosecution of terror cases, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The amendments were originally proposed back in November, according to MP Ehab Kholy, but gained new urgency following Sunday’s church attacks.

House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said MPs would discuss a law on the media by today at the latest, saying the draft will serve as a prelude to debate on another piece of legislation to regulate the press, Al Mal says. Under the state of emergency, social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube will be monitored as a matter of national security, Abdel Aal added, according to Ahram Gate. Abdel Aal said all European countries monitor social media, while certain countries surveil other, lesser known platforms. The speaker’s promise to the House that the media will be regulated came after a demand from Free Egyptians leader Alaa Abed that the media not “work against state institutions.”

Amendments to the protest law passed in a final plenary vote, and Abdel Aal referred the Tiran and Sanafir island agreement to the House Constitutional and Legislative Committee for review, according to Ahram Gate.

With parliament largely preoccupied with its “revolution” against terror, other legislation has been put on the back burner for now. The House will discuss on Wednesday the 10% social welfare raise for bureaucrats who do not fall under the Civil Service Act with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan, Al Borsa reports. The raise was originally scheduled to come up for talks yesterday. The general assembly also signed off on a USD 15 mn grant from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development geared towards healthcare, municipal services, and sanitation projects, according to Al Shorouk.

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