Decree in Egypt Effectively Reinstates Emergency Law
Freedom House denounces today’s decision by the Egyptian Minster of Justice to issue a decree, effective June 14, giving military intelligence and officers the power to arrest civilians until a new constitution is in place.
“This decree is a major step backward as it technically reverses the public prosecutor’s decision to end the State of Emergency as of May 31,” said Charles Dunne, director of Middle East and North Africa programs at Freedom House. “It effectively gives military intelligence and armed forces officers the authority to ‘arrest and search’ civilians without valid cause.”
The decree expands the type of infractions that justify such arrests to include speech, publications and broadcasts the military finds offensive. In addition, it gives military and intelligence officers the right to arrest anyone involved in a strike, as well as anyone who encourages or disseminated information about them.
“Because the decree was not passed by either house of parliament, it is not only an obvious violation of civic freedoms in such a critical phase of Egypt's transition to democracy, but also a breach of the rule of law,” continued Dunne. “Freedom House demands the immediate cancellation of the decree and calls on the Egyptian military to leave the prosecution of justice to civilian courts.”
Since the revolution, the Egyptian military has arrested more than 12,000 civilians charged with political crimes and remanded them to military courts. Suspects who are tried in military courts are not afforded basic due process, including the right to appeal.
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012.
Learn more about Egypt:
Freedom on the Net 2011: Egypt
Blog: Freedom At Issue
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