A controversial bill has cleared the Egyptian parliament, granting immunity from prosecution to the senior military officers who may have had a role in a deadly crackdown that followed ex-president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.
The draft legislation was approved after being put to a show of hands at the 596-seat parliament on Monday. Only eight lawmakers opposed it.
MP Haitham al-Hariri said the legislation exempted the officers for any action they might have carried out from July 2013 to June 2014 — a period of sustained and deadly crackdown on Morsi’s supporters.
Morsi, Egypt’s first-ever democratically-elected president, was toppled in a coup led by the then-army head and current President Abdel Fattal al-Sisi on July 3, 2013.
Only a month later, the country witnessed a crackdown on a pro-Morsi gathering in the capital, Cairo, during which around 700 people were killed just in a matter of hours.
Hundreds more were killed in street clashes that took place in the months that followed.
The top officers involved in that crackdown were not named.
Hariri criticized the law, saying, “Why should they (the officers) need immunity if they did not commit any wrongdoing?”
Sisi will now have to sign off on the bill for it to become law.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces should be the one to take decisions concerning the military. It is not logical for one person to take these decisions,” Hariri said, apparently referring to Sisi.
At least 40,000 people were also arrested over the course of the first year that followed Morsi’s ouster. Hundreds of the arrestees have been sentenced to death, including Morsi himself.