Egypt rights group says constitution violated

Egyptian police detain a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood during clashes in Alexandria on January 23, 2014.

Egyptian police detain a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood during clashes in Alexandria on January 23, 2014.

An Egyptian rights group said Tuesday the government has repeatedly violated the country’s new constitution, calling it a crime that must be addressed immediately.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said it recorded violations of more than a dozen articles in the constitution adopted with an overwhelming majority in January and hailed by authorities and experts as “the constitution of freedoms.” The violations were mostly in the freedoms and rights section of the charter.

The government argues that the constitution, an amended version of an earlier Islamist-backed one, enshrined rights and freedoms and provided women and minorities equal treatment. When the government’s human rights record came under attack by many European countries and the United States during a U.N. review earlier this month, the government responded that its constitution was a “victory for human rights and freedoms.”

But critics say authorities are not implementing the constitution and have yet to reform laws to conform.

In its report, ANHRI said the violations included holding detainees in unknown locations for extended periods, as well as torturing detainees while denying them the right to report abuse.

Authorities have rounded up thousands in a security crackdown following the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year.

The group said a woman was denied the opportunity to apply for a job as a teacher despite being qualified because her name, Rabaah, was similar to the name of a former protest area that now symbolizes the Islamist opposition. The group said the violation denied the woman equal opportunities upheld by the charter.

The group said violations also included displacing residents living on the border with the Gaza Strip.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi has also violated the constitution, the group said, by giving himself the right to deport foreign defendants who are still on trial or have been sentenced whenever he deems it in the country’s best interest. This violates the independence of the judiciary, the group said.

“These violations are severe, which requires immediate action to correct this mistake, or rather this crime!” the group said.


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