n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Redefining terrorism under the Mubarak regime : towards a new definition of terrorism in Egypt

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In the fight against terrorism, many states have overreacted to its threat and have adopted overbroad definitions of terrorism that forfeited fundamental rights in the name of protecting national security. Egypt, under President Mubarak's regime, was one of those states that have exceedingly abused its terrorism definition to restrain many Egyptians' fundamental rights and freedoms. The following article provides a comprehensive analysis of the Egyptian definitional approach by highlighting the various deficiencies in the Egyptian definition of terrorism. Moreover, the paper underscores the harmful implication that such ambiguous and vague a definition may pose for the legal system and emphasises how easily this definition lends itself to manipulation by unscrupulous political regimes. To provide more insight, the article compares the Egyptian definition of terrorism to a number of international law definitions and underscores the various dissimilarities between them in the light of international law norms and standards for defining terrorism. It is further claimed that there are core elements of an objective definition that can be distilled from the various international definitions in order to prevent any potential abuse of power or undue interference with fundamental rights and freedoms. The article concludes with legal recommendations derived from the analysis of international law approaches for the prospective Egyptian legislator to consider when amending the anti-terrorism law of Egypt.

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