Egypt extends state of emergency by two years
Egypt on Monday extended a decades-old state of emergency by two years despite pledges it would be replaced by new legislation. Parliament passed the law after a brief debate following a decision by President Hosni Mubarak to extend the state of emergency from June 1, a parliamentary official said.
The state of emergency was imposed in 1981 after the assassination by Islamists of president Anwar Sadat, and has been repeatedly renewed since then despite protests from rights groups and regime opponents. Last year Judicial and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab said the state of emergency would end in 2008, even if the new anti-terror law meant to replace it was not ready.
Egypt's authorities have used the state of emergency to clamp down on political opponents, including the country's largest opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. "We reject the extension of the state of emergency because there is no constitutional justification," Brotherhood political bureau member Essam al-Aryan told AFP.
"We have been living under a state of emergency ever since Mubarak came to power. It's been part of our daily life since the assassination of Sadat despite the fact it's an emergency law." He said the Brotherhood would now start a public awareness campaign about the law.