CAIRO: The State Council has approved draft amendments to toughen the penalty imposed on those who attack power, natural gas or petroleum plants to reach the death penalty, according to news reports Saturday.
The amended article in the recently approved anti-terrorism draft law stipulates that those who deliberately destroy electricity, petroleum and natural gas networks or seize facilities that belong to the said services will be jailed for at least 10 years.
Life in prison is a penalty possible for thosewho use force or violence in committing the said crimes, prevent experts from fixing the damages, or caused the suspension of petroleum, electricity or natural gas supply.
The assailant might face execution if the crime resulted in death. Tools used in the crime will be seized per a court warrant, and assailants will bear the repairing expenses.
The counter-terrorism draft law was approved by the cabinet Wednesday; the same day militants launched simultaneous attacks on several North Sinai checkpoints.The cabinet said in a statement that the anti-terrorism legislation would provide “rapid and just deterrence” against terrorism, according to Reuters.
The amendments in the new law include “acceleration in court procedures of terrorism-related crimes through shrinking the litigation period, enhancing the jurisdiction of police officers and prosecutors involved in terror crimes along with facilitating access to bank accounts of suspects,” Ibrahim el-Heneidy, Transitional Justice Minister and head of the committee tasked with making the legal amendments told Youm7.
Attacks targeting electricity utilities, power transformers and transmission towers have been frequent since the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Such attacks have inflicted huge losses on the government and caused temporary blackouts in different governorates.
Natural gas pipelines have also beenargeted since the January 25 Revolution in 2011, especially the Arish gas pipeline that feeds Jordan and Israel. In May, the gas line was attacked for the thirtieth time.