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    April 22, 2013 Alta 0

    In the United Kingdom we have been granted incredible democratic rights with the promise of even more to come. But what about other nations, such as Egypt, where their democratic freedoms are, well, non-existent?

    Almost 30 years ago, President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by an Islamist militant. Since then, emergency law has been the only law in the Egyptian parliament, and it is due to be renewed. The government however claims that it will be altering the emergency laws slightly so that it would only be used to counter terrorism and trade in illegal drugs.

    However, the opposition to the government claim that the legislation is going to be used to target them in the name of national security. The protests of the opposition oil refinery machine government have not been the only ones. Protestors have filled the streets, demanding constitutional reform. They have protested in spite of a law which makes it illegal for public gatherings to happen. Within minutes of protesting the demonstrators are ringed by riot police. “Three people are considered to be an assembly and if there are more than three this gives them the right to take you and just put you in jail.” Oil Press Since April, hundreds have been thrown into jail or beaten up in the street.

    “Anyone can be arrested at any time. We have a lot of friends who are in jail now with no charges and no evidence,” comments Amal Sharaf from the April 6 Youth Movement. The old law has a wide range of powers, especially for the security force, which allows them to restrict the movements of individuals, make arbitrary arrests and prolong detentions without trial. The right to appeal is also not available to those who are detained.

    Announcing that the emergency law will be extended for a further two years, the Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs state that If a person is detained for another reason no related to terrorism or an act or narcotics trafficking, then that is prohibited after today . However, few dissidents think the new guarantees will make a difference. Many believe that the emergency status is just a stick in the government’s hand to stop political activity, political reform and political change. The ordinary law is enough for facing any terrorist.”

    Knowing now the condition of democratic rights in other countries, hopefully the citizens of the United Kingdom will effectively use theirs, so as not take them for granted.

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