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Egypt extends arresting powers to military and intelligence agents

Move sparks accusations military is trying to recreate expired emergency laws.

Young people sitting at a traditional coloured tent at Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Young people sitting at a traditional coloured tent at Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Image: AP Photo/Amr Nabil/PA

EGYPT’S JUSTICE MINISTRY has given powers to arrest civilians to military police and intelligence agents, sparking charges that the country’s military rulers are recreating repressive emergency laws that expired this month.

The decision comes during heightened tensions in Egypt, three days before a highly polarized presidential runoff election and a day before rulings by the country’s highest court that could dissolve the Islamist-dominated parliament and even cancel the Saturday-Sunday presidential vote.

The decision, published in the official gazette today, would remain in effect until a new constitution is in place. The process of writing a constitution has hit snags.

Military analysts said the arrest powers were a temporary measure.

Rights activists warned it could extend the rule of the generals even if they transfer power to civilians due next month.

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Associated Press

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