The problem is not the emergency law

The last report of the national council for human rights in Egypt trouble us about the political formation, it indicates that it is still far away to reach the goal we hope for and that what we made till now is only “declaring good intentions” and in best assumptions it is the thousand mile journey’s first step.

In 7/10/2005, a police officer shot a microbus driver named Alaa Muhammad Abd Al-Latif and his assistant Muhammad Adly, the driver was shot in the neck the other one was paralyzed by the shot in his neck as well.

The reason for this shooting, according to the report of human rights the policeman stopped the car and ordered its passengers to dismount the car then he told the driver to drive him home  (where he lives in Atlas, south of Cairo). When the driver refused to do that, the police officer shot the driver and his assistant (the police officer was arrested afterwards and put in jail for four days).

In another incident (dated 9/4/2005), another citizen named Muhammad Habashy (27 years) went out of his home to a pharmacy to buy a medication for his sick mother, 4 policemen from Al-Musky police satiation (Cairo) requested his ID, then one of them told Mr. Habashy to buy 4 meals of (Kufta) for them. When he refused, they heaped insults upon him.

One of them hit him by his walky-talky until he fell down then they swept him allover the street in front of the walking people and toke him to the police station where they kept on beating him.

In a third incident, recorded in the report, a citizen named Muhammad Al-Sayed Selim living in Mashtal center in Al-Sharqiyya governorate, he was held in the police station for committing a misdemeanor and while he was there, he was hit by the policemen’s’ feet on his back while he was hand cuffed, the thing that made him faint and paralyze.

When he was presented to the general attorney, he decided to release him with the guarantee of his residence (which indicates that the crime he was convicted with is simple and it does not require that he would be kept in prison).  When he went back to finish his release procedures he was kept again in the police station for another 3 days and he was unable to move when he was released in 27/1/2005 he was transformed to Zaqaziq academic hospital. In the report of his case the Doctor said “the aforementioned patient suffers from fracturing in the coccyx veretbrae and unable to move or feel his lower limbs, he also does not control both processes of urinating and excreting. He needs a surgery to fix his backbone with nails costs about 10 thousand pounds.”

I chose these incidents from the report of human rights in 2005, not only because the violations it carries but also for other reasons with certain indications, such as the victims of such incidents are innocent people who did not commit a crime that excuse the cruelty they were treated with. Also because they are not related to politics in any way, the most important reason is that the ones who committed these violations are only regular policemen and they behaved in indescribable recklessness, which made me wonder, if this is the way the regular policemen treat helpless citizens then how far do an officer go? I guess you know the answer.

However, I will mention a very regular case reported in the report. An innocent citizen named Husam Al-Saeed Amer went to Azbakiyya police station (Cairo) to report against a car driver but he was mistreated in the station where some officers heaped insults upon him, to his surprise he told them that he will hunger strike himself and they replied in the form of an order to lock him up and beat him by feet and the pistol back, not only this he was framed to forge 50 pounds and were presented to general attorney.

He complained and asked to prove the beating he was exposed to, the attorney general released him but the officer kept the man in jail for 3 days where he was exposed to indescribable assaults and beating.

In many locations of the report, it referred that those who committed such crimes were punished in a way or another, which is undoubtedly a good thing (an officer was imprisoned for a week and paid a guarantee 20 pounds because he mistreated one of the citizens).

The violations are numerous and they are done against innocent people by regular policemen in addition to the officers, which represent a fact that we should confess, that the concept of human rights was not deep-seated in the perception of those who work in security system and the authorities given to them encourages them to violate these rights and not to care much to the laws and behaving in such recklessness (the report added that prosecutors of Muntazah district in Alexandria made an unexpected visit to the police station while the officer was not there and they found 55 people were locked up with no crime). 


During the period from the beginning of January 2005 till the first of march 2006, human rights has received 6528 complaints, about 43% of them concerning the suffering of the regular people from their social and economic status.

