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Egypt president repeats pledge to lift emergency laws once anti-terror bill passed

[JURIST] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official website; BBC profile] promised Tuesday to repeal Egypt's ongoing 25-year state of emergency once a new terrorism law is passed and to amend the Egyptian Constitution [text] to formally recognize the people of Egypt as the source of sovereign power and permit parliamentary parties to nominate presidential candidates. Mubarak made similar promises [JURIST report] last December, though he did not propose such legislation during the 2006 parliamentary session. Last June, Mubarak again renewed [JURIST report] the emergency laws [EOHR backgrounder], which permit the government to arrest and detain anyone deemed a threat to state security, with detentions renewable every 45 days. The laws also ban public demonstrations and allow military courts to try civilians [JURIST report].

Critics of the Mubarak regime say his promises are empty, and noted that Mubarak has not set a firm deadline for implementing his proposed changes, although he did announce an 18-month timetable [JURIST report] for lifting the state of emergency earlier this month. AP has more.

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