Emergency-free Egypt

An administrative court ordered the end of the state of emergency on Tuesday, despite earlier statements by the Cabinet that it was due to end on Thursday. 

Emergency Law and a widespread nightly curfew were brought into effect on August 14 through decree by Interim President Adly Mansour, following the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins demanding the reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

An extension of the August 14 state of emergency without a public approval through a referendum would have been a violation of the July 8 Constitutional Declaration that limits the state of emergency to three months, only renewable upon a referendum. 

The state of emergency has been used as one of the bases of the sweeping security crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and others for the last three months. 

Sherif Shawy, a media spokesman for the Cabinet, was quoted by the state-run Al-Ahram portal as sayingthat the Cabinet is committed to implementing the court’s ruling. 

Meanwhile, a presidential source told Al-Ahram that there is no relation between the submitting of an amended protests law to the president today and the end of Emergency Law. The amended draft followed increasing conflicts about its content from different parties and some have already claimed that its hasty submission today is associated with the need to end Emergency Law.  

Ihab Badawy, the spokesperson for the presidency, was also quoted as saying that the government is keen on passing the protest law regardless of the state of emergency. 

Emergency Law paved the way for a contentious political condition for decades in Egypt, allowing for what many critics call human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions. Moreover, the associated three-month-long curfew has been slammed for limiting movement and thus economic activity. 

Emergency Law, implemented after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, was lifted for the first time in early 2012, only to be reinstated in 2013. 

The constitutional amendments currently being decided upon by a 50-member committee stipulate that the president can only declare a state of emergency following consultation with the Cabinet, and that it has to be accepted by a parliamentary majority and limited to three months. 

 

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