Minister says new emergency law drafted to combat ‘thuggery’

A new emergency law is currently being prepared to enable the country's president to combat thuggery, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida in an interview published on Tuesday.

According to the new law, the president will be entitled to announce a state of emergency for a week to order the arrest of anyone representing a threat to security, the minister said.

He said that the new law would not represent a return to the old emergency law in force under ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

A state of emergency that was declared following the assassination of former president Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 expired at the end of May. Mubarak used the emergency law to suppress political freedoms and persecute opponents.

The minister said that over the coming days, he will discuss proposals to toughen the penal code with a group of human rights advocates and NGOs. The proposals are ostensibly to combat thuggery and riots which, he said, have recently become serious problems.

Mekky also told the newspaper that discussions are being held with senior journalists and media figures about establishing an authority that would regulate the media and impose administrative and financial penalties on violators

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