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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1059, PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS MINISTER ON CT AND PLACES OF WORSHIP LAWS REF: A. CAIRO 858 B. CAIRO 814 Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reason 1.4 (b).

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1059 2009-06-11 12:12 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO6372
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1059 1621242
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111242Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2816
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001059 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NEA FOR FELTMAN/HALE 
NEA/ELA FOR SHAMPAINE/NEWHOUSE/SANTUCCI 
NSC FOR SHAPIRO/KUMAR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2029 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PTER KIRF KDEM EG
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS MINISTER ON CT AND PLACES OF WORSHIP LAWS REF: A. CAIRO 858 B. CAIRO 814 Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reason 1.4 (b).
1.KEY POINTS -- (C) On June 2, Minister of State for Parliamentary and Judicial Affairs Mufeed Shehab told the Ambassador that the Interior Ministry wants a longer pre-trial detention period in the draft counterterrorism (CT) law, and has therefore not approved the text. -- (C) The GOE aims to pass the law by April 2010 when the current State of Emergency expires. -- (C) Shehab said the GOE hopes to pass a law mandating uniform rules on constructing places of worship early in the fall 2009 parliamentary session. The GOE wants to make progress on human rights before the February 2010 UN Universal Periodic Review on Egypt. -- (C) As part of our continuing efforts to press for progress on democracy and governance issues, the Ambassador encouraged swift passage of both draft laws and urged that the CT law protect civil liberties. -------------------------- Draft Counterterrorism Law --------------------------

2.(C) The Ambassador encouraged the GOE to pass a CT law as soon as possible