Egypt gives army power to arrest civilians

June 13, 2012 21:19

CAIRO - Egypt's military police and intelligence will be able to detain civilians and refer them to military tribunals under a government decree issued on Wednesday that was criticized as a dangerous move by human rights groups.

One MP described the step as an attempt to reproduce the state of emergency that was a permanent fixture of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule and expired on May 31. The law which gave security forces sweeping powers of search and arrest was seen as one of his administration's main tools for crushing dissent.

According to the justice ministry decree, the military will continue to enjoy a broad mandate for imposing law and order until a new constitution is written - a process that is expected to last well beyond the July 1 date by which the ruling military council is due to hand power to a new president.

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