[JURIST] Egyptian police on Sunday arrested three people under a new anti-terrorism law for spreading Islamic State (IS) [BBC backgrounder] propaganda on Facebook [corporate website]. Police stated [AP report] that the three individuals were found with two laptops containing IS videos. The three detainees, a veterinarian and two students, have been ordered to be held in detention for 15 days pending an investigation. The videos found led prosecutors to accuse the three of embracing the jihadist ideology and attempting to distribute it among the citizens through the use of Facebook.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi [BBC profile] last week approved [JURIST report] the new 54-article counter-terrorism law, which has been met with significant controversy as many believe it to be an infringement on freedom of the press. Many have said that the law defines [AP report] “terrorism” broadly and gives free reign to law enforcement agents as to force allowed in defending against terrorism, as well as imposing harsh sentences and fines. On Wednesday Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized [JURIST report] the new law saying it infringes on freedom of the press. The HRW Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director stated in response to the issues with the new law, “[t]he government has equipped itself with even greater powers to continue stamping out its critics and opponents under its vague and ever-expanding war on terrorism.”