Egypt to lift Mubarak emergency law before polling

Egypt`s government said Friday it plans to lift the country`s hated emergency law before democratic parliamentary elections later this year.

Cairo: Egypt`s government said Friday it plans
to lift the country`s hated emergency law before democratic parliamentary elections later this year.

The law, imposed in 1981, gave ousted President Hosni
Mubarak`s security forces wide powers to arrest and detain
Egyptians without charge. Lifting the law has been a key
demand of the protesters behind Egypt`s uprising earlier this
year.

Government spokesman Mohammed Hegazy told reporters
Thursday that lifting the emergency law will "prepare for fair
and free elections."

No specific date has been set for the parliamentary
elections. Maj Gen Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the ruling
military council that took over after Mubarak`s ouster said
Thursday that registration of candidates will start at the end
of September and that elections will take place in stages, in
November and December.

Mubarak stepped down and transferred power to the military
council on February 11, after an 18-day mass uprising.

The emergency law allowed for random arrests, prolonged
detentions without charges, and widespread human rights abuses
that plagued the country during Mubarak`s 29-year rule.

However, rights abuses have continued under the current
military rulers.

In the months following Mubarak`s ouster, rights activists
have decried continued police brutality, the use of so-called
virginity tests on detained women activists and military
tribunals for civilians. There have also been repeated
military crackdowns on peaceful protests.

PTI

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