Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Egypt: Unrestrained army powers threat to human rights

Amnesty International

"Egypt's ruling military council’s decision to grant itself unrestrained powers, ahead of the results of the presidential elections, sets the country on the path to further human rights violations, Amnesty International said.

Unless these powers are curtailed, the organization has warned, the military will be able to continue to trample on human rights with impunity.

Egypt’s Constitutional Declaration, issued in March last year, gave the army the power to rule until Egyptians elect a president and a parliament. However, on Sunday the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), amended the Declaration to give themselves control over all matters relating to the armed forces. The amendments effectively remove the army from civilian oversight.

A key amendment permits Egypt’s President to call on the army to combat “internal unrest”. If this came to pass, Egyptian law would have to specify the army’s jurisdiction, its powers of arrest and detention, and conditions where it is entitled to use force .

“It is deeply worrying that the army has paved the way for it to continue to arrest and detain civilians, as well as to use force against protesters, with no effective oversight of their actions,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The Egyptian army – with its poor human rights record – should in no circumstances have the powers of arrest, detention and investigation over civilians".

Amnesty International has documented serious human rights abuses by the Egyptian army since it took power in February 2011......."

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