UN CONDEMNS EGYPTIAN INTERIM GOVERNMENT FOR NEW LAW BANNING PROTESTS
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned a new law restricting public protests which has been signed by the interim President Adly Mansour.
The law bans protests without prior police notification. Article 7 of the law prohibits protesters from conduct that would, among other things, constitute a threat to “security” and “public order,” “disrupt citizens’ interests,” or obstruct justice, without providing clear definitions of those terms.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, her spokesperson Rupert Colville said: “Of particular concern are the provisions on the use of force by law enforcement officials and the excessive sanctions, includingn massive fines as well as prison sentences that can be imposed on those found to be in breach of this law.”
The new law prescribes a list of escalating measures that law enforcement authorities can employ, after issuing warnings, to disperse unruly demonstrators. These include use of tear gas, water cannon, smoke grenades, warning shots, rubber bullets and even live ammunition.
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have been detained since Mr. Morsi’s overthrow, though the authorities say this is part of combating “terrorism”.
“We believe that there is a real risk that the lives of peaceful protestors will be put at risk because of the violent behavior of a few, or because the law may too easily be interpreted by local security authorities in a way that permits them to use excessive force in inappropriate circumstances,” said Colville.