Egypt president defends constitutional referendum amidst criticism Michael Sung at 12:19 PM ET
[JURIST] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile; JURIST news archive] Saturday defended proposed constitutional amendments [JURIST report] - including those that will prohibit religious political parties and give the state sweeping power to prosecute terror-related offenses in special courts - as being necessary to shield Egypt from the dangers of religious sectarianism and terrorism. The referendum, slated for Monday, has been widely criticized by opposition parties, human rights groups, and foreign governments. Amnesty International [advocacy website] has condemned the amendments [press release], calling them the "greatest erosion of human rights in 26 years."
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