In July 2022, the Egyptian House of Representatives reviewed two new draft laws that would criminalize the act of forced marriage of a minor and the practice of black magic.
Draft Law on Underage Marriage
On July 17, 2022, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives determined a penalty, under a draft law, for the act of forced marriage of a minor. Amira al-Adly, a member of the House of Representatives, sponsored the draft law, declaring that penalizing the forced marriage of a minor is a step in the process of combating the phenomenon of underage marriage and that underage marriage has a negative impact on the stability of the Egyptian family.
The draft law stipulates that whoever used force or threats, offered a gift or advantage of any kind, or promised something to entice a minor to marry would be punishable by a term of imprisonment with hard labor. Al-Adly also stated that the same penalty would apply to any person who participated in facilitating the marriage of a minor by submitting false medical certificates, forged identification, or false information to the marriage officiator. Al-Adly also stressed that the draft law, if passed, would be applied to both genders.
According to news reports, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has discussed the draft law with the Ministry of Justice, the National Council for Children and Motherhood, and the National Council for Women.
Draft Law on Combating the Practice of Black Magic
On July 15, 2022, the House of Representatives decided to introduce a new amendment to Law No. 58 of 1937 on the Penal Code. The new amendment aims at imposing criminal penalties against persons practicing witchcraft and sorcery as well as individuals who seek the services offered by those persons.
In discussing the draft law, House Representative Doaa Oreibi stated that the Egyptian Penal Code does not directly criminalize witchcraft and sorcery but that their practice is a clear violation of Islamic law. Oreibi indicated that the new draft law had been proposed to deter such practices.The proposed draft law stipulates that any person who committed or resorted to witchcraft and sorcery, whether in return for material compensation or no compensation, would be punishable by a term of imprisonment and a fine of no less than 20,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$900). Additionally, the same criminal penalties would apply to individuals seeking the services of persons practicing witchcraft and sorcery.