The state of emergency is more serious than terrorism !

May 28th, 2008 by Editor

To the Prime Minister:

 

The state of emergency is more serious than terrorism !Written By Mr. Hafez Abu Seada

 

Secretary-General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

  

 Dr. Ahmed Nazif, the Prime Minister ,declared the extension of emergency again in his speech to the Parliament .He attributed mainly the extension of emergency to the incompletion of preparing Anti-Terrorism Bill before 31 /5/2008 and there is no need to rush on issuing the bill in order not to be legally defective !!. He indicated in his words that we have not tended to end our state of emergency and satisfied with penal and procedural laws to fight the phenomena of terrorism because we were not willing to sacrifice the stability , safety that we feel, and the economic growth achieved under it “!!!.

The question here is:

have these achievements been fulfilled  in the light of the continued state of emergency in Egypt since 1981 till now ? .

 

 

The quick reviewing  of the speech said by the Prime Minister , we find a lot of questions and exclamation marks , as he says, “the government doesn’t tend to this solution only because the  wind of terrorism is strong and our enemies lie in wait for us and the ordinary laws are not enough to deter and prevent the danger .So the government takes its decision and chose to ask your venerable Council to extend unwillingly the state of emergency .

 

 

In fact ,I’m surprised by the speech of Mr. Prime Minister concerning the government’s need to extend the state of emergency for another two years under the failure to reach a final vision of Anti-Terrorism Law .

 

 

knowing that we have a terrorism law No.97 of 1992 which includes a definition of terrorist crime and death penalties for whom establishes and manages a secret organization and severe imprisonment to whom join .This law expanded to define the terrorist crime as it has  more than 17 items including advocacy and support for terrorism .On the other hand ,this extension is not only a threat against security stability in the country but it is a clear violation against citizens’ rights as well .    

 

Mr. Prime Minister, the state of emergency –with the legislative meaning – exceeds the limits of Emergency Law and negatively affected the spirit of the Egyptian legislative structure which tended strongly towards inflexibility and overthrowing many rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and the international covenants concerned with human rights. This can be shown as follows :-

 

First : According to the Emergency Law, the Executive authority has the ability to impose restrictions on the freedom of individuals and their constitutional rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, movement and living, arrest and detention of suspects, and examining their houses without abiding by criminal procedure law.  This is considered a clear violation against the rights and guarantees that are confirmed by the Egyptian constitution in article 41, which relates to personal freedom, Article 44 concerning the sanctity of homes, Article 50 on the freedom of movement and residence and article 54 on the freedom to hold meetings.

 

 

 

 

Second: The military ruler or his deputies – under Article 3 of Emergency Law, has the right to monitor and control letters, newspapers, leaflets and publications and exhibits before publishing. The privacy of citizens is clearly violated; this is stated in Article 45 of the Constitution .Also Article 49, related to the freedom of scientific and literary research, has been violated as well.  Lastly, articles 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights .

 

 

Third : The Emergency Law gives the Executive authority a wide control to avoid criminal procedures law concerning  the arrest of suspects.In accordance with the Emergency Law, special courts were formed to discuss crimes committed against orders issued by the President. These courts are partially controlled by Partial State Security and Supreme State Security. The president is allowed to form the Court of partial state security, including one judge and two officers from the Armed Forces.  He is also allowed to appoint, at Supreme State Security, 3 Counselors and two Commanding Officers.

 

 

Fourth : According to Article 9 of the Emergency Law, the President is allowed to submit crimes penalized by public law to the Emergency State Security Courts.  This is considered a clear violation against the provision of article 40 of the Constitution which stipulates the principle of “equality among citizens”. Citizens are equal in rights and public duties before the law and there is no distinction related to sex, origin, language or religion or creed. Also Article 68 of the Constitution stipulated that every citizen has the right to stand before the normal judge. Also Emergency Law violates the term of (Article 14 Item No.1) of the international covenants on Civil and Political Rights .   

  

 

 

   

 

Also we are surprised again concerning his commitment not to use the Emergency Law except for fighting terrorism .

 

 

 

“ Today we request to extend the state of emergency for another two years or until the completion of the Anti-Terrorism Law  , the government  renewed a promise not to use the Emergency Law except for fighting terrorism “.

 

 

However, this argument can be rebutted by saying that the government didn’t respect  its commitments  over  years of imposing the state of emergency to fight terrorism and drugs , on the contrary , the government used the state of emergency in several situations and cases including the arrest of El Mahal’s workers in the event of 6 of April 2008 and they are still pending the detention just because they called for their  rights  , and therefore  we can’t call them as “terrorists” .   As well as continuing to submit  civilians to military courts including  the case of  Khairat Al Shater and others   . 40 civilians from some leaders of Muslim Brotherhood were submitted to the military court according to a presidential decision  No .40 of 2007 issued by the president of the republic . The case was registered with No.2 of 2007 military criminal .On 15/4/2008 the Supreme Military Court issued sentences ranging between 3:10 years imprisonment .Al Shater  and others were  trialed under the Emergency Law in such a criminal crime if it is proven ,besides, the fixed ambushes  in all governorates which stop citizens to inspect their bags and cars and this is occurred in Egypt under Emergency Law .

 

 

It is noted that the government had sought to use terrorism as a pretext for the continued imposition of a state of emergency since the assassination of president Al Sadat. The extension of this time for the same ungrounded  justifications and reasons and the result is the same continuation of the state of emergency  for another two years .It was worthwhile if the government satisfied with Anti-Terrorism Law No.97 of 1992 which includes enough  Articles to fight terrorism and to cancel the state of emergency as a response to public and political appeals especially after the retraction of political and democratic reform .

 

 

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 2:33 pm and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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