[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] expressed concern [statement] Friday over the new Egyptian anti-terror law set to be approved by interim president Adly Mansour [BBC profile]. The law, which was passed in response to an attack on Cairo University [Al Ahram report], is aimed at deterring the recent escalation of terrorist violence in Egypt during its transition following the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Included in the amendments to the law are provisions increasing the penalties for those acts deemed as "terrorist acts" as well as provisions broadening the scope of the law itself. The main problem with such changes, AI contends, is that they allow the government to levy terrorism charges on a broad range of offenses and could be used as a tool to root out dissent. The laws also make no mention of respecting human rights of those accused. AI called upon Mansour to reject the draft laws which were passed [JURIST report] earlier this month.
Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak from power. Much of that conflict has occurred recently between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood [JURIST news archive] and supporters of the new government in place in July, especially since the Brotherhood's formal ban [JURIST reports] in September. Last month an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] 33 Morsi supporters to six years in prison for protesting without a permit. Death sentences have been handed out to 531 Morsi supporters in March in one mass trial for attacking policemen and one trial of a small group [JURIST reports] for murdering supporters of the new government. In March an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] four police officers for their role in the deaths of 37 Islamists. Opponents have criticized the light sentences handed down to the officers. A day earlier an Egyptian prosecutor referred [JURIST report] Morsi's youngest son, Abdullah Morsi, to trial on allegations of drug use and possession. In February the Cairo Criminal Court convicted [JURIST report] 26 people of forming a terrorist group with intent to attack the Suez Canal.