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Egyptian Parliament Extends Controversial Emergency Law


Egypt's parliament has extended the country's controversial state of emergency for two years.

Parliament Monday approved the extension by a vote of 305 to 103.

Without parliamentary renewal, the state of emergency, imposed more than 26 years ago, would have expired at the beginning of June.

The emergency law has been in place since the assassination of President Hosni Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981.

The law gives security forces broad powers to arrest and detain suspects without charge, and to restrict civil liberties.

Egypt's opposition and international human rights groups have condemned the law.

They say it allows authorities to detain prisoners for years without trial, and restricts people's freedom to assemble.

During his re-election campaign in 2005, Mr. Mubarak promised to replace the emergency law with anti-terrorism laws. That has not happened.

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern that any anti-terrorism law may simply replicate and institutionalize Egypt's state of emergency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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