Tuesday Jun 26, 201204:15 PM GMT
Egypt court suspends army’s permit for arresting civilians
Egyptian security forces detain protesters demonstrating outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo on April 28, 2012.
Egyptian security forces detain protesters demonstrating outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo on April 28, 2012.
Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:34PM
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Egypt's administrative court has suspended a controversial decree passed by the Justice Ministry that allows the ruling military to arrest civilians.

The ruling comes after the court in question reviewed an appeal filed by 17 rights groups against the decree passed on June 13.

The groups had condemned the decision for creating extraordinary powers with "no basis in law," and described the order as "a blatant circumvention of the official end of the state of emergency.”

The military argues that the decree was necessary after the end of a decades-long state of emergency while the army remained on the streets.

But the rights groups believe that the decision "could put in place far worse restrictions than those of the state of emergency."

The arrest carte blanch for the army infuriated activists and protesters who have campaigned for years to end the state of emergency, which granted police wide powers to arrest civilians and suppress opposition.

Ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak called on the army to stop popular protests which eventually led to his overthrow in February 2011.

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) consequently took control but pledged to establish a civilian government and hand over power within six months, a deadline it never met.

The junta has still raised public fears that it has no intention of retiring from the country's political stage.

The fears dramatically hiked in mid-June when SCAF issued the amended constitutional document following its dissolution of the parliament and hand itself sweeping powers.

The amended version of the constitutional document, first issued in March 2011, says no election for a new parliament can be held until a permanent constitution is written. It also gives the ruling generals veto power over the text of any new constitution.

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