Rights group: New draft laws restrict freedoms as under Mubarak

The government still drafts laws to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens like under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said in a statement.

The statement said the Interior Ministry submitted five draft laws that stipulate severe punishments, even to the extent of penalizing possible criminal intent. The drafts pertain to the protection of society from criminals, organization of demonstrations in the streets, freedom of work, destruction of property, and amendments to the Penal Code and the law on places of worship.

The statement warned that such laws could bring back the state of emergency, and grant the police extraordinary powers above the law and human rights.

The draft law regulating demonstrations obliges demonstrators to present the ministry their criminal records, and notify it of the time of demonstration beforehand.

Another draft, on protecting society from criminals, can penalize citizens if security services only suspect individuals of behaving in a way that suggests they would disrupt public order.

The draft law on the Penal Code would increase the punishment time for assaulting or offending policemen sixfold.

The ministry claims these draft laws would enhance security. The institute statement says they are meant to divert attention from the failing performance of police and their inability to provide security before and since the revolution, due to lack of training, efficiency and discipline, as well as their condescending attitude toward citizens.

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