Egypt’s court rules part of protest law unconstitutional
The United Nations and rights groups had asked the government to reconsider the law
Egypt’s top court has struck down part of a law that allowed authorities to ban all but officially sanctioned protests, a court official said Saturday.
The 2013 law, which has been used to jail activists for up to two years, required demonstrators to inform the interior ministry that they were planning a protest.
The ministry could then refuse permission.
The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the article was unconstitutional, said barrister Tareq Shibel.
The court said in a statement that the constitution guaranteed freedom of association and the right to peaceful protest.
Saturday’s ruling does not however mean the law would be scrapped in its entirety, said two court officials who did not be wish to be named.
The law was passed months after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was army chief at the time, overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Mursi.
A crackdown on Islamist supporters of Mursi after his ouster saw hundreds of demonstrators killed and thousands jailed, including secular dissidents.
Militant attacks have since killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen.
The United Nations and rights groups had asked the Egyptian government to reconsider the protest law.
In October Sisi said his government would look into revising the law, shortly after pardoning 82 detainees imprisoned on political grounds or over freedom of expression.