Egypt's Sisi extends state of emergency for three months

Egypt's Sisi extends state of emergency for three months
2 min read
23 June, 2017
Egypt's president has ordered a three-month extension of a state of emergency declared after twin church bombings in April.
Sisi has ordered a three-month extension of the state of emergency [AFP]
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended a state of emergency declared after twin church bombings in April by extremists, in a decree issued in the official gazette on Thursday.

The renewed three-month state of emergency will start on 10 July, according to the decree.

Parliament approved the initial state of emergency in April after two church bombings, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, killed at least 45 people.

The group said it was behind the bombings in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria, and it threatened further attacks against Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

Extremists also claimed a Cairo church bombing in December that killed 29 people.

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.

It also grants Sisi the right to issue written or oral directives related to monitoring and intercepting all forms of communication and correspondence, imposing censorship prior to publication and confiscating extant publications, imposing a curfew or ordering the closure of commercial establishments and the sequestration of private property.

During the first period of the emergency state in Egypt, at least 103 websites have been blocked, according to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression.

Critics fear the renewed state of emergency would be used by the Egyptian regime to crackdown on political opponents and expand extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, without stopping terrorist attacks.

Egypt had been ruled for decades under a state of emergency, which was cancelled a month before Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took power in 2012.

Following Morsi's overthrow by Sisi, then an army chief, in 2013, a state of emergency was declared for a month after clashes between police and Islamist protesters that killed hundreds and after Islamist mobs attacked Christian properties.

Part of North Sinai in the east of the country where the IS's Egyptian affiliate is based has remained under a state of emergency.

According to the Egyptian constitution, any state of emergency must be approved by parliament by majority vote within seven days of its declaration by the president, with renewal also requiring parliamentary approval.

The constitution also stipulates that the state of emergency should not exceed three months and can only be extended once for three months.

Agencies contributed to this report