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EOHR calls for the release of the detainees in Port Said incidents

Cairo: 22/1/2002

EOHR express its worry about the Interior Minister‘s decree to detain 138 persons following the riot which took place in Port Said on the 1st, 4th, 5th of January 2002.The riot followed the economic decrees regarding the amendments of the customs in the Free Zone of Port Said as an implementation of law no.469of 2001. The General Prosecution accused the demonstrators of inciting riot and calling for assemblies to cause damages to the public and private buildings. Then they were imprisoned 15 days pending investigations. On 8th January 2002 the prosecution set them free on bail. However, contrary to the prosecution resolution to release them which based on the fact that there was no reason to keep them in preventive detention, the ministry of interiors issued a decree to re-detain them due to the emergency law claiming that those people affect the public order. EOHR believes that the decree of the ministry of interiors to use the emergency law is in conflict with the reasons stated when the People's Assembly extended the emergency law in February 2000 that is the emergency law was confined to be used in combating terrorism.

EOHR condemns the acts of causing damages to the public and private buildings and any other kind of violence that threaten and affect these buildings. At the same time, EOHR expresses its concern about the issuance of decrees in the lack of exchanged dialogue between the administrative bodies, the trade representatives, the members of the People's assembly and the local councils of the governorates. Thus that led some traders to demonstrate to confront the amendments of the customs.

EOHR affirms the rights of the citizens to peaceful assembly and the right of expression stated in the International Covenants and the Egyptian Constitution. EOHR asserts the necessity of respecting the judicial decrees and the decrees of the public prosecution in Egypt, which is, part of the judicial authority specially that the prosecution decree followed the interrogation of the defendants and investigation of the evidences. Therefore, the decree of the interior ministry threatens the principle of the jurisdiction of the law which is the only guarantee of the citizens to confront the breaches of the administrative authorities in Egypt.

Thus, EOHR calls for the Egyptian authorities to release the defendants according to the Egyptian Constitution and to respect the human rights principles and values.

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