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President Mohamed Morsy issued a law on Sunday ordering the Armed Forces to maintain security and protect vital state facilities until the result of the 15 December referendum on the constitution is announced.
In the law, the president granted military officers all arrest powers assigned to the police.
The law stipulates that arrest reports be referred to the relevant prosecutors in accordance with the Criminal Code, for the normal judiciary to consider.
The second article of the law stipulates that military soldiers and non-commissioned officers involved in the tasks of maintaining security and the protection of vital installations will have state judicial powers in performing this task, and allows them to use force to the extent necessary for the performance of their duty.
Last June, former Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid issued a decree giving military intelligence and officers the power to arrest civilians.
Rights activists at that time said the decree threatened people’s rights, and in the same month, the Administrative Court struck down the decree.