Egypt court overturns government decree on civilian arrests


An Egyptian protester scuffles with security forces as they arrest a fellow demonstrator outside the Saudi embassy in Cairo. Egypt's administrative court on June 26, 2012, ruled against a government decree that would have allowed the military to arrest civilians.



Egypt's administrative court on Tuesday suspended a justice ministry decree that allowed the military to arrest civilians, according to Agence France Presse.

After reviewing an appeal filed by 17 rights groups, the court decided against the controversial decree that was passed on June 13, said AFP.

The government's decision would have allowed military police and intelligence to arrest civilians, and caused outrage among activists and politicians, who compared it to imposing martial law, according to the Associated Press.

The groups appealing the decree said it created "extraordinary powers that have no basis in law" and represented "a blatant circumvention of the official end of the state of emergency," according to AFP.

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"The court has blocked the decision of the Minister of Justice that gave military and military intelligence officers powers of arrest," said Cairo administrative court Judge Ali Fikry, according to Reuters.

The decree would have given military personnel a right that only police officers had previously, said Ahram Online.

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The crimes which the decree would have applied to included "crimes and misdemeanors harmful to the government," "possession/use of explosives," "resisting orders issued by those in power or assaulting them," "destruction of public property or historic monuments," "strike-actions at institutions that serve the public interest or assaulting the right to work," and "intimidation and thuggery," said Ahram Online.

Egypt has installed Islamist Mohammed Morsi as its new president after months of unrest under the ruling military.

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