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Egypt to lift emergency laws by mid-2008: judiciary minister

[JURIST] Egypt's Judicial Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab said Saturday that the country will lift its 25-year-old state of emergency by June 2008, according to state news agency Mena. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official website; BBC profile] promised in 2005 and again 2006 to lift the emergency laws [JURIST report] once a new terrorism law was passed. Shehab said, however, that Egypt will lift the emergency laws even if a new terrorism law is not passed.

The emergency laws [EOHR backgrounder] 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]. Amnesty International [advocacy website] recently criticized [JURIST report] Egypt for systematic human rights abuses of detainees in its police stations, military camps, and centers run by State Security Investigations. AFP has more.

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