Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google Glass sale a test of consumer interest

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to the future

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as Kiev evicts separatists

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' redeploys for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

Africa

Egypt court overturns military right to arrest civilians

©

Video by Winnie Andrews

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-26

An Egyptian court on Tuesday overturned a controversial decree issued by the country’s interim military rulers granting the army the power to arrest civilians. Activists had criticised the decree as an attempt to revive an expired emergency law.

REUTERS - An Egyptian court on Tuesday overturned a government decree allowing the army to arrest civilians, a setback for military rulers preparing to hand power to an elected president.

The army-backed interim government issued the decree days before a tense presidential run-off vote on June 16-17 to give soldiers the power to detain people during street disturbances.

But rights groups and politicians challenged the decision, accusing the military of reviving emergency powers that stymied opposition to Hosni Mubarak until a popular uprising ended his three-decade rule in February last year.

On Tuesday, a court agreed with them.

“The court declares in its ruling that the Minister of Justice raped the authority bestowed by the constitution by issuing a decision to give members of the military police and military intelligence powers of arrest,” a document from the Cairo court explaining Judge Ali Fikry’s ruling read.

The Justice Ministry has the right to appeal the administrative court’s ruling, which is effective immediately.

The original decree restored the military’s mandate to enforce law and order before a new constitution is written - a process expected to last well beyond the July 1 date by which the ruling military council is due to hand power to president-elect Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The army has already curbed Mursi’s power by dismissing parliament and assuming greater control over the drafting of the new constitution. His authority remains subject to back-room negotiations with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

“This ruling not only adheres to the constitution,” said Gamal Eid, a lawyer and rights activist. “It chimes with the current political climate because many people feel the military council is trying to suppress the civil direction in which the state is supposed to be heading.”

The Mubarak-era state of emergency was ostensibly invoked to deal with terrorism and drug offences, but gave the security forces sweeping powers of search and arrest, leaving citizens with little protection from police who chose to abuse that mandate.

The military generals who took power when Mubarak stepped aside vowed to scrap the emergency law but then kept it in place for most of their rule, using it to arrest thousands of civilians and subject them to military trials.

During Mubarak’s time, the law was used repeatedly to arrest members of the Brotherhood, his long-time adversary.

One of those was Mursi, who triumphed over Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafik in this month’s run-off vote, sealing the Islamist movement’s dramatic rise from political isolation to the heart of power.

 

Date created : 2012-06-26

  • EGYPT

    Egypt’s President-elect Morsi keen to renew Iran ties

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's new leader, from prisoner to president

    Read more

  • IN IMAGES

    Egyptian voters react to presidential results

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)