Egypt court suspends army powers to arrest civilians

Channels Television  
Updated June 26, 2012

An Egyptian court on Tuesday tossed out a government decree allowing the army to arrest civilians, a setback to military rulers preparing for this week’s formal handover to Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s first Islamist president.

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.

With Islamists and generals set for a long power struggle,

there was no indication the court ruling was part of any army-Brotherhood compromise on Egypt’s future governance.

But Brotherhood officials said they had struck some accords with the generals on the president’s prerogatives, on an assembly that is supposed to write a long-delayed constitution, and on the fate of the dissolved Islamist-dominated parliament.

The army council that has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s fall stripped the presidency of many of its powers in a decree issued just as the presidential run-off vote ended on June 17.