The head of Egypt's ruling military council on Monday defended the council's decision to broaden the notorious Emergency Law, despite demands from political and revolutionary movements to end the state of emergency.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), spoke at an opening ceremony of a new road in Minya that links Helwan, south of Cairo, with Assiut city in Upper Egypt.
It was Tantawi's second trip outside Cairo within two days. In a press statement, he said the current security situation in Egypt led the SCAF to declare a state of emergency.
“None of us wants to declare a state of emergency, but the current security situation in Egypt led us to activate it,” said Tantawi. “No one can believe that a wife can be kidnapped from her husband in the street.”
He went on to say that the state of emergency will end as soon as possible as long as “the security situation becomes stable."
“This requires the concerted efforts of the Egyptian people, security forces and all walks of Egyptian society to achieve stability and security,” he said.
On 11 September, the SCAF decided to extend the Emergency Law, which had long been used by the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak to suppress freedoms.
The SCAF extended the law's effect to June 2012. The SCAF also broadened the law to apply to charges of thuggery, obstructing traffic, and disseminating false information through media outlets.
The SCAF’s announcement was met with a storm of criticism from human rights activists, politicians and legal activists, who said the SCAF is following in the footsteps of the former regime by cracking down on the media, and on freedoms of opinion and expression.
Translated from the Arabic Edition