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Discussing drone law in Egypt: How to use legally

Mon, Oct. 7, 2019
CAIRO – 7 October 2019: With the drone, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) growing big worldwide, many countries have either passed drone laws to regulate their use, or completely banned them to fly in their skies.

Drones have numerous uses in defense and military tactical world, in addition to agriculture, filmmaking and delivery-related tasks among many others. The United States restricts the use of drones over most federal facilities or airports without permission, while determining certain heights of altitude when flying approved. Kuwait’s Parliament recently proposed a law to imprison importers, manufacturers or possessors of drones for 7 years, and to fine them KD 100,000.

In Egypt, flying a drone is technically legal if permission is obtained. Many passengers were stopped at Cairo International Airport and different navy ports across Egypt over the possession of drones, which requires high official consent for its local use. On September 24, Port Said Customs thwarted the smuggling of 161 drones supported with cameras.

In 2017, Egypt passed a law that banned the use or the trade of drones electronically or remotely controlled by ministries, local administrative units, general authorities, companies, and individuals. The law prohibits the import, manufacture, collecting, sale, possession or use of drones unless a permit is obtained from the Ministry of Defense.

According to the third article of the law, a punishment of 1 to 7 years, and a fine between LE 5,000 to 50,000, or either of the two penalties, will be imposed on those who import, manufacture, collect, trade, possess, or use the electronic or remotely-controlled drones without a permit from the competent authority, with the punishment maximized if the action was repeated, lawyer Naguib Milad explained to Egypt Today.

A life sentence will be imposed on those who commit any terror crime using the drone, and in case the crime led to the death of a person, the violator will face capital punishment in accordance with the law. The court will confiscate all the tools used in the crime, which will be delivered to the Armed Forces.

The law gives the members of the military judiciary the status of judicial police commissioners for enforcing the executive regulation of the law and its issued resolutions.

Consequently, the law makes the Ministry of Defense the sole authority responsible for licensing the use of drones, especially those which are capable of carrying explosives or weapon systems, and may punish individuals for their importing, manufacturing, assembling, handling or trading without its permission.

In his interview with Watan newspaper, Hisham Halaby, a board member at the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, said that Egypt was a pioneer in imposing the drone law, aiming to avoid the use of drones to harm the country. He added that the drones can be spotted by naked eyes or advanced radars, and can be downed or jammed in case of threat.
 
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