Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif on Tuesday asked parliament to pass the extension of the Emergency Law for two more years, amid protests from opposition activists. "Terrorism has been behind political assassinations, religious sectarianism and strikes aimed at foreign tourists," Nazif told the legislators.
The Emergency Law has been in force since 1981, giving huge powers to police to arrests suspects without trial. Nazif vowed on Tuesday that the law will be enforced only to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. According to him, the law will be abolished in May 2012 when an anti-terror law will be in place.
"We pledge before parliament that we will not adopt extrajudicial measures in applying this (emergency) law and will debate the anti-terror law with the (state-backed) National Council for Human Rights and the civil society groups."
More than 100 opposition lawmakers and activists protested Tuesday outside parliament demanding lawmakers reject any extension of the law.