Boring Albeit Necessary Law Lesson
Have no doubt about it: Alaa, and Droubi were both detained because of disregard to a law they went out trying to defend it, and to support people who still had respect to it (the judges).
But an important question must be answered: What does the law actually says? What does it say about the rights of people to assemble and voice their opinion?
I was thinking about that, because one commentator (I guess American) was dubious about whether the Egyptian law actually ensured the right of those detained protestors to freedom of speech and assembly, and how it is all too 'western' to be relevant to Egypt.
Here is what the Egyptian constitution says in Chapter 3: Public Freedoms, Rights, and Duties:
Art.41: Individual freedom is a natural right not subject to violation except in cases of flagrante delicto. No person may be arrested, inspected, detained or have his freedom restricted in any way or be prevented from free movement except by an order necessitated by investigations and the preservation of public security. This order shall be given by the competent judge or the Public Prosecution in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Art.42: Any citizen arrested, detained or whose freedom is restricted shall be treated in a manner concomitant with the preservation of his dignity. No physical or moral harm is to be inflicted upon him. He may not be detained or imprisoned except in places defined by laws organizing prisons. If a confession is proved to have been made by a person under any of the aforementioned forms of duress or coercion, it shall be considered invalid and futile.
Art.47: Freedom of opinion shall be guaranteed. Every individual shall have the right to express his opinion and to publicise it verbally, in writing, by photography or by other means of expression within the limits of the law. Self criticism and constructive criticism shall guarantee the safety of the national structure.
Art.54: Citizens shall have the right to peaceful and unarmed private assembly, without the need for prior notice. Such private meetings should not be attended by security men. Public meetings, processions and gatherings shall be allowed within the limits of the law.
Now, we all know that the emergency law annulled nearly every single word you just read.
I was actually trying to find the text of the law, and the closest I got was that Arabic text (English m/t but isn't entirely decipherable). To tell you the truth, I was horrified! Not that I ever imagined that any text can be so bleak, but to think that there were actual representatives cheering for that law in the People's Assembly chamber last week goes to show how absolutely corrupt and rotten this whole thing had become.
Just read this:
The President is entitled to establishing restrictions on the freedom of persons to meet, move, reside, and or pass through certain places in certain times and the arrest of suspects dangerous to the security and public order, arrest and licensing in the search of persons and premises without compliance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as assigning anyone to perform any kind of work.
Kings don't have it that easy for God's sake!
On another, albeit related note, I knew a guy who was arrested during the Anti-American demonstrations that erupted after Iraq invasion in 2003. The guy was arrested for the 'standard' 15 days. But during those 15 days we couldn't know anything about his whereabouts, his status, or how he was treated. After he was released, he told us that there weren't any torturing, just the usual police harshness. It seems rather peculiar that this time we're able to know how badly the detainees are treated, how severe the torturing is, and how horrible their conditions are. I wouldn't be surprised if a video even 'leaked' out of one of those prisons.
Because that is exactly what the regime is trying to do. Now that the protests are getting traction (especially with the judges support), the regime is desperately trying to scare people from joining in. It's a scare tactic and it will only succeed if people were actually scared!
I hope this gives you ideas!