The Egyptian Constitution: The new articles addressing torture are good, but a law is needed to stipulate protection from the crime of torture.

October 30th, 2013 by Editor

EOHR welcomes the new articles stipulates by the committee of the 50 that is responsible for amending the  Egyptian constitution; the articles are 37, 37(A), 38, and 39, under the chapter of “Freedoms, Rights, and Public Duties”, that are concerned with the human dignity, the crime of torture, equality, and personal freedom.

The articles are as follows; Article 37 stipulates that “Dignity is a right to everyone, it shall not be compromised and the state is obliged to respect and guarantee the protection of the human dignity.”, while Article 37 (A) stipulates that , “torture in any form or image shall be considered as a crime that shall not drop according to the statute of limitations”. Article 38 stipulates that, “ Citizens are equal before the law and they are equal in rights and public duties, regardless of religion, creed, origin, ethnicity, color, language, disability, geographical location, social status, political affiliation, or any other reason. Inciting hatred shall be considered as a crime that shall be punished by the law, and the state is obliged to take necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination. The law shall regulate the establishment of independent commission for this purpose.”, and Article 39 stipulates that  , “ Personal freedom is a natural right, and it is guaranteed and except in the case of flagrante delicto, it’s prohibited to arrest, inspect, imprison, or/ and restrict someone’s freedom unless there is a verified  judicial order that is necessitated  for investigation, and a legal complaint shall be held immediately in case of restricting anybody’s freedom based on the previous case, and that person shall have his/her rights written , and shall have the right of a personal call to the family or the personal attorney immediately, and shall be Investigated within 24 hours of the time of restricting his/her freedom, and investigation shall not begin unless with the presence of a private attorney, in the case there is no private attorney, an attorney shall be mandated according to the procedures stipulated in the law, and the family of the defendant shall have the right of filing a grievance in front of the court based on the previous procedure, and to decide within 48 hours of filing the grievance, or the defendant shall be released immediately.

EOHR regards that the stipulation of those articles by the committee of the 50 is considered to be a step forward to achieve the required democracy which each and every Egyptian citizen seeks; in order to foster and guarantee the basic human rights in the country. This is considered a step towards amending the legal system in a way that shall guarantee all necessary human rights in Egypt.

Hafez Abu Seada, President of EOHR, has asserted that the stipulation of the articles by the committee of the 50 is considered a step forward in fostering the system of human rights in Egypt, especially after the 25th of January and the 30th of June Revolutions that aimed at guaranteeing security, safety, and basic rights of each and every one.

Abu Seada, has further stressed that it’s necessary that the aforementioned step made by the committee of the 50 should be entailed by the step of amending the legislative basis that provides the appropriate legal environment; like the necessity for the government to stipulate the two declarations referred to in articles (21) and (22) of the UN International Convention against Torture, amending the provision of the article 126 of the Penal Law to in compatible with the provision of the first article of the International Convention against Torture (CAT) ratified by Egypt in 1986, the quick decision regarding the project proposed by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights concerning the amendments of some provisions of the articles(126), (129), and (280) of the crime of torture in the Penal Law and articles (63), and 232) of the Procedures Law, Issuing a law stipulates activating the legal police system, that shall follow the Ministry of Justice ; the legal police shall be entrusted with enforcing the legal seizure and the rest of the acts that helps in the progress of justice and the implementation of court sentences.

In addition, it’s necessary to issue a legislation that ratifies the right of civil prosecutors of the direct allegation in front of the Criminal Court concerning the crimes of encroaching upon citizens’ life, including the crimes that are set forth in article (126) of the Penal Law that punishes whoever inflict torture upon anyone in order to extract confessions, and articles (280) and (282) that punishes arresting anyone without proper cause or right.

Moreover, law 121/ year 1956 should be cancelled; this law is concerned with amending article (63) of the Criminal Procedures Law , which confines the right of filing a public case against public officials, including police officer, and the return to the old system that gave the defendant the direct right of allegation

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