An Egyptian Court Just Struck Down Part of a Repressive New Law. Here’s What that Means

Source: Carnegie Endowment
Author(s): Nathan J. Brown, Amr Hamzawy

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Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) struck down a portion of the country’s protest law this week — one issued by decree by its own chief justice (then-interim president) in 2013. When that law was issued, Egyptian officials explained that the intent and content of the law was no different from that in liberal democracies, all of which allow demonstrations but place the burden on public authorities to ensure that they do not take place in a manner that threatens the public order.

The text of the law did bear resemblance to those of liberal democratic systems. But the law was written and applied with vague standards, draconian punishments, activists reluctant to “notify” authorities as required and prosecutors extremely zealous. Essentially, it became part of an effective legalization of authoritarianism in the country, one that shuts down almost any avenue for organized expressions of dissent…

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