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Human Rights in Egypt on the Eve of the New Counter-terrorism Law
Pietro de Perini
The Egyptian Government is going to substitute the Emergency Law with a new act which will be aimed at facing the increasing terroristic threat inside the country. The Emergency Law has been in force alternatively for almost fifty years and is normally considered the main cause for the widespread violations of fundamental rights in Egypt. The date of the transition – as promised by the Egyptian Government – has been set by the end of April 2008.
Nothing has seeped about the contents of the new law until the beginning of 2008. Numerous civil society representatives as well as experts of law have been paying attention to the event and have analysed which risks could come for the protection of human rights by the enforcement of this counter-terrorism act. Predictions are not good.
The first part of this article is aimed at examining the history and the main features of the Emergency Law, its effects on the human rights situation in Egypt and some notable predictions regarding the new measure by experts and civil society representatives. The second part is concentrated on the analysis of some everyday gross violations (including the systematic use of torture and severe restrictions to the freedom of the press and of association) in order to outline the Egyptian situation of human rights in brief, few days before the enforcement of the new counter-terrorism law.