Rights groups reject Al-Sisi’s “popular mandate”

By Fatma khaled

Rights groups expressed concern over Defence Minister Abdul Fatah Al-Sissi’s call for citizens to take the streets to mandate the army and police in their fight against “violence and terrorism”, in a Thursday statement.

The statement signed by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Misryon  Against Religious Discrimination (MARD) and others, stated the current legislation already criminalises violent acts and there is no need for a popular mandate to allow police and army to act outside the law.

The rights groups emphasised that deterring terrorism acts in areas such as Sinai, doesn’t require what they described as an “extralegal mandate” but rather the government’s support to state institutions upholding the rule of law.

The groups said the police’s actions since the January 25th Revolution raised suspicions that they are applying selective policing, since they often withdraw from places where violence is expected to break out.

The groups said the use of the law as a tool of oppression during Mubarak’s regime contributed to the escalation of violence and created a precedent that continued during Mohamed Morsi’s presidency.

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