Egypt activists condemn revival of emergency law

Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:57pm GMT

By Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian activists and politicians accused the ruling military leaders of breaking a promise to end emergency law, after authorities said they would reintroduce special security courts following an attack on the Israeli embassy.

Eight months after protesters toppled President Hosni Mubarak and the military took power on an interim basis, many supporters of the protest movement say they are concerned that the military rulers are backsliding on reform pledges.

Ending emergency law, seen as a tool of Mubarak's repression, has long been a key demand.

Israel pulled its ambassador out of Egypt after protesters stormed the building housing Israel's embassy on Friday night.

Egypt's military rulers said they would try suspects in emergency state security courts. Emergency law would now apply in cases such as blocking of roads, publishing false information and weapons possession, they said.

The measures add to a list of developments that activists say worry them, including the banning of cameras from important trials including that of Mubarak himself, and the army's failure so far to set a firm date for a parliamentary election.

"The new procedure violate the constitutional decree that the military council issued after Mubarak, in which it pledged to end the state of emergency within six months and said a public referendum had to take place for it to be extended," Mohamed Adel, leader of the April 6 youth group, told Reuters.

"Egyptian law has many rules against thugs and terrorism, so I still don't see a reason to extend emergency law," he added.   Continued...

An Egyptian army soldier sits on his vehicle beside an Egyptian flag outside the police academy where the trial of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak will take place in Cairo September 11, 2011.  REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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