Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Egypt: Deeply Restrictive New Assembly Law

Will Enable Further Crackdown, Stifle Electoral Campaigning

Human Rights Watch

"(New York) – Egypt’s new law on public assembly will restrict peaceful political demonstrations in violation of international standards. The law was issued by the interim president, Adly Mansour, on November 24, 2013. It effectively grants security officials discretion to ban any protest on very vague grounds, allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest if even a single protester throws a stone, and sets heavy prison sentences for vague offenses such as attempting to “influence the course of justice.”

The law also gives the Interior Ministry the right to ban any meeting “of a public nature” of more than 10 people in a public place, including meetings related to electoral campaigning. The law includes no exceptions for smaller demonstrations that would not cause disruption, or for urgent and spontaneous demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said.

“This new Egyptian government’s first major legislative act clearly shows that its goal is to sharply restrict peaceful assembly and to let security shut down protests at will,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. ”This law will reverse the freedom to demonstrate that Egyptians seized in January 2011, and risks putting that freedom, which brought about momentous change, into reverse.”......"

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