Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet approved on Tuesday a bill which criminalises the desecration of the Egyptian flag and dishonouring its national anthem.
The bill, which was originally proposed by interim President Adly Mansour, was first approved by the cabinet on 2 October. It originally set the punishment for despoiling the flag and/or the anthem for a maximum of six months in prison and/or a maximum of an EGP 5,000 fine.
The latest bill intensified the punishment to a maximum of one year in prison and/ or a maximum fine of EGP 30,000. The penalty is to be implemented on those who desecrate the flag and/or dishonour the national anthem in public, as per Article 172 of the Egyptian Penal Code.
The bill states that the Egyptian flag and the national anthem are “state symbols” which must be respected, according to the law. It also necessitates standing in respect to the national anthem while it is being played.
The issuance of the bill is waiting on Mansour’s ratification.
Article 223 of the draft constitution states that “desecrating Egypt’s flag is a crime punishable by law”, leaving the type of punishment up to the concerned law. A referendum is due to be held on the draft constitution on 14 and 15 January.