01/25/2012, 00.00
EGYPT
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Tahrir Square revolution one year on. State of emergency abolished in Egypt

The head of the Military Council, Hussein Tantawi, has decreed the end of thirty years the law that allowed arrest and detention without trial. Two thousand activists sentenced by military courts in recent months are released. Among them the blogger Maikel Nabil, after 130 days of hunger strike.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people are heading to Tahrir Square (Liberation in Arabic), where since yesterday evening, several hundred activists have pitched tents in the rain, waving national flags. The protesters want to celebrate the first anniversary of the "Jasmine" revolution, which had its centre in Tahrir Square. Prior to January 25 it was called "Day of the police" and was renamed "Day of Revolution" by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In fact, just today the head of the Military Council, Marshal Hussein Tantawi, announced that the law on the state of emergency will be abolished. "I made the decision to end the state of emergency the morning of January 25, 2012," announced the officer. He added, however, that the law would apply in dealing with cases of "hooliganism", without clearly specifying the meaning of his words.

The state of emergency was in force for almost 30 years. The Mubarak regime made a wide and indiscriminate use of it, so as to be constantly criticized by human rights bodies. The state of emergency allowed the circumvention of the civil justice system: anyone could be arrested and imprisoned without trial. The Military Council that took power after the fall of the Rais has been criticized for having made use of this controversial law. In the 30 years of the Mubarak regime, two thousand civilians have been judged under the state of emergency, in the ten months of the Military Council’s hold on power that number has risen to 12 thousand.

Also on the first anniversary of the revolution, Marshal Tantawi has signed a decree for the release of two thousand persons convicted by military courts. Among them Maikel Nabil, (pictured) 26, a blogger sentenced to two years and fined by a military tribunal in December 2011 on charges of insulting the armed forces, publishing false news and disturbance of public peace. The blogger has continued a hunger strike for 130 days, eating only milk and water.

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