During its public session today the Egyptian parliament approved definitively and with a two-thirds majority to extend law no. 7 of 2016. The law aims to accelerate the trials of political opponents by modifying the appeals and procedures included in the law. 

Speaker of the Parliament Professor Ali Abdel Aal announced that 473 MPs approved the bill and the necessary two-thirds approved it. The law will be applied retroactively. He explained that the modifications aim to speed up adjudicating cases and relieve the number of appeals at the Court of Cassation, as he put it.

Before the law was issued, death sentences in Egypt used to be passed in three stages. The first judgment was given by the Criminal Court, then the case was transferred by default to the Court of Cassation within 60 days to inspect the validation of the judgment. 

If there was any violations, the Court of Cassation agreed to a new trial before another criminal court. If the new court issued a death sentence, then there was an option for those who were sentenced to go to the Court of Cassation which would then issue a definitive judgement.   

Under the amended law, the judgment issued by the Court of Cassation as an appeal court has been canceled and the judgment issued by the Criminal Court has become definitive. Then Court of Cassation takes the responsibility to appeal against the first grade judgment and its judgment is enforceable.

It should to be mentioned that in a previous interview al-Sisi threatened stronger laws to execute detainees swiftly, which he referred to as “speedy justice.” 

The approval of parliament on extending the operation of the law comes in the middle of tough criticism for Egypt during the periodic review at the UN when many countries asked Egypt to abolish the death penalty.