CAIRO: The liberal Al Wafd opposition party has announced plans to draft a parallel anti- terrorism law.
The draft is a response to government legislation currently being drafted by a special committee led by Mufid Shehab, the state minister for legislative affairs. The law is slated for review and discussion during the next parliamentary session.
Essam Sheha, lawyer and member of Al Wafd’s supreme committee told Daily News Egypt that since there is a penal code, the party does not believe there is a need for an anti- terrorism law to replace the state of emergency to which Egyptians have been subjected for more than 25 years.
But, he added, Al Wafd has decided to prepare the draft to counter the ruling National Democratic Party’s proposal.
Sheha, who coordinates the team preparing Al Wafd s draft law, said that their version will refer to the United Nation s law for confronting terrorism, the former Egyptian penal law as well as the British, German and Italian anti- terrorism laws.
The idea of drafting an anti-terrorism law was rejected by opposition parties and groups ever since it was added to the constitution last March. Pundits were skeptical because the new law would supersede three articles in the constitution protecting personal freedoms.
Nabil Abdel-Fatah, analyst at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Daily News Egypt that Al Wafd’s draft law is a positive initiative.
It is time for opposition political parties to participate practically in legislation through draft laws to be debated in public and political circles. This is an effective step as it presents alternatives to the government s proposal, Abdel-Fatah said, adding that the NDP will try its best to rush the law through parliament in the coming session.
Denouncing the NDP’s draft, which will restrict freedoms and increase the state s authority, must not only be verbal. It must be through parallel movements propagating clear alternatives to confront the government through all political means, he said.