Parliamentary committee calls for abolishing emergency law

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee has called for lifting the emergency law by no later than the end of May in order to turn a page on arbitrary and exceptional procedures after more than 30 years of restricting the freedoms of the people.

The committee requested the Interior Ministry to provide complete lists of detainees without legal basis under the emergency law and to arrange for their immediate release after the deadline.

A state of emergency was activated following former President Anwar al-Sadat's assassination by Islamist extremists in 1981. President Hosni Mubarak used the emergency law as a means to silence political dissent during his 30-year rule.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, partially lifted the state of emergency in January, except in cases of "thuggery," without defining what the term meant.

The committee called upon the attorney general to report all cases that have been referred to Emergency State Security Courts in the last two years and to determine how to deal with these cases after the law is lifted.

It also requested that the parliament speaker approve the formation of a parliamentary delegation to visit the New Valley prison and determine the status of detainees there.

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