Egyptian political parties to announce protest law petition results

Hana Afifi , Monday 1 Jun 2015

The petition calls on the Supreme Constitutional Court to look into the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the controversial November 2013 protest law

Khaled Ali
Khaled Ali talks during a news conference at his office in Cairo May 21, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Democratic Current coalition on Tuesday is to announce the amount of signatories to a petition demanding Egypt's highest court review a controversial protest law, the Ahram Arabic news website has reported.

The protest law, issued on 24 November 2013 under former interim president Adly Mansour, mandates a minimum of three days notice to the interior ministry before holding demonstrations, and punishes anyone who fails to obtain a permit with up to three years in prison. The law also grants the interior ministry the right to ban or postpone assemblies.

The new petition calls upon the Supreme Constitutional Court to consider a lawsuit, filed in June 2014 by lawyers Khaled Ali and Tarek El-Awady, that challenges the constitutionality of the protest law.

Results of a campaign to obtain signatures for it are to be announced at the Egypt Freedom Party headquarters.

Representatives of the Karama, Popular Socialist Alliance, Popular Current, Constitution, Free Egyptians, and Justice political parties that make up the Democratic Current coalition are to attend, as are some from the Egyptian Social Democratic and Bread and Freedom parties.

The petition is part of the "No to the protest law" campaign launched in Februrary, following the killing of activist Shaimaa El-Sabbagh during a peaceful protest in downtown Cairo in January, Popular Socialist Alliance party member Wael Tawfik told Ahram Online.

"The petition calls for revoking the articles in the law that violate the constitutional right to protest," said Tawfik.

The petition's signatories include human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, who filed the June 2014 case against the protest law, National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) member George Ishak, and most leaders of the Democratic Current, such as the Popular Current's leader Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, who is also deputy head of the NCHR.

In a recent report, the semi-governmental NCHR called on the government to amend the protest law.

Thousands of protesters who did not apply for permits have been arrested since November 2013, with hundreds receiving jail sentences and fines. 

Hundreds joined a hunger strike movement in September 2014 to protest the law and to call for the release of those detained under it.

Hundreds of writers and academics in July 2014 signed a similar document, which was an open statement calling for the abrogation of the law.

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