The Egyptian Great Purge: Sisi to dismiss political opponents from public service

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Egypt’s parliament approved, before days, a bill allows the president to dismiss public servants with suspected links with the Muslim Brotherhood or other “terrorists”. The new legislation, known in media as “the law of Ikhwani employee dismissal” is not just a blunt constitutional violation, but also leads to deprive thousands of families of their livings.

The bill is an amendment of Law 10 of 1973 regarding the non-disciplinary dismissal of state employees. The original law allows dismissal of the employee “if he breached his job duties in a manner that harms the production or economic interests of the state seriously, or if his presence was proved to contradict with the state security and safety, or if he lost functional validity, or if he lost trust and regard.” The words of the law are loose and vague so that the law could be used by the authorities to kick off anyone who they do not like.

The new legislation allows the dismissal of the employee if he was inserted on the terrorism lists. Here, it should be noted that UN experts criticized the misuse of listing procedures to attack individuals engaged in human rights work. The law is to be applied on employees in the administrative apparatus of the state and on all institutions subjected to the public service law, including employees of state-owned companies, authorities and services. This means that 5 million employees are subjected to this law. The law provides that the dismissed has the right to apply to the administrative court to abolish the decision, but, strangely, the law also allows the court to decide intimidation instead of abolition if this was “public interest”.

This bill was proposed before the previous parliament, which approved it initially but the parliamentary session ended without it being issued.  The bill was revived after the recurrent train collision accidents when the authorities, particularly the former military general Kamel al-Wazir, minister of transport, accused “Ikhwani employees” of responsibility of the accidents. Although Wazir’s statements had no evidence, even official investigations proved workers’ negligence, the pro-Sisi parliament brought the bill back to support Wazir, who attempts to evade responsibility.

What are the terrorism lists?

Law 8 of 2015 regarding lists of terrorists and terrorist organizations provided that inserting persons or organizations in those lists could depend only on the investigations of the disreputable secret police, the National Security Apparatus, without a judicial oversight. Moreover, the law put a wide definition of the terrorist to include those who once joined or financed organizations that were then listed “terrorist”, so a lot of persons were accused of terrorism because they once collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a peaceful widespread religious and political association.

The Egyptian authorities used such shameful law to insert eminent politicians and human rights defenders on terrorism lists without evidence. For example, the Egyptian authorities listed Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the president of Masr al-Qawia (Strong Egypt) party and former presidential candidate, Ziad el-Elaimy, former leftist parliamentarian, Ramy Shaath, one of the founders of BDS Egypt, and Mohamed al-Baqer, human rights lawyer.

Insertion on terrorism lists ensues for the enlisted a travel ban, a ban over working in public service, freezing stocks and assets, and abolishing membership in syndicates and civil society activities. According to such shameful laws, the Egyptian authorities can kick off any employee or worker protesting against any decision by just sending a report from the National Security that this worker has links with the Muslim Brotherhood or any other political activity considered terrorist by the state. Furthermore, the law appears as if it proves its political character, when it provides that the unfairly dismissed employee could be compensated financially without restoring his job.