Egypt to sack Muslim Brotherhood-linked civil servants

The legislation, which has been ratified and awaits presidential approval, targets “civil servants (belonging to) the Muslim Brotherhood” and other “terrorist elements” within the state apparatus.
Tuesday 13/07/2021
Egyptian MPs attend a parliamentary session in Cairo. (Reuters)
Egyptian MPs attend a parliamentary session in Cairo. (Reuters)

CAIRO – Egypt’s parliament Monday authorised the dismissal of public workers listed as government opponents and “terrorists”, after a string of deadly rail accidents blamed on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, lawmakers said.

The legislation stipulates that all public employees proven to have “failed to meet their duties, as part of a bid to harm public services or the economic interests of the state” will be sacked, according to a final version.

Being named on a list of “terrorist” elements compiled by the authorities, ranging from Islamists to liberal opponents, would be grounds for dismissal, lawmakers said.

Individuals added to the terrorism list by court orders are generally subjected to an asset freeze and a travel ban and have 60 days to appeal the decision. Public prosecutors submit requests in court to put people or groups on the list and the court decides on the matter.

Since 1972, the Dismissal Without Disciplinary Action Act has allowed the government to dismiss any public employee considered a threat to state security.

The legislation, which has been ratified and awaits presidential approval, targets “civil servants (belonging to) the Muslim Brotherhood” and other “terrorist elements” within the state apparatus.

A parliamentary committee said in a report on the legal amendments that they aim to preserve Egypt’s national security and combat corruption and were in line with a constitutional commitment for the state to fight terrorism.

In recent months, Transport Minister Kamel al-Wazir has sought to blame a series of deadly rail accidents on sabotage carried out by public sector workers belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A rail crash in the Nile Delta in April killed 23, while a collision in March in Egypt’s south killed 20, according to authorities.

Poor infrastructure and shoddy maintenance had previously been cited as the main cause of such accidents.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 and has been banned through most of Egypt’s history, apart from a brief period following the 2011 revolution.

In 2012, Egypt elected Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as the country’s president, but he was deposed following massive protests a year later and his organisation was once more designated a “terrorist” entity by the state.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the military’s takeover of the state, and became president in a 2014 election with an official 96.9 percent of the vote.

Sisi has presided over a sustained crackdown on terrorism, focusing especially on the Muslim Brotherhood, but extending also to other radical groups.

The legislation amends a 1973 law that sets out a disciplinary code detailing the grounds for dismissing public servants.

The parliamentary session on Monday also extended by three months a state of emergency that has been in place since 2017.