Egyptian court to rule in 'annulment of protest law' case in February

Tuesday 05-01-2016 02:07 PM
Egyptian court to rule in 'annulment of protest law' case in February

Protesters (R) taking part in a rally against anti-protest legislation clash with police and unidentified people in Cairo, June 21, 2014. REUTERS/Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper


Cairo, Jan 6 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's High Administrative Court is due to rule on the annulment of the protest law next February, after lawyers' appeals against the law that bans "illegal public assembly."

The law was first issued in November 2013 and has been under local and international criticism since its issuance. The law was issued during the transitional months under then-Interim President Adly Mansour, shortly after the ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi by the military following mass protests against his rule. 

According to the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, the lawyer Hossam Ahmed had appealed to the High Administrative Court to demand a halt to the implementation of the protest law, which called for the abolition of public meetings and demonstrations that do not have the prior approval of the ministry of interior.

Rights lawyers previously told Aswat Masriya that the protest law article legislation outlines regulations and conditions for peaceful protest which practically ban protests. 

Whoever wants to organise a public meeting, march or protest must notify in writing the police station under whose jurisdiction the protest will be held, which according to Freedom of Assembly Researcher Kholoud Hafez, violates international standards for peaceful demonstrations.

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) and El-Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture, among others called for the repeal of the law. The organisations also called for pardoning all those "convicted for exercising their right to peaceful assembly and demonstration." 

Activists like Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mahinour al-Masry are currently serving prison sentences in separate cases for violating the law. Other rights advocates like Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif were also imprisoned for the same reasons but were abruptly released on a presidential pardon last September on the eve of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's trip to New York to head Egypt's delegation to the UN's annual General Assembly meeting.

Last November, 13 people were arrested and remanded in custody for four days pending investigation for "illegal assembly" and "protesting without a permit," in two separate cases while commemorating the fourth anniversary of deadly protests in iconic Mohamed Mahmoud street in Downtown Cairo. 

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