Egyptian Court Suspends Military’s Powers to Arrest

Egyptian Court Suspends Military’s Powers to Arrest

Egypt's administrative court yesterday suspended a justice ministry decision to allow the ruling military powers to arrest civilians.

The court took the decision after reviewing an appeal filed by 17 rights groups against the controversial decree passed on June 13. The development came as the Muslim Brotherhood reached some agreements with the army on the powers that Egypt’s first Islamist president will hold and the fate of the dissolved Islamist-led parliament, Brotherhood officials said  yesterday. The newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, toured his palace on Monday.

But after savoring the victory that installed him in place of the Brotherhood’s ousted enemy, Hosni Mubarak, he immediately went to see the generals in the Defence Ministry in a visit that seemed to underline who really calls the shots.

Morsi, seeking to fulfill a promise of inclusive government, will name six vice-presidents – a woman, a Christian and others drawn from non-Brotherhood political groups – to act as an advisory panel, said Sameh Essawi, an aide to the president. Morsi has resigned as head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to be a “president for all Egyptians” but critics question his independence from the movement’s opaque leadership. The party appointed Essam el-Erian as its interim leader  yesterday to replace him.

The decision infuriated activists and protesters, who have campaigned for years for an end to the state of emergency, which granted police wide powers of arrest and was often used to curb dissent. Hosni Mubarak had called in the army during an uprising last year in which protesters torched police stations. The military is scheduled to hand power to president-elect Mohamed Morsi on June 30.

Also yesterday, Morsi began drawing up a battle plan to confront Egypt’s economic and security crises as he pushed ahead with selecting a government of technocrats, a senior aide said. The Egypt’s first civilian president, and its first elected leader went straight to work after he was declared the election winner on Sunday, the aide said.

Following a riveting and deeply polarising contest against former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq, the Islamist must now try to live up to campaign pledges he undertook to gain the support of pro-democracy groups in defeating Shafiq.


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