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Egyptian Court Voids Military's Power to Arrest Civilians
June 26, 2012

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The Egyptian military no longer has the legal right to arrest civilians, according a ruling by an administrative court in Cairo.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a decree just days before the presidential runoff election, and many in Tahrir Square and elsewhere feared mass arrests would be forthcoming. That hasn't happened, though, and the announcement of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, as President lessens the possibility further.

The decision could still be overturned by the Justice Ministry, if the ruling generals appeal the most recent decision the way that human rights groups appealed the decree. If no appeal is announced, the ruling stands and is already in effect.

Former President Hosni Mubarak used such laws to arrest and imprison hundreds of people during his 30 years in power, including Morsi. Since Mubarak's abdication, the ruling generals have arrested thousands of civilians and subjected them to military trials.

The new President and the ruling generals are still negotiating over the makeup of the new government. The generals have long promised to hand over once the President, Parliament, and new constitution were in place. After a chaotic couple of weeks in which the generals dissolved Parliament and the constitution-writing panel, however, only the President is now in office.

Morsi, who narrowly defeated former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in the election runoff, continued to receive congratulations from around the world.



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