Parliamentary committee approves legislation to toughen sentences for torture crimes

A parliamentary committee recently finalized legal amendments that would impose harsher sentences for torture, State-run MENA news service reported on Monday.

MP Gamal Hishmat of the Freedom and Justice Party proposed the law, which seeks to amend some articles of the penal code for crimes of torture. The draft law would increase punishment for torture to five years of prison, instead of the current three.

Parliament’s Proposals and Complaints Committee approved the draft law and forwarded it to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee.

The proposal states that every public official or employee found guilty of committing, ordering, or failing to stop an act of torture would be sentenced to five years of imprisonment.

It also stipulates that if the victim dies during torture, the defendant would be removed from his or her post and would face murder charges. Hishmat defined torture as any intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, on a person in order to obtain information or a confession.

According to the draft law, any public official or employee found guilty of abusing people in a way that insults their dignity or causes them physical pain would be imprisoned for at least one year, as opposed to current sentencing laws which stipulate imprisonment for a maximum of one year, or a fine not to exceed LE200.

Hishmat also proposed amending Article 280 of the penal code to stipulate that whoever arrests, imprisons or detains a person when he or she is not authorized by the law would be imprisoned for a minimum of six months. The current punishment for this crime is imprisonment or a fine of maximum LE200.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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