Friday, September 16, 2011

Egypt: Emergency law biggest threat to rights since "25 January revolution"

Amnesty International
15 September 2011

"The Egyptian military authorities’ expansion of the emergency law is the greatest erosion of human rights since the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, Amnesty International said today.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) broadened the application of the Mubarak-era emergency law early this week following clashes between demonstrators and security forces at the Israeli embassy last Friday. The confrontation resulted in three reported deaths and some 130 arrests.

Restricted in 2010 to terrorism and drug crimes, the emergency law has now reverted to its original scope, and been expanded to cover offences that include disturbing traffic, blocking roads, broadcasting rumours, possessing and trading in weapons, and “assault on freedom to work” according to official statements.

These changes are a major threat to the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and the right to strike,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We are looking at the most serious erosion of human rights in Egypt since Mubarak stepped down.”

The military authorities have essentially taken Egypt’s laws back to the bad old days. Even President Mubarak limited the scope of the emergency law to terrorism and drug offences in May last year,” said Philip Luther......"

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