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Rights Activists Voice Concern Over Anti-Terrorism in Egypt
A number of human rights activists expressed their worries about amending some freedom articles in the Egyptian constitution in order to issue an anti-terrorism law. They warned of predictions that a complete judicial anti-terrorism system may be established to replace the emergency law which has been enacted for 25 years in the country. In the seminar held by Cairo Center for Human Rig
Saturday, January 27,2007 00:00
by Amr Magdi, Aljazeera

A number of human rights activists expressed their worries about amending some freedom articles in the Egyptian constitution in order to issue an anti-terrorism law. They warned of predictions that a complete judicial anti-terrorism system may be established to replace the emergency law which has been enacted for 25 years in the country.

In the seminar held by Cairo Center for Human Right Studies on Wednesday evening under the title "Anti-Terrorism Constitution Amendments: Aggression on Human Rights or Reinforcement of citizenship?", the centre manager, Bahiyuddin Hassan saw that removing article 179 of the socialist prosecutor and putting a new anti-terrorism article instead may undermine the constitutional articles 41, 44 and 45 which are related to rights and freedoms.

A complete system

For his part, Diaa Rashwan, an expert in Al-Ahram Center for political and strategic studies, said that president Mubarak’s message indicate that " this won’t be restricted to issuing an anti-terrorism law, but it it refers to something more serious than this, to establish a complete judicial institution to replace the Socialist Prosecutor-General".

 

He cited a part of the president’s message on the amendments, in which he said" Establishing a legal system concerned with anti-terrorism and eradicating its resources requires a constitutional protection for the measures required in this system".

Rashwan commented that the president is speaking about "a system" not about " a law " and he reiterated the word twice.
He confirmed to Aljazeera.net that the main target is establishing a permanent emergency system to confront any challenges that may face the regime at the political or security levels which may be interpreted as related to terrorism.
He also criticized his saying " eradicating its resources", considering that it is already enacted in law No. 97 of the year 1992 and that it was introduced into the penal code and is expected to be moved to the anti-terrorism law.
He downplayed the officials confirmations that the law will not violate freedoms, saying " These wordings are not related to terrorism; the current laws already disagrees with these confirmation; the definition of terrorism and its measures are being generalized to include nearly all people in the society".
He rejected attributing this to imitating Western countries that issued ant-terrorism legislations, pointing out that these countries did not amend their constitutions to fight terrorism; Egypt will be the only country to do this, and even establish a complete system for fighting it.

Guarantees required

As for the human rights activist, Ehab Salam, he pointed out that an anti-terrorism law shouldn’t be discussed without studying 25 years a practical exercise of the emergency law, and the consequences on the ground due to enacting this law because of giving wide powers to the executive authority in its articles 3 and 6.

 

He stressed that the text must contain clear guarantees for freedom of citizens, and deterrent sanctions in case these guarantees were violated against detainees.
He rejected what he called attempting to "create a constitutional shield" so that the anti-terrorism law can’t be challenged as being unconstitutional, considering that the core is the spirit of the constitution " because there international constants and charters and clear concepts".

Constitutional state of the police

"The Egyptian legal system does not need a new ant-terrorism law", confirmed Lawyer Sobhi Saleh, a Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarian, pointing out that "the Egyptian law is full of an arsenal of basic and emergency, tangled and repeated legislations that tackle the phenomenon of terrorism".
He said the new amendments" is a prelude for forming a new political regime that can be called the constitutional police state; the core of this system is giving a priority to the police side over rights, justice and citizenship".

He saw that the crisis is political, not legal" and that every thing happening are the disease symptoms, and that these methods are adopted by a ramshackle regime", confirming that what is required is bringing close viewpoints in confronting it and "our undefeated weapon is the strong public opinion, and the historic moment is certainly coming".


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