Egypt Is a Military State!

June 13th, 2012 by Editor

The Minister of Justice Decree Authorizes Military Police and Military Intelligence of the Judicial Arrest of Civilians

The below signatories organizations express a severe shock and absolute rejection for the Minister of Justice decree No. 4991 for the year 2012 which was published in the official newspaper today 13/6/2012 as it gives authority to officers, noncommissioned officers of military intelligence and military police of judicial arrest of civilians for their crimes (non-military ones).

The Minister of Justice’s illegal decree gives authority of judicial arrest to the fore mentioned categories in the crimes set forth in sections (I, II and II bis, VII, XII and XIII) of the second book of the Penal Code, in Chapter XV and XVI of the third book of the same law.

The organizations made it clear that among the crimes where the officers have authority are:

“harmful crimes and misdemeanors to the security of the government from the outside and the inside, explosives, rulers resistance and the non-compliance with their orders and the verbal and other types of abuse of them, the destruction of buildings and monuments and any public object, disruption of transportation, stop working for public interests, the attack on freedom to work and finally intimidation and bullying”.

The signed organizations are surprised from the military council policy in managing security issues Egypt. So instead for the Egyptian government to play its role, appointed by the Supreme Council of the armed forces, in taking serious steps in restructuring and cleansing of the Ministry of the Interior, they base decisions and decrees for some departments to play internal roles while their true role is protecting Egypt from abroad.

The organizations realize that many of the crimes included in the decree fall within the framework of Egyptian people licit right in peaceful expression of opposing political views to the regime , demonstration and strike, or in demanding a change in law or even constitutional provisions. Previously, human rights organizations have repeatedly warned that the majority of the texts referred to in the decree can’t be applied within the frame of juridical arrests and have been employed previously in the suppression of legitimate forms of political and social mobility also of all forms of peaceful organization.

The issuance of the decree at this time and ahead of only two weeks of the implementation of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces pledge to hand over power to an elected president, is compounded by the doubts raised about the credibility of this commitment and confirming the conclusion that the fake notion of handing over the power will not prevent the military to remain a major player in management of the political life.

The decree and what it involves of extraordinary powers that have no basis in law, constitute a flagrant circumvention of the official termination of the state of emergency.

“This decree is much worse in many levels than restrictions and violations which the state of emergency provides legal cover for. And while tens of thousands were arrested, tortured and some were killed in the name of the emergency law, this new resolution will provide legal cover for the intervention of the army in the daily life of Egyptians,” added the organizations.

The organizations warn that thousands of civilians may be subject to prosecution and referral to Military Just under this ominous decision, especially that its issuance is associated with a state of crisis and massive political tension closely related to the failures of the military junta in the management of the affairs of the country.

This tension at the moment threatens with dramatic clashes in the streets of Egypt in the light of the prospect of the dissolution of parliament and in the light of what might be construed by the presidential election results in the second round if it is to occur or if it was decided to repeat the whole election process which might result in prolonging the transitional period and the military rule.

We believe that this decree is a long-term legalization to the process of referring civilians to military justice. We hold the parliament responsible for this as it played a marginal role that resulted in such a situation by defending the amendments made by Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, member in the armed forces council, and did not pay any attention to the amendments made by the organizations and other civil forces.

“The summary of this law means it is in the mentioned officers power to arrest the civilian citizens, inspect and question them in any place, also turning them to the relevant prosecution” said the signatories.

The signatories stressed that the revolution came to make everyone equal before the law and to negate the unreasonable powers enjoyed by army and police officers. This decree is a step backward that will lead Egypt to a much worse era than Mubarak’s whom revolted against by Egyptians.

In the opinion of the undersigned organizations, the minister of justice has violated the law by this decree particularly Article 23 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as the judicial arrest authority can be granted on condition that the crimes are included in his circle of competence and work-related function. The law doesn’t state that military men can be granted judicial arrest authority set against civilians.

And therefore, the minister’s decree regarding the terms of reference for law enforcement officers shouldn’t be issued under an administrative decision but those terms of reference are determined by law. The organizations will use all possible legal and judicial means and other serious steps in case the decree isn’t canceled.

The signatories of this statement demand as well the parliament and its members to stand and take responsibility to request briefing and interrogations with the minister of justice to find out the reasons for this decree.

Signatories:

1 – The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

2 – El Nadim Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture

3 – The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights

4- Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression

5 – Hisham Mubarak Center for Law

6 – Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

7 – The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

8- Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance

9- Nazra for feminist studies.

10 – Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners

11 – The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement

12 – Al Karama for Human Rights

13 – New Woman Foundation

14 – The Arab Organization for Penal Reform

15 – The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

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