Egypt judge urges end to emergency

A top Egyptian judge has urged the country's state of emergency be lifted before the next presidential and legislative elections.

    Opposition groups and the US have urged political reform

    Aljazeera spoke on Wednesday to Zakariya Abd al-Aziz, head of the court of appeal and president of the Egyptian judges club, who was chosen to form a panel on constitutional reform.

    Human rights organisations also have urged the Egyptian government to lift the emergency law, which they say has been used to infringe on basic rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.

    The emergency law was imposed after the assassination of president Anwar al-Sadat in October 1981 and has been renewed regularly since then.  

    Abd al-Aziz was chosen by nearly 8000 Egyptian judges to form a preparatory committee to study constitutional reform.

    The committee - made up of heads of political parties, syndicates, legal experts and nongovernmental organisations - is charged with setting rules for nominations to the Egyptian presidency.

    Revising the constitution

    Last month Egyptian President Husni Mubarak ordered the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections to be held in September.

    The announcement followed increasing calls for political reform from both Egyptian opposition groups and the United States.

    But many opposition politicians say they expect Mubarak's ruling party to impose rules so strict that no opponent would have a serious chance of winning.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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