Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi yesterday ordered the extension of a nation-wide state of emergency for another three months.
According to the presidential decree, the state of emergency went into effect yesterday and will last until 15 January 2019.
“Under the extension, the armed and the security forces shall take the necessary measures to confront all threats and funding of terrorism to maintain security across the country, and protect public and private property and lives of citizens,” the decree read.
This is the sixth time for Sisi to extend the country’s state of emergency since it was first announced in April 2017 after two deadly bombings in two churches, which left around 45 people killed. The Egyptian constitution restricts the extension of the state of emergency by over two periods.
Egypt has been battling an entrenched Islamist insurgency for several years in North Sinai, with hundreds of security forces killed in the attacks. In February, the government launched a large-scale counter-terrorism campaign involving the police and the military to crush militants in the northern and central Sinai regions, parts of the Nile Delta and the country’s the Western Desert.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authorised the release of $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt, overriding previous human rights concerns that had held up funding. The figure includes $1 billion for the current 2018 budget year and $195 million earmarked for 2017 which would have been returned to the treasury had it not been spent by the end of the month. The State Department informed Congress of the move on Friday; congressmen have 15 days to contest the national security waivers allowing the money, known as foreign military financing (FMF), to be delivered.
Egypt seems to be intensifying its crackdown on opponents with a new law. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has approved the legislation, authorizing officials to monitor social media users. As reported by the official gazette on Saturday, the new law gives state authorities the right to monitor the activities of social media users on the internet. The legislation, it said, places social media accounts with over 5,000 followers under the supervision of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media.
When she went to Egypt for vacation, Mona el-Mazbouh surely didn’t expect to end up in prison. But after the 24-year-old Lebanese tourist posted a video in which she complained of sexual harassment—calling Egypt a lowly, dirty country and its citizens “pimps and prostitutes”—el-Mazbouh was arrested at Cairo’s airport and found guilty of deliberately spreading false rumors that would harm society, attacking religion, and public indecency. She was sentenced to eight years in prison.
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