A number of human rights organisations issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling for rescinding of protest law and release of all of those detained under the provisions of the law.
The protest law was passed in November 2013 under the leadership of then-interim president Adly Mansour. The law bans protests without police authorisation and three days in advance of a planned protest. It also gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than ten people.
“The organisations demand from the parliament – in case the law was still valid when the parliament convenes – not to approve the law and drop all prosecutions and court ruling based on it,” the statement read. Since its application, dozens of people have been arrested and charged for not abiding with the provisions of the law.
“Going out in a peaceful demonstration have potential risks, starting from killing and ending with the arrest of dozens and sentencing them to prison terms, some cases have reached five years,” the statement read. The organisations said the attitude and action of security forces in Egypt did not change, referring to the killing of protestor Shaimaa El-Sabagh during a peaceful protest on 24 January 2015.
The organisations said although the government justified the passing of the law to face demonstrations of a “specific political faction” and restore stability, the current situation in Egypt however is less stable than it was before. According to the statement, the protest law is one of many other laws that contradict the 2014 constitution, including terrorism law and amendments to Article 78 of the penal code on foreign funding.
Sixteen organisations signed the statement, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, and El-Nadim Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture.