Saturday, July 08, 2006

Amnesty International statement on new anti-terrorism law

Amnesty International issued a statement yesterday on the new anti-terrrorism law which will replace the emergency laws, in place since time immemorial. In the final hours of April, the parliament rushed trough the decision to extend the emergency laws for an additional two years, pending the new anti-terrorism law expected to come into force in 2008.

Here is a part of the statement:

¨Amnesty International today called on the Egyptian government to ensure that a new law on terrorism currently being drafted does not entrench powers that have facilitated torture, unfair trials and other grave human rights violations under Egypt’s long running state of emergency.

The organization sent a memorandum to President Hosni Mubarak highlighting its concerns about secret detentions and enforced "disappearances", torture and ill-treatment of detainees, unfair trials before special and military courts, the death penalty, and the impunity accorded to state officials responsible for perpetrating torture and other human rights violations. The organization said that these violations have been committed under powers conferred on state officials under the state of emergency, which has been continuously in force since 1981. It was most recently renewed in April 2006 for a period of two years or until the new anti-terror law is in place.¨

President Mubarak made the ending of the emergency laws, part of his presidential campaign platform in 2005, something he later renegaded on, claiming that a new anti-terrorism law needed to safeguard the security ofthe Egyptian people and state in a satisfactory manner, which needed more time.

We are quite convinced that this will be the case, the interesting question is why the anti-terror legislation from 1992, is not enough to protect Egyptians from terror or drug dealers. On second thought, the answer was perhaps given when the Amn ad Dawla needed a week to prove how the limited use of the emergency laws was going to be implemented.

You can find the complete AI statement here.

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