Egypt is enacting authoritarian laws at a rate unmatched by any regime for 60 years, legal specialists from four institutions have told the Guardian.
Since the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Morsi’s successors in the presidency, Adly Mansour and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, have used the absence of an elected parliament to almost unilaterally issue a series of draconian decrees that severely restrict freedom of expression, association and assembly.
The speed at which the decrees have been issued outpaces legislative frenzies under the dictators Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, and is matched only by the period that followed the toppling of the Egyptian monarchy in 1952, according toAmr Shalakany, associate law professor at the American University in Cairo; Amr Abdulrahman, director of civil liberties at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights; Mohamed Elhelw, head of legal research at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms; and Ahmed Ezzat, a human rights lawyer, and previously a legal researcher at another prominent rights group.
“This is not normal,” said Shalakany. “Historically, it’s completely out of pattern with any normal legislation that we’ve had experience of in this country.” The only precedent, Shalakany said, was set by the Revolutionary Command Council of the early 1950s. “The rate is faster than even the last year of Sadat’s [tenure, 1981]; the scope is also wider.”