Egypt’s Emergency Law (Law No. 162 of 1958) began as an effort to suffice the conflict between the Arab forces and the Israelis. In 1980 it was suspended for 18 months but was reinforced through the leadership of Pressident Anwar Sadat in 1981. The law provides executive power which has extended and violated constitutional rights which became an epitome of anti-democracy and hunger to stay in power. The rationality behind the law is said to be of national security, however, as some activists pointed out, the reason for its continuous implementation is not lost and irrelevant.
The emergency law governs a tool for executive power to be bestowed on leaders who went in the opposite direction of protecting its citizens. The Egyptian Emergency Law The emergency law prominently practiced in the modern society of Egypt can be traced from long history, progression, and development through time. The emergency law is a tool which entitles executive power in violating basic human rights of the individual and freedom, which ironically is manifested in Egyptian Constitution (The Egyptian Observer, 2006). History and Amendments
The emergency law, which can also be associated with martial law, was first experienced in Egypt during the First World War. In 1914, as British occupants of Egypt imposed martial law to protect their own vested interest and maintain their forces in the country. Only after the war ended did the British colony evoked the martial ruling. In 1922, Egypt’s own authorities drafted a legislation which sheltered the British government from liability of actions brought about by the martial law ruling (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002a).
Seventeen years passed and Egypt became free of totalitarian regime. However, during the Second World War, martial laws were again imposed. This time, the provision of such ruling is governed by a royal decree in implementation of the Friendship and Alliance Agreement between the Egyptian government and British government (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002a). The royal decree was manifested on August 26, 1936. It was Prime Minister Ali Maher who led the military into monitoring and surveillance of the entire region through assigning regional governors.
There were some members of the Council of Deputies who opposed the sudden implementation of military laws in the country; demanding that Egypt must not be met with aggression. Martial ruling remained effective until May 9, 1945. On May 1948, the Egyptian government re-implemented military laws as a sign of partnership with Arab forces against the attacks of the Israelis. Law 15 of the 1922 military law declaration was changed into Law 73 included in the 1948 amendment.
In 1950, led by Moustafa al-Nahass, military laws were voided except on the regions bordering Palestine and in Sinai. Red Sea governors were also maintained for another year. The Egyptian government again in January 26, 1952 announced the application of military laws throughout the country. This was the fourth time military laws were instilled and al-Nahass military supervisor was bestowed with exceptional powers to execute the law.
The next prime minister, Naguib al-Helalay continued to execute martial law (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002a). In 1952, a Revolution broke in the civil society of Egypt and again, the country was placed under a totalitarian regime. The Civil Constitution of Egypt was abolished on December 1952 and replaced by a movement to instigate revolutionary legitimacy. Led by the Revolutionary Leadership Committee, regions in the country remained governed by its decrees and declarations until January 16, 1956 (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002a).
The Constitution was enacted on July 1956. In 1958, President Gamal Abdel Nasser drafted Emergency Law number 162 which took effect in the year 1967. On the same day, Egypt remembers the Six Day, or Suez War. The state of emergency was implemented until May 15, 1980. Demand against the Emergency Law All classes of society and jurist demanded the lifting of the emergency law in Egypt, especially after the Camp David Agreement signing on September 17, 1978 (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002b).
A peace accord with Israel was signed on March 1979 when the emergency law’s reasonable existence became in question. President Anwar Sadat unable to resist the demand and made to comply with the people’s initiative. However, he remained to be a great believer of military laws’ capacity to protect Egypt from the Israeli force. President Sadat was assassinated and during the transitional government led by Dr. Soufy Abu Taleb, who in turn also adopted the implementation of the emergency law until today (Abu Seada, Hafez, 2002b).