İrem GÖL -TDO- The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi approved the amendments to the country’s state of emergency despite the disaffirmation of the prominent human rights groups that condemned the changes for using the public health crisis to “expand, not reform, Egypt’s abusive Emergency Law.” Amendments give additional powers to President Sisi and security agencies.

The new amendments, together with powers to suspending classes at schools and quarantining those entering the country from abroad, also expands powers to ban public and private gatherings, protests, celebrations and other forms of assembly. It allows the president to postpone taxes and utility payments as well as provide economic support for affected sectors.

According to Human Rights Watch, only five of the 18 amendments are related to public health and the new powers can be used whenever a state of emergency is declared. Egypt has been under the state of emergency since April 2017, which was extended last month for another three months by the government.

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