Egypt army officers granted arrest powers until 15 December

Zeinab El Gundy , Sunday 9 Dec 2012

President Morsi issues law granting army officers authority to arrest civilians; Law to expire on 15 December following Egypt's scheduled constitutional poll

Military
Egyptian army officers arrest a suspected demonstrators (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has issued a law granting army officers the authority to make arrests, according to what was published in Egypt's official state gazette on Sunday.

Law 107 of 2012 gives army officers the authority to make arrests from the day of issuance until 15 December 2012, the date scheduled for Egypt's controversial constitutional referendum. The law gives army officers the right to arrest civilians with a view to "maintaining public order."

Giving military officers arrest powers was initially suggested by Egypt's then-ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in 2011, but political forces – including the Muslim brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, along with human rights activists – opposed the move. 

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