Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday urged [press release] Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi, to end the pattern of human rights abuses committed by former president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive] and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [Al Jazeera backgrounder]. AI Secretary General Salil Shetty announced that the organization will keep a close eye on whether Morsi improves Egypt's human rights record:
It will be important to scrutinise the early months of the new President, and hold him to account for the actions he takes, or does not take, to get to grips with the pressing human rights priorities in Egypt. Egypt deserves a leadership which is prepared to confront the abuses of the past, restore the rule of law in the present and set out a vision of human rights for all for the future.AI called on Egypt's new government to investigate abuses by security forces, uphold freedoms of expression and assembly, end discrimination against women and minorities, and end forced evictions against slum-dwellers.
Egypt's post-Mubarak political climate has been fractious. Earlier this week, an Egyptian court struck down [JURIST report] a government decree that gave the military broad power to arrest people. Last week, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] expressed concern [JURIST report] that the Egyptian military's expansive power is a threat to human rights. Two weeks ago, the SCAF announced [JURIST report] that it would transfer power to Morsi by the end of the month. Earlier in June, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] dissolved the Egyptian Parliament [JURIST report] after discovering that one-third of its members were elected illegally. JURIST contributor Haider Ala Hamoudi recently opined [JURIST op-ed] that the Egyptian high court's decision to dissolve parliament may lead to a power imbalance between the three branches of government that a strong executive could exploit.