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Egypt to 'relax' state of emergency

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posted on May, 11 2010 @ 02:47 PM
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The Egyptian government is to relax the state of emergency, which restricts constitutional protections and grants police extensive powers, after 29 years of continous implementation.

The legal restrictions set out in the law will still, however, apply for suspected cases of terrorism and drug trafficking.

"The emergency law will not be used to undermine freedoms or infringe upon rights if these two threats are not involved," said Ahmed Nazif, the Egyptian prime minister, in a speech.

Al Jazeera's Amr el-Kahky, reporting from Cairo, said that the changes to the emergency law were "significant indeed".

"The opposition, during telephone calls with me earlier, described it as half a step towards democracy," he said.

"The law has been in place continuously since 1967 apart from 18 months between 1980 and 1981, which means the country has been living under the emergency law for a very, very long time."

Egypt's state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Tuesday that the proposed changes to the law would prohibit using it to censor newspapers and other publications.

Law renewed

Parliament had been expected to completely renew the law, which was scheduled to expire this year, but instead is now only to extend the terrorism and drug trafficking provisions for another two years.

The state of emergency has previously been renewed every three years since 1981.

Demonstrators had planned to hold a protest outside the Egyptian parliament on Tuesday. A number of protesters were injured after a similar rally in downtown Cairo earlier this month.

Opposition parties, including the National Association for Change of former UN atomic energy agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, have demanded an end to the emergency law in the run-up to parliamentary elections this year and a presidential vote in 2011.

The emergency law has been in place continuously since Anwar Sadat, the former Egyptian president, was assassinated in October 1981.

Changes promised

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has promised repeatedly to overturn the law.

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I read this and think "I'm glad I don't live in Egypt" but then think about where I live and imagine it can't be that much worse. Hoping for the best.




posted on May, 11 2010 @ 03:04 PM
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