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Morsi legislation 'fascistic', says pro-democracy group

Protest called for Wednesday against proposed public order legislation which activists claim is more restrictive than Mubarak-era Emergency Law

Ahram Online, Wednesday 17 Oct 2012
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Hundreds of Egyptian anti-riot soldiers line up to secure the presidential palace in Cairo (Photo: AP)
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A pro-democracy group has called for protests against draft public order legislation which they claim is more draconian than the Mubarak-era Emergency Law.

President Mohamed Morsi said the law was needed to protect the gains of the revolution and to ensure justice for its dead and injured.

The law would put an end to "thuggery" against individuals and public premises, he added.

The National Front for Justice and Democracy (NFJD) has called for a protest against the law at 18:30 on Wednesday at Talaat Harb Square in Cairo.

The NFJD was formed after the January 25 Revolution to promote democracy and social justice.

The draft law contains nine articles granting the interior ministry significant powers to combat "dangerous criminals."

"This law will create a permanent fascist system," an NFJD statement said on Wednesday, adding that it was more oppressive than the Mubarak-era Emergency Law because it allowed for the defendant to remain in jail while their appeal is being heard. Under the Emergency Law the defendant was released while their appeal was heard.

The law's first article allows the authorities to place suspected criminals under house arrest for up to 30 days, prohibit them from visiting certain locations, put them under police surveillance and oblige them to perform community service.

The law would be applied against anyone showing intent to use violence against individuals or establishments or threatening to do so, and against anyone who endangers public security or stability or threatens the material wellbeing of the citizenry.

The law's second article defines as criminal anyone who frequently commits crimes including assault; kidnapping; bribery; money laundering; trading in arms, explosives or narcotics; vandalism; disrupting traffic; prostitution; violating the right to work; thuggery and other crimes.

Similar laws were suggested by police during the military council's reign but were not enacted, the NFJD claimed.

"Now it seems Morsi wants to go one better than the [military council] and Mubarak, neither of whom dared to implement such an oppressive law," added the statement.

The Popular Socialist Alliance has described the proposed law as an attempt to reinforce the oppressive security regime that Egyptians had long suffered under.

Earlier in September, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) said the bill "violates the rights and freedoms that represent the basis of the January 25 Revolution, thanks to the powers granted to police personnel."

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