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Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim on Tuesday defended Emergency Law and demanded its use for crimes related to drugs and thuggery.
In a statement to the People’s Assembly Tuesday evening, Ibrahim said the law is often misunderstood, as some believe that it gives police officers the right to arrest any person at any time. The Emergency Law cannot be enforced haphazardly without due legal procedures, he said.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said last week that the military decided to lift the state of emergency except in cases of “thuggery,” without defining what the term meant.
A state of emergency was activated following former President Anwar al-Sadat’s assassination by Islamist extremists in 1981. President Hosni Mubarak used Emergency Law as a means to silence political dissent during his 30-year rule.
Michael Posner, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on Thursday urged Egypt's military rulers to lift the much-maligned Emergency Law.
“Many Egyptians are continuing to urge a full lifting of the Emergency Law — a view we share,” said Posner.
Ibrahim reviewed the Interior Ministry’s performance and listed its accomplishments. He confirmed that the ministry’s top priority is restoring security to the country.
He added that restored security, the return of foreign investments and an increase in tourism would improve the economy.
The ministry apprehended 23,000 escaped prisoners since the outbreak of the 25 January revolution, while security forces remain on the lookout for another 4,500 escapees, he said.
Ibrahim claimed a decrease in the number of car robberies and kidnappings.
He said that police officers do not fire randomly, and that they only use firearms in self-defense.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm