The administrative court approved the referral of a case questioning the constitutionality of two articles in the Protest Law on Tuesday. The contentious law was passed last November by former President Adly Mansour and the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).
Mansour, now back to his old position as head of the SCC, will have to recuse himself from the board overseeing the case due to his involvement in the passing of the law.
The court case, filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the center to support the state of law, argues that articles 8 and 10 of the law conflict with article 73 of the constitution, which states that “Citizens have the right to organize public meetings, processions and demonstrations, and all forms of peaceful protests, provided they do not carry weapons of any type, and upon notification as regulated by the law.”
The first of the contested articles states that a written notification must be presented to a police station three days prior to any scheduled protest or assembly. Article 10 gives the Ministry of Interior the right to prohibit a protest using vague and subjective criteria, stating that if the ministry “receives serious intelligence or evidence of a threat to national security,” it can issue a decision to ban the protest.
The lawsuit also accuses former President Adly Mansour, his Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior, the Cairo Governor and the Hadayek al-Kobba Police Station of rejecting a request to hold a protest that was presented to the police station.
Hundreds are currently on trial or have been sentenced to prison on accusations of violating this law since November. The ECESR said that the case is part of civil society’s efforts to fight the “organized campaign by the July 3 regime to stifle public space and reverse the gains of the people.”
On Tuesday, several political parties, including the Dostour Party, the Karama Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party issued a statement demanding he modification of the protest law and the release of political prisoners. The statement condemns what it calls the daily verdicts issued against political activists, and demands the modification of the law used to oppress them, which it deems “atrocious and unconstitutional.”
Younes Makhyoun, the head of the Salafi Nour Party, which is supportive of the current regime, demanded on his Facebook page on Monday that the law be repealed, saying that the penal code is enough to punish those who violate peacefulness.
Makhyoun also demanded the release of those who were not implicated in violence, saying that this move could help decrease the gap between different factions and help dissipate public anger.