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Egyptian Court Overturns Military's Power To Arrest Civilians

An Egyptian court decided today that the military should not have continued power to arrest civilians.

Reuters reports:

"The Muslim Brotherhood and other opponents of military rule were furious when the army-backed interim government empowered soldiers to arrest civilians, effectively reinstating Hosni Mubarak's hated state of emergency, which lapsed on May 31.

"The deposed president had used emergency law throughout his 30 years in power to repress Islamists and other dissenters.

"'The court has blocked the decision of the Justice Minister that gave military and military intelligence officers powers of arrest,' said Cairo administrative court Judge Ali Fikry."

According to the AP, Human Rights Watch in Egypt calls the decision "significant" because the decree "would have permanently given the military this right of law enforcement and encroachment on civilian life."

The court was also appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which gave itself the power to begin with. The government can appeal the ruling.

Egypt's president-elect, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi is set to be sworn in on Saturday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.