Egyptian parliament extends controversial emergency law

Egyptian parliament on Monday acted swiftly on a request by President Hosni Mubarak and extended the country's emergency law, a lawmaker said, despite the president's 2005 campaign promise to abolish the controversial legislation. The law has been in place for 27 years - since Mubarak took power after Islamic extremists assassinated his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, during a military parade - and has been renewed every two years since then. It gives the government broad powers to arrest and detain suspects. The United States has called on Mubarak to lift the law, which human rights groups and Egypt's opposition say is subject to abuse. According to the state-run MENA new agency, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told parliament ahead of the vote that an extension was necessary to protect Egypt from terrorists. This drew protests from opposition lawmakers who claimed the Cabinet was using the measure to stifle opponents.