Parliament rejects harsher penalties for torture

Parliament’s legislative committee rejected a proposal Monday to augment legal penalties in cases related to torture, bribery and house searches without warrant.

Muslim Brotherhood MP Hussein Ibrahim had earlier proposed the amendment of Article 126 of the Egyptian Penal Code, which slaps "anyone found torturing a suspect" with between three and ten years in prison.

Ibrahim had suggested changing the article so as to allow the judiciary to issue life sentences on "anyone found ordering the torture of a suspect or detainee, carrying out torture, inciting it, agreeing to it or turning a blind eye to it."

"I first proposed this amendment four years ago, but the government kept stalling it," said Ibrahim.

Committee undersecretary Ibrahim el-Gogari said he had "never even heard" of police torture, for which he was roundly criticized by both majority and opposition MPs.

Committee chief Amal Othman, for her part, said that the article already "assumes the existence of torture and penalizes it."

The committee also rejected a proposal by MP Hussein Ibrahim for the amendment of Article 128 to allow the imprisonment of any public official found searching a person or property without a formal warrant.

The committee further rejected a proposal by MP Mohamed Queita for the deletion of a paragraph in Article 108 that acquits individuals found paying bribes–or found mediating bribes–if they report the crime to authorities.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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