Fears for press freedom as Egypt's al-Sisi hardens anti-terror laws

Fears for press freedom as Egypt's al-Sisi hardens anti-terror laws
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Egypt has strengthened its already formidable anti-terrorism arsenal with a new law to counter an Islamist insurgency.

It has prompted fears that the authorities will use the measure to crush dissent and stifle press freedom.

Journalists face large fines if they contradict official versions of terrorist attacks.

Suspected militants will be tried in special fast-track courts.

The military and the police who use force will be protected from any legal consequences.

The measure brought in by presidential decree was sped up after the state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was assassinated by a car bomb in late June.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi attended his funeral.

The murder was followed by a large-scale militant attack in the Sinai peninsula days later.

The law has raised fears that more journalists could be put on trial for their reporting.

A verdict in the retrial of three al-Jazeera journalists originally jailed for “defaming” the country is due at the end of August.

An appeals court ordered the retrial, saying the verdict lacked evidence. Australian Peter Greste was deported, while his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed were freed on bail.

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