Egypt forms panel to rewrite constitution; fires 2 officials

Egyptian military constituted a panel of legal experts to suggest amendments to the constitution.

Cairo: The Egyptian military on Tuesday
constituted a panel of legal experts, including a member of
the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to suggest amendments to the
Mubarak-era constitution while firing two top security
officials for their handling of the anti-regime protests.

The eight-member committee that has been entrusted
with the task of studying the constitutional reform would be
headed by Tareq al-Bishry, a retired judge known for his
independent views and support for a free judiciary during the
reign of Hosni Mubarak.

"I have been chosen by the Higher Military Council to
head the committee for constitutional amendments," al-Bishry

The Supreme Military Council has vowed to rewrite the
constitution within 10-days and submit it to a public
referendum within two months time.

The Council said in a statement on television that the
panel "must finish its work in a period of no longer than 10
days after the date of this decision".

The inclusion of a former lawmaker of the largest
opposition group Muslim Brotherhood, Sobhi Saleh, in the panel
is a significant message by the new military leadership that
has chosen to begin the political reform process from scratch.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader, meanwhile, said that the
group will apply to become an official party in the near
future once the time is ripe.

The step to set up a panel comes two days after a
parliament packed with Mubarak loyalists was dissolved and the
constitution suspended in line with the demands of the

The constitution, that now stands suspended, had
provisions that helped Mubarak and his allies in power, and a
major demand of the protesters was the scrapping of such
guarantees and putting term limits for presidential tenure.

As Egypt took baby-steps towards establishing a
democracy, political unrest mounted in other Arab nations,
with Egypt-inspired rallies witnessed in Algeria, Bahrain,
Yemen and Iran.

Clashes were witnessed between police and protesters
in Iran, where one person was reported killed, while in
Bahrain another person was killed when security forces used
force on mourners gathered for a funeral procession for a man
killed in an earlier protest.

The Egyptian military also sacked two top security
officials for their role in decisions to open fire on
anti-Mubarak protesters during the 18-day uprising.

The caretaker government fired the director of public
security at Egypt`s interior ministry, Adly Fayed, and Cairo`s
security chief, Ismail El Shaer, Al Jazeera reported.

The dismissals came as the military tries to calm
public anger against the state`s security forces that were
used by Mubarak to stifle dissent.