Cautious welcome for anti-terror laws

Egypt’s Catholic Church has welcomed new anti-terrorism laws, but urged the country’s government against violating personal freedoms.

“Recent bomb attacks have shown terrorism is a major problem here, so we really need strong laws to help the police and Interior Ministry combat it,” according to Fr Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, patriarchal vicar of the Coptic Catholic Church, adding that “such laws must be applied in ways that protect personal freedoms”. 

Human rights groups have criticised the laws, with Amnesty International warning they could expand the use of emergency powers and restrict freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

A careful reading of the laws, however, suggest “responsible media” would not be restricted, according to Fr Kiroulos.