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UN SG stresses right to freedom of assembly in Egypt

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Tuesday emphasized Egypt's need to maintain and respect the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest as the country's state of emergency, put in place three months ago, is set to expire. In an official statement released Tuesday evening, the secretary-general stressed [press release] that international human rights standards should serve as the basis for any new legislation, responding to the increasing concern surrounding Egypt's most recent draft protest legislation [JURIST report]. The proposed law would limit demonstrators' rights, applying to any "public meeting" of more than 10 people, while also giving police discretion to preemptively ban any gathering, based on "serious information," in which conduct "impedes the interests of citizens" or "influences the course of justice."

In August Ban condemned the violent clashes in Cairo and across the country, urging [JURIST report] all sides to reach a peaceful resolution. While Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began in 2011, the country has been particularly volatile since the military deposed Morsi on July 3 and suspended the constitution. Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour [BBC report] has been acting as interim head of state since Morsi's ouster. On Monday an Egyptian judge extended the Morsi's detention [JURIST report] by another 15 days in order to investigate claims that he conspired with Palestinian militants during the 2011 uprising. The announcement sparked further protests and demonstrations by pro-Morsi supporters. In July Egyptian authorities announced that Morsi was being the subject of a criminal investigation [JURIST report] for spying, ruining the economy and inciting violence.

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