Joint Egypt panel to study constitutional reform

Joint Egypt panel to study constitutional reform

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[JURIST] The Egyptian government will meet with opposition leaders Sunday to study potential changes to its constitution [text], but opposition leaders are hesitant to believe anything will come of the effort [BBC report]. A committee of judicial and political leaders from the government and from opposition parties will suggest constitutional amendments. The Muslim Brotherhood [official website], the oldest and largest Islamic political group in the world, will be a part of the discussions despite currently being banned from Egypt. Cooperation in the constitutional review, the Brotherhood said, will only continue if the current regime continues to meet other demands. These demands include the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile] and the removal of emergency laws that have been in place for more than thirty years.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Friday called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release lawyers, journalists and human rights activists [JURIST report] who have been arrested and for the government to investigate whether the violence against protesters [JURIST report] has been planned. Pillay condemned Thursday’s arrest of 20 activists and lawyers from the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre [advocacy website, in Arabic] in Cairo. Staff members from the international rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were among those detained [AI press release] at the law center.