Egypt's Shura Council approves draft law allowing Morsi to deploy army on streets

# 28 January 2013 19:54 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Egypt's Shura Council (upper house of parliament) approved on Monday a draft law that would allow President Mohamed Morsi to deploy the armed forces on streets to help and support the police in preserving security and protecting vital premises, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"Due to the conditions the country is currently going through, including riotous and violent acts... the government saw it was necessary to amend the first article of the law to extend the participation of the armed forces to preserve security and protect the country's institutions until the upcoming parliamentary election is over," Egypt's official news agency MENA quoted Maged al-Helw, head of the Shura Council's Arab Affairs Committee, as saying.

The first article of the law states that the armed forces shall participate in mission of keeping the security and protecting the vital establishments without any prejudice to its basic mission which is protecting the country territories.

"The Armed Forces shall coordinate with and help the police until the parliamentary elections ends, and it can be evoked by the National Defense Council when it deems necessary," the first article of the law states, adding that the defense minister is responsible for organizing the places of the armed forces personnel and their missions.

In its second article, the law states that the armed forces' men have the authority of the police according to the criminal measures law.

Meanwhile, the law states in the third article that "The armed forces men shall be committed to their mission in arresting and detecting, including referring reports to the allocated prosecution, without any prejudice to the powers of the military justice. The civil judiciary shall review the cases resulted from these reports."

Earlier Monday, Egypt's Cabinet approved the draft law and referred it to the Shura Council, which is temporarily in charge of the country's legislative authority.

Essam al-Erian, a Shura Council member, was quoted by state-run al-Ahram online as saying that the draft law had two articles: the first is to get the armed forces to help secure parliamentary elections and the second to use the armed forces to regain security and protect vital institutions whenever the president deems necessary.

"It doesn't mean that the armed forces will be involved in the political life, but they will help protect the citizens' lives and the state's vital premises," al-Erian said, adding that the step was an attempt of the Cabinet and the Shura Council to contain the country's ongoing turmoil.