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

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

<p>Egypt has strengthened its already formidable anti-terrorism arsenal with a new law to counter an Islamist insurgency.</p> <p>It has prompted fears that the authorities will use the measure to crush dissent and stifle press freedom. </p> <p>Journalists face large fines if they contradict official versions of terrorist attacks.</p> <p>Suspected militants will be tried in special fast-track courts.</p> <p>The military and the police who use force will be protected from any legal consequences.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi attended his funeral.</p> <p>The murder was followed by a large-scale militant attack in the Sinai peninsula days later.</p> <p>The law has raised fears that more journalists could be put on trial for their reporting.</p> <p>A verdict in the retrial of three al-Jazeera journalists originally jailed for “defaming” the country is due at the end of August.</p> <p>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.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The newly ratified terrorism law in Egypt cripples journalism & social media with its fluid interpretations & harsh penalties! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FreePress?src=hash">#FreePress</a></p>— Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (@MFFahmy11) <a href="https://twitter.com/MFFahmy11/status/633141925923680256">August 17, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>