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Egypt passes bill shielding military officers from prosecution

Bill could make senior officers immune from future prosecution tied to the violence after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt's parliament has passed a bill that could make senior military officers immune from future prosecution tied to the violence which followed the 2013 ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi.

The bill - which was passed on Monday - grants President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the right to name officers who are eligible for rewards that include ministerial benefits and immunity from investigation for any offences committed from July 3, 2013 until June 8, 2014, the period from Morsi's overthrow to Sisi's first day as president.

At least 800 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed when security forces broke up a sit-in at Cairo's Rabaa Square in support of Morsi in August 2013, in one of the bloodiest events in Egypt's recent history.

The bill passage comes a day after parliament also backed a draft bill that grants foreigners citizenship if they deposit the sum of at least 7 million Egyptian pounds, or about $391,000, in a local bank, save it there for five years and reside in the country during that period.

The draft bill still faces another parliament session and final approval by the president before it can become a law.

It has set off a storm of criticism by some members of parliament.

Lawmaker Haitham el-Hariri accused the government of "selling Egyptian citizenship" when instead it should be "facilitating residency and visa procedures" for investors.

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