Curfew won't return but anti-terrorism law in progress: Cabinet

Ahram Online, Wednesday 20 Nov 2013

Cabinet spokesman says that the emergency law and accompanying curfew will not be reimposed

A man and child walk past a crater from a suicide car bomb attack on the road between the border town of Rafah and the coastal city of el-Arish, Egypt (Photo: AP)

A spokesman for the Egyptian cabinet said on Wednesday that it has no current intention to re-impose the emergency law, but that it hoped an counter-terrorism law would be issued soon.

A cabinet meeting on Thursday will discuss the attack on Wednesday on a military bus in Sinai which left 11 Egyptian soldiers dead and 37 injured. It will also discuss the assassination of Mohamed Mabrouk, a senior officer in Egypt's national security on Sunday, spokesman Hany Salah told Al-Ahram Arabic.

The curfew and the emergency law, imposed on 14 August after the violent dispersal of two Islamist pro-Morsi camps, were lifted last week.

The counter-terrorism law was drafted by the justice ministry and has been passed to the cabinet for revision before it lands on the president's desk.

At present there is no elected parliament in session and legislative powers rest with interim President Adly Mansour.

Recent attacks on soldiers and security officers sparked fears in some quarters of the return of the emergency state and a strict curfew nationwide.

Twenty Egyptian human rights organisations, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, published a joint statement early November arguing that a draft counter-terrorism bill would reinstate the "police state" in Egypt if implemented.

The statement claims that the counter-terrorism law would "serve as the legal basis for the re-establishment of the police state" which controlled the country before the January 2011 popular uprising that ousted long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Baseera, a private polling organisation, recently found a majority of 62 percent support a new terrorism bill.

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