By Tamir Moustafa Reposted from Jurist.
Late last month, the Egyptian government extended its emergency law for another two-year period, this time through May of 2010. The emergency law, which has been in force almost continuously for the past half century, is one of the principal ways that the Egyptian government maintains its control over opposition. Among other measures, the emergency law prohibits public gatherings, enables the police to detain citizens without charge, and provides for trial before emergency state security courts.
Like clockwork, this state of emergency has been continuously extended in order to maintain the regime’s grip on power. However, the periodic renewal of emergency powers may finally be in its last cycle for the first time in a half-century. You might think that pro-democracy advocates are celebrating in the streets of Cairo, but they are not.