Friday, March 12, 2010

EGYPT: U.N. Slams Abuse of Emergency Law

By William Fisher

"NEW YORK, Mar 11, 2010 (IPS) - Despite diplomatic maneuvering designed to block any review of its human rights record, a United Nations special rapporteur has told the U.N. Human Rights Council that proposed changes in Egypt's constitution "would create a permanent legal state of emergency".

The report of Martin Scheinin, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, said Egypt's Emergency Law is often applied in situations where there is no link to terrorist activities, such as the frequent arbitrary detention of political activists and bloggers and the repeated use of military courts and state security courts in politically motivated cases.

The special rapporteur also emphasised that, when combined with the pending counter-terrorism law, Article 179 of the Egyptian Constitution as amended in March 2007 would create a permanent legal state of emergency....."

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