Egyptian human rights committee condemns revival of emergency law

Ahram Online, Monday 12 Sep 2011

A human rights committee affiliated with the Lawyers' syndicate has deplored the government's response to Friday's attacks on the Israeli and Saudi embassies, warning of a slide back into Mubarak era abuses

The General Committee for Human Rights (GCHR), an affiliate of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, has denounced the authority’s recent reactions to Friday’s controversial attacks on the Israeli and Saudi embassies as well as the Giza security headquarters, pointing especially to the reactivation of the contentious emergency law.

The Israeli embassy protest was one of the focal struggles on Egypt’s “Friday of correcting the path” which took a serious turn when a group of protesters broke into the apartment building housing the embassy and threw scores of documents from the window.

Demonstrators gathered in the streets, trying to collect the flying papers, some of which are reported to contain sensitive information, before central security forces bombarded them with tear gas.

Later on, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s cabinet reactivated the emergency law that had been suspended in the wake of the 18-day uprising.

The GCHR said re-activating the emergency law constitutes a step back on the road to progress spurred on by the events of 25 January.

The committee also lamented the decision to hold exceptional trials, arguing Egypt would thus slide back into the draconian order which stifled the country for several decades.

“No for retreating from freedom and for the return of the loathsome emergency law,” reads a statement distributed by the committee.

The emergency law was frequently criticised during the tenure of toppled president Hosni Mubarak because it gave unfettered authorities to the police.

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