Shura Council passes law curbing protest rights

Shura Council passes law curbing protest rights

On

Tue, 26/03/2013 - 20:39

 

The Shura Council approved a draft law Tuesday that further restricts the right to demonstrate.
 
The bill prohibits citizens from organizing protests that pose a risk to the nation's security.
 
To ensure this, organizers must submit a written notification to police three days in advance of the planned demonstration.
 
The proposed law also stipulates that protesters must be 200 meters away from government, legislative and judicial buildings.
 
Anyone found guilty of violating the law will be sentenced to hard labor in prison and fined at least LE50,000.
 
The draft law has already come under fire from opposition groups who accuse President Mohamed Morsy of using the same oppressive tactics regularly employed by ex-leader Hosni Mubarak.
 
Mubarak was forced to resign in February 2011 following weeks of protests against his administration.
 
Last month, the New York based Human Rights Watch said, “This law as drafted would severely restrict one of the key human rights that determines Egyptians’ ability to continue to call for bread, freedom and social justice.”
 
The bill includes 19 articles, such as: 
 
Article 1 defines demonstrations as "a stationary assembly or march in a public place or road of more than 20 people aiming to express their opinion and demands peacefully."
 
Article 2 reiterates that the "right of peaceful demonstration is guaranteed and citizens have the right to call for protests in accordance with law provisions."
 
Article 4 says demonstrations must not pose a risk to the nation's security.
 
Article 5 states the need to submit, to the police station of the area where the demonstration is planned, a written note at least 3 days before organizing the demonstration. It adds the note should be delivered by hand.
 
Article 6 forces organizers to submit an application to host a protest that includes the demonstration location, when it is slated to start and finish, the number of people expected to participate and the names of three organizers as well as their contact information. 
 
Article 8 states that police challenge the organizers and present a case before the interior minister or applicable security directorate. Authorities can request a demonstration is cancelled, postponed or moved to another location.
 
Article 9 allows governors the right to specify the size of the protests and how much space it will take up. All demonstrations should be a maximum of 200 meters from government buildings.  
 
Article 17 stipulates "Those guilty of deliberating violating the law or being paid to block traffic, harm citizens' interests or vandalize government property will be sentenced to hard labor in prison and fined no  less than LE50,000."