Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar as the cabinet presented its program to the parliament. Mar. 27, 2016. Aswat Masriya
Cairo, Aug 9 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's parliament approved on Tuesday amendments that prohibit police officers from providing information related to their work, even when they are off duty, to any media outlet except by written consent.
The government had embarked on introducing amendments to law number 109/ 1971 governing the police authority.
The amendments prohibit police officers from "making any statement related to their jobs to any media outlet unless they were authorised in writing by an authority designated by the interior minister."
The prohibition includes giving out information related to topics characterised by "secrecy" without a written consent.
In addition, police officers are obliged not to provide any information regarding incidents or cases that they are working on or publish documents that concern the police.
The obligation remains even after the police officer leaves his/ her post, according to the legal amendments.
The law imposes unspecified prison terms and fines of up to EGP 20,000 ($2,252) on those who defy the prohibition.
In February, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for legal amendments to be introduced with the aim of enhancing the security's performance and ensuring accountability.
The president's call came after recurrent complaints of torture in custody and allegations of police abuse.
Human rights lawyers repeatedly warn of torture taking place inside police stations, however authorities reiterate that these are "individual cases" and that perpetrators are questioned in accordance with the law.
Police brutality was one of the triggers of the Jan. 25, 2011 uprising, sparked by protests on Police Day in Egypt aimed to draw attention to the police's use of excessive, at times fatal, force.