New York-based Human Rights Watch says Egypt's sweeping new counterterrorism law erodes basic rights and defines terrorism so broadly that it could encompass civil disobedience.

In a Wednesday report, the group says that the law, passed by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi last weekend, gives prosecutors greater power to detain suspects without judicial review and order wide-ranging and potentially indefinite surveillance of terror suspects without a court order.

Nadim Houry, the watchdog's deputy Middle East and North Africa director, says the new decree is a big step toward enshrining a permanent state of emergency law, adding that the government has equipped itself with even greater powers to continue stamping out its critics and opponents under a vague and ever-expanding war on terrorism.