Egypt court strikes down military powers of arrest

[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Tuesday struck down a government decree that restored broad arrest powers to Egyptian military officials. The Ministry of Justice issued the decree in June, restoring some of the power previously granted to the military through the emergency law, which expired [JURIST reports] in May after being in effect for nearly 30 years. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] last week expressed concern [JURIST report] about the growing power of the Egyptian military rulers. The court determined Tuesday that the decree interfered with the transfer of power [Reuters report] to the president promised in the interim constitution. The decree was to remain in effect until the newly-elected constitutional assembly completed the Egyptian Constitution, but the assembly is not expected to complete a draft of the Constitution for several months. The decision of the court immediately repeals the powers granted in the decree. The Ministry of Justice may appeal the decision.

Egypt announced on Sunday that Muslim Brotherhood (MB) [party website] candidate Mohammed Mursi had won the presidential elections [NYT report]. Despite the success of a peaceful presidential election, Egypt has faced continued political turmoil since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak last year. Last week, a former candidate in Egypt's presidential election and several non-government organizations filed a lawsuit challenging Egypt's interim constitution [JURIST report], alleging it gives the Egyptian military unlimited power. Earlier this month, the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt dissolved the country's Parliament [JURIST report] after finding that one-third of its members were elected illegally. Days earlier, the now-dissolved Egyptian parliament elected a new constitutional council after lawmakers finally reached an agreement [JURIST reports] on the political composition of the council. Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court in April effectively suspended [JURIST report] the work of the 100-member council responsible for drafting the country's new constitution after ruling in favor of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the formation of the panel.

 

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