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Egypt: Three New Amendments to the Penal Code Approved

(Feb. 5, 2018) On January 8, 2018, the Egyptian Parliament, under the chairmanship of the Parliament’s speaker, Dr. Ali Abd al-Aal, approved three new amendments to the Egyptian Penal Code. The first was a draft law aimed at enhancing the protection of children from sexual abuse. The draft law was submitted by the government and amends article 289 of the Code. The amendment imposes the death penalty or imprisonment for life on whoever abducts a child if the abductor commits sexual intercourse with or sexual aggression against the child. (Parliament Amends the Penal Code and Approves the Death Penalty for Sexual Aggression Against an Abducted Child, AL-YOUM AL-SABE‘ (Jan. 8, 2018) (in Arabic); Law No. 5 of 2018, Amending Some Provisions of the Penal Code art. 1, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYYAH, vol. 3 (bis) (C), 24 Jan. 2018 (in Arabic).)

Article 289 as amended reads as follows:

(289): Anyone who by himself or through others abducts a child without fraud or coercion shall be punished by not less than ten years’ imprisonment. If the abduction is accompanied by a ransom demand, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period of between fifteen and twenty years. The perpetrator of the felony of kidnapping shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if the crime is accompanied by the crime of sexual intercourse or sexual aggression against the abductee. (Id. (translation by author).)

The other two amendments adopted by the Parliament address the role and status of foreign public employees working in Egypt. (Parliament Speaker: The Amendment of the Penal Code Enhances the Standing of Egypt in Corruption-Fighting Indicators, AL-YOUM AL-SABE‘ (Jan. 8, 2018) (in Arabic).)

These amendments add the following provisions to the Code:

  • A new article 106 (bis) (B), providing that any foreign public employee or employee of a public international organization who asks for or accepts a gift or promise of one, for himself or others, for performing or abstaining from or breaching one of his international duties is committing bribery and punishable by imprisonment for life and a fine of between 500 and 1000 Egyptian pounds (about US$28–57). (Law No. 5 of 2018, art. 2.)
  • A new paragraph to article 111 that defines a foreign public employee as any person who holds by appointment or election a legislative, executive, administrative, or judicial position in a foreign country, and any person performing a public function on behalf of a foreign country. The new paragraph also defines an employee of an international organization as any international civil servant or any person acting on behalf of an international organization. (Id.)

In commenting on these amendments, the speaker of the Parliament said that they bring current Egyptian legislation in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, to which Egypt is a party, and enhance the standing of Egypt in international anticorruption indicators. (Id.; G.A. Res. 58/4, United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Dec. 9, 2003); Status As At: 02-02-2018, United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UN TREATY COLLECTION.)