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Egypt extends emergency laws despite pledges to lift

[JURIST] Egyptian parliamentarians voted 305-103 Monday to extend the country's emergency laws [EOHR backgrounder] for two more years at the behest of the government. The laws, which were first implemented after the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, permit the government and security services to arrest and detain anyone deemed a threat to state security, with detentions renewable every 45 days. The laws also ban demonstrations and allow military courts to try civilians [JURIST report]. In practice, the laws have been used to combat unrest and political opposition to the Mubarak regime.

The latest renewal of the emergency laws comes notwithstanding a December 2006 promise from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official website; BBC profile] to repeal the laws after passage of a new terrorism bill [JURIST report]. In August 2007, Egyptian Judicial Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab said the laws would be lifted by June 2008 [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.

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