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Citizens facing trials to be restricted from exercising political rights

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State Council amending political rights law

Egyptian toppled president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons Alaa (R) and Gamal stand behind bars during their trial at the Police Academy on September 14, 2013 in Cairo  (AFP File Photo)

Egyptian toppled president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons Alaa (R) and Gamal stand behind bars during their trial at the Police Academy on September 14, 2013 in Cairo
(AFP File Photo)

By Aya Nader

The Egyptian government is looking to amend the political participation law, with the aim of preventing both former presidents Mohamed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak from standing in upcoming elections, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

Under the current law, established in 1956, people cannot run for office if their assets are frozen, they are quarantined for mental illness, or if they have been declared bankrupt for five years – unless cleared.

The State Council is meeting on Saturday to look into adding a fourth point that prohibits people who are currently facing trial from exercising any political right.

The amendment includes those being tried for criminal charges, whether provisionally arrested, released or whose provision arrest period had ended.

Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said that it would be a legal mistake if the law passes.

“There would be double standards,” he said, pointing out that presidential hopeful Sami Anan, a former general,was accused of illicit gains and referred to military prosecution after former president Mohamed Morsi forced him into retirement in August 2012. “How could Anan run for president?”

Anan, who was never charged with a crime, is one of only two people who have declared their candidacy for president. Hamdeen Sabahy, leftist and head of the Popular Current, is also running.

The amendment was approved during the first meeting of the newly-appointed cabinet on Thursday, Al-Ahram reported. The president has not yet reviewed the law, said Ali Awad, adviser to the president on constitutional affairs, during a Saturday press conference.

The law was last amended by an elected parliament in 2012. The 2012 parliament changed the law to prohibit people from running for office for ten consecutive years after serving as president, vice president, or prime minister. Anyone who served as chairman, secretary-general or sat on a National Democratic Party  political committee before former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011 will also be barred from political participation.


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