Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Protests bring down Brotherhood but human rights activists call for the rule of law to be maintained

The moment the military issued their ultimatum to President Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood Government was finished. As I write the news is breaking that the controversial Islamist constitution has been suspended and preparations will no doubt be made for a much broader based one that will be far less biased to the Brotherhoods own, sectarian version of Islam.

The celebrations in Cairo are taking place though families are departing as Tahir Square can apparently get quite rough at night. In the meantime Ahram online reports the concerns of a number of Human Rights groups who are calling for the rule of law to be maintained. In a statement issued tonight they demand that:

- The current constitution must be amended by a committee of constitutional and legal scholars and independent human rights experts to reach a new constitution that establishes the foundations of a democratic, civil state; entrenches state impartiality and equality for all citizens regardless of religion, belief, race, ethnicity or gender; guarantees freedom of religion and belief and criminalizes incitement to religious hatred and sectarian violence.

- The same committee to review existing legislation, particularly laws governing the judiciary, trade union freedoms, civic work, and media, press freedoms and electoral laws, as well as the Code of Military Justice in order to put an end to the referral of civilians to military trials.

-  The status of detainees and political prisoners should be reviewed, and all persons found to have not been involved in acts of criminal violence as defined by law should be released.

The undersigned organisations finally called on the Muslim Brotherhood, its Freedom and Justice Party and allied Islamist factions to "show due regard for the civil peace over any narrow political interests and to voluntarily respond to the popular will."

These organisations include:

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Arab Foundation for Civil Society and Human Right Support, the Arab Penal Reform Organisation, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Centre for Appropriate Communication Techniques, the Centre for Egyptian Women's Legal Aid, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the Habi Centre for Environmental Rights, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, the Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners, the Land Centre for Human Rights, the New Woman Foundation, the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement and the Federation of NGOs Against Violence Against Women.

As the situation develops there will be nervous eyes in Tunisia where the Ennahda (the Muslim Brotherhood under another name will be watching the these developments as a similar division exists in their country and conflicts between the Salafists and modernists, including the trade unions has been on-going for some time.

In separate but related news, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced a setback as an Istanbul court rejected his plans to redevelop Taksim Square which sparked off similar protests in recent weeks. The Daily Telegraph reports:

A court in Istanbul ruled in June, at the height of the protests, that the plans should be put on ice – although the ruling was only published on Wednesday.
“This decision applies to all of the work at Taksim Square,” said Can Atalay, a lawyer for the Chamber of Architects, which brought the lawsuit. The court ruled that the plan violated preservation rules and unacceptably changed the square’s identity.
“The public-works project that was the basis for the work has been cancelled,” he told Reuters.
A fightback against reaction is slowly taking shape across the Middle East, though a dangerous road still lies ahead.


Informative update from CNN on the international repercussions of the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood can be found here:

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