Egyptian parliament on Monday approved legal amendments expanding the government’s ability to sack civil servants with suspected links to terrorist groups without prior disciplinary action.
A parliamentary source said the move was described by state media as a major step in a campaign to purify government bodies of members of the Muslim Brotherhood which Egypt classifies as a terrorist group.
The legal amendments are to allow the government to immediately fire any employee whose name appears on its terrorism list.
This includes suspects who are still under investigation or on trial as well as those convicted in terrorism cases.
The list includes some liberal and leftist activists, and also individuals who are on to the terrorism list by court orders.
They are generally subjected to an asset freeze and a travel ban but have 60 days to appeal the decision.
Public prosecutors submit requests in court to put people or groups on the list and the court decides on the matter.
Since 1972, the dismissal without disciplinary action act has allowed the government to dismiss any public employee considered a threat to state security.
The amendments classify presence on the terrorist list as serious evidence of such a threat, while also allowing dismissed employees to appeal before administrative courts.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has overseen a broad crackdown on Islamist and liberal political opponents since leading the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi as army chief in 2013.
A parliamentary committee said in a report on the legal amendments that they aim to preserve Egypt’s national security and combat corruption.
According to the committee, the amendment is in line with a constitutional committee for the state to fight terrorism.
Many Egyptians welcomed the amendments on social media while others expressed concerns that the state could target any employee who is not pro-government regardless of any affiliation to Islamist groups.
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