President Morsi considering new emergency laws: Justice Minister

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 Aug 2012

New emergency laws to combat 'thuggery' being considered by Egypt's President Morsi, says Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki

Mohamed Morsi
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)


President Mohamed Morsi is considering new emergency laws to combat thuggery, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki has told MENA, the state news agency.

The president has the right to impose an emergency law against thugs, Mekki had earlier told Al-Gareeda newspaper, and such measures would be popular.

The emergency law will be discussed with rights activists and civil society organisations, he added.

Such a law could allow the president to impose a state of emergency for one week and allow law enforcement officers to arrest those who threaten public safety, Mekki said.

The law would not be used to stifle freedom of expression like the Mubarak-era emergency law, he said.

In addition, negotiations are taking place between the government and media representatives about new media laws, which would impose administrative and financial punishments on journalists and newspapers as an alternative to jail terms.

Journalists have recently condemned what they describe as attacks on freedom of expression. Tawfiq Okasha, talk show host and head of the Fareen satellite channel, was convicted of inciting violence against the president in early August and his channel was forcibly closed down.

Moreover, editors-in-chief at state-owned newspapers were replaced in a major reshuffle in early August. A number of their replacements were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group of which President Morsi was a prominent figure before his election.

Emergency laws were in place throughout the 30-year reign of former president Hosni Mubarak. Abolishing such laws was among the key demands of the January 2011 uprising. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) cancelled the laws during its period of rule.

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