Human rights activist withdraws from constituent assembly

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Sep 2012

Manal El-Tibi withdraws from Egypt's constitution-drafting body after claiming 'ideological intimidation' from Islamist members during discussions

Human rights activist Manal El-Tibi on Monday announced her withdrawal from Egypt's constitution-drafting assembly due to alleged intimidation by Islamist members. 

She explained that as deputy head of the assembly's freedoms and rights committee, she had proposed several articles for inclusion in the new constitution but they had been rejected, sometimes angrily, by Islamist members of the committee.

The beleaguered constituent assembly has already suffered a number of withdrawals since 11 June, when the 'Egyptian Bloc' parties – including the Free Egyptians, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the leftist Tagammu Party – initiated a walk-out, followed by the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Democratic Front Party, to allow greater representation for women, young people and Coptic Christians, while also registering their objection to "Islamist monopolisation" of the assembly.

Meanwhile, the troubled assembly still faces the risk of dissolution by court order in October on grounds that it was drawn up by the People's Assembly, the since-dissolved lower house of Egypt's parliament.

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