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Egypt’s 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.
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.
According to Reuters, the legal amendments allow the government to immediately fire any employee whose name appears on its terrorism list. This includes suspects still under investigation or on trial as well as those convicted in terrorism cases.
The list includes some liberal and leftist activists.
Individuals added to the terrorism list by court orders are generally subjected to an asset freeze and a travel ban and 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.
A parliamentary committee said in a report on the legal amendments that they aim to preserve Egypt’s national security and combat corruption, and were in line with a constitutional commitment 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.