Committee for Justice criticizes the insertion of thousands on terrorism lists in Egypt

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In its annual report, the Committee for Justice said that the events of September 11 were accompanied by anti-terror legislation and the inclusion of individuals and entities on terrorist lists with the aim of curbing and cutting off funding for terrorist organizations. However, the arbitrary and excessive application of these legislation threatened the right to a fair trial, and arbitrary listing decisions increased the risk factors for violent extremism.

The organization added that anti-terror legislations have spread in Egypt following the events of 2013, but the continuous expansion of definitions of terrorism is among the most dangrous tools with which the Egyptian authorities have legitimized the imprisonment of thousands for years without charge or trial. Decisions to combat terrorism in Egypt have expanded to include associations, organizations, groups, gangs and cells, up to companies and unions. They also included providing people with any means of assistance, even if it was not directly related to the terrorist act, which legitimized the authority’s seizure of the property and money of individuals, it explained.

The Anti-Terrorism Law did not provide a clear mechanism for the process of listing names of terrorist entities and terrorists, nor did it provide any guarantees for a fair trial. According to the report, the law allows the person listed on such lists to appeal within 60 days of the ruling. However, the appeal is not based on the merits of the judgment or decision, since the accused in those cases is not allowed to see the documents or justifications for the listing. The law also did not set conditions or procedures for assessing the seriousness of the investigations and documents necessary to request the classification of an entity or individual, which caused the peaceful opposition to be targeted.

The report emphasized that the Egyptian regime’s repression of the Muslim Brotherhood-led to a transgression of international legal norms and frameworks, as well as the principles of legality, justice and criminal responsibility, and soon spread to the repression of large segments of society. The lists of terrorism in Egypt include 4,625 individuals and 8 entities in the course of 61 cases.

At the conclusion of its report, the organization recommended that the Egyptian authorities achieve standards of accuracy, clarity and specificity, and abandon broad phrases that allow harming peaceful opponents, especially phrases like “threatening public peace” and “threatening national security,” and other terms that do not fit such dangerous legislation. It also called on Egypt to abide by United Nations standards in respect of human rights and fair trial principles in the context of war on terrorism.