Ahead of anniversary, Egypt’s new MPs demand justice
Egypt’s parliament will hold its own inquiry into violence during the uprising against Hosni Mubarak, the speaker said on Tuesday during a session that served notice that the army-led government will face close scrutiny from newly elected MPs.
Elected in Egypt’s most democratic election in six decades, the Islamist-dominated lower house discussed on its second day of business ways to secure justice for the victims of violence during the uprising that unseated Mubarak.
It is a main demand of activists who have called for mass protests on Wednesday, hoping to use the first anniversary of the uprising against Mubarak to rally opposition to military rulers they say are obstructing real democratic reform.
In an apparent gesture to the reform movement, the military council said on Tuesday it would lift a state of emergency in place since 1981, though left in place a clause which meant its laws would still apply in some cases of “thuggery,” without spelling out what that meant.
Heba Morayef, the Egypt researcher for New-York based Human Rights Watch, described it as “misleading,” saying the exception to the law left wide scope for arbitrary detention.
Washington, which had hinted it could review its $1.3 billion in annual military aid after criticizing Egypt’s raids on pro-democracy groups and violence against protesters, welcomed it as a “good step,” but sought “clarification” about the exception.
Asked by reporters whether the emergency law’s removal might be more cosmetic than substantive, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: “That is why we are going in to the Egyptians and asking for their clarity on this point and urging them to be absolutely clear with the Egyptian people.”