[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced national security officers Omar Mahmoud and Mohamed el-Anwar for beating lawyer Karim Hamdi to death in Cairo last February. The court’s decision is part of a series of cases seeking to end police brutality in the state. The conviction also comes after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi [BBC profile] vowed [AP report] to crackdown on police brutality following the deaths of several inmates.
Egypt has faced repeated criticism for human rights violations. In August el-Sisi approved [JURIST report] a 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. Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] the new law saying it infringes on freedom of the press. HRW’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director said, “[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.”