Egypt Gov’t Widens Crackdown on Opposition

Egypt Gov’t Widens Crackdown on OppositionEgypt Gov’t Widens Crackdown on Opposition

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed off on an anti-terrorism law that gives authorities more sweeping powers to ban groups on charges ranging from harming national unity to disrupting public order.

The move, announced in the official Gazette on Tuesday, is likely to increase concern among rights groups over the government clawing back freedoms gained after the 2011 uprising that ended a three-decade autocracy under Hosni Mubarak, World Bulletin reported.

Loose definitions involving threats to national unity may give the police, widely accused of abuses, a green light to crush dissent, human rights groups say.

Authorities have cracked down hard on the Islamic groups and other opposition parties alike since then army chief Sisi toppled elected president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

According to the Gazette, the law enables authorities to act against any individual or group deemed a threat to national security, including people who disrupt public transportation, an apparent reference to protests.

Any group designated as terrorist would be dissolved, the law stipulates. It also allows for the freezing of assets belonging to the group, its members and financiers.

Since taking office in 2014, Sisi has identified Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a threat to national security. He has linked the Brotherhood with far more radical groups, including one based in Sinai that supports the Islamic State, allegations it denies.

Hundreds of supporters of the Brotherhood have been killed and thousands arrested in one of the toughest security crackdowns in Egypt’s history.