Those who complained against violating their civil and political rights are more than 28% (i.e. they represent less than those who did not complain). The important figures in this respect, that has a specific indication is that 38% of these last complaints  are received from the great Cairo section (Cairo, Giza and Qalubiyya governorates) this does not only due to the growth population in these governorates in which the quarter of the Egyptian people are living, but also because of the high standard of awareness and education and the availability of governmental institutions and human rights organizations and  many other civil organizations.

Which means that the decrease in the number of those complaints sent by the north and south parts of Egypt necessarily are not due to the decrease in the number of the violations there, but because of the lack of awareness and the high standard of illiteracy there. The logical point of view says, the south and north parts of Egypt live in a civil status weaker than of the great Cairo which makes violations occur more and people receive them in silence, specially that these violations are away from the sights and from punishments.

There is a very important information was included in the statistics of the complaints transferred to the authorized parties and ministry of the interior and the attorney general are more than any other complaints sent to any other department (which is not strange) ministry of the interior received 353 complaints and general attorney 212 complaints. What draws attention is that ministry of the interior replied on only half of the complaints about 47.5 % for non-mentioned reasons but are understandable reasons, general attorney replied on 88% of complaints about the violations.

There was something mentioned in the report catched my attention which is “the administrational imprisonment represents the most important violations against freedom and human rights and its call to solve the cases of those prisoners who were held with out following the procedures, it also expressed the worry from the increase of this phenomenon wither in the numbers of the arrested people or the number of years, these things caught my attention for two reasons, the first one is that it highlights one of the negative sides in the emergency law, which give a free hand to police system to practice these violations” 

The other reason is personal; that I have a very loaded file filled with many complaints I received during the last years that tormented me because I was helpless and could not do any thing to its presenters. They are young people who were confined in lockup so many years (mostly it exceeded ten years) these young people were either not convicted wit any crime or convicted in a crime but they rendered their time and more and still they are still imprisoned so that they do not know when they will be able to see the day light again, they  called themselves limitless imprisoned, their future was ruined, their families were tortured and they were very desperate to the extent that they wrote to me saying: kill us may Allah mercy you so that we could rest from this agony, and to relive our families misery and so that the government that worry about releasing us would find rest.


The first and most import conclusions derived from this report is that urge of ending state of emergency and clearing the issue of the confined people. And to stop working by the exceptional rules of law that squander the human rights. In this respect we indicated to two things the first one is the urge protecting human rights and general rights in terrorism law which is supposed to replace emergency law, the other thing is the importance of discussing the law with different concerned parties and organizations.

In the press conference held to announce the report last Wednesday (5/4) Dr. Kamal Abu Al-Magd, deputy speaker, frankly in this point, he warned against the gravity of transferring the articles of emergency law into the draft law of terrorism law.

This warrant has its significance indication and it did not come haphazardly because the available information refers that the police forces want to keep a very wide authority in the new law that the emergency law secured claiming that these authorities are necessary for war against terrorism. This is a dangerous perception, which makes a contradiction between state security and the citizens rights, while reconciliation between both aspects is the only way to reach stability in all the community.

The seriousness of this conduct lies not only in decreasing general rights but also in the mistrust of the pursued formation for it reforms only the exterior not the core which means we stand still and never progress.

Therefore, I hope we could agree that the problem is not in the emergency law or the terrorism law but in the emergency mentality (the expression does not belong to me but to Dr. Muhammad As-Syyid Saied in one of his articles) this mentality became addicted to treating the community through exceptional rules, courts and laws, while the majority of law expertise in Egypt say that there are so many laws that could handle terrorism quite well (there is a whole section for terrorism crimes were added to criminal law in 1922).

We do not really need to emergency law or terrorism law. What I fear most is that what happened to the modification of 76th article of the constitution that says a brilliant idea of nomination of the president through direct elections between many nominators but putting this idea into reality made it void which resulted in great chaos that harmed the idea itself, would happen to emergency law.

Here we are facing a very similar problem arising same fears because calling off emergency law is a good and desirable thing but keeping the essence of this law in another law carrying a different name is another shock that would make us all lose hope and we would be like a man whose name was “muddy Hassan” and because people were laughing at his name and making un of him he changed it into “Muddy Ibrahim” and went back to his friends to announce his overwhelming news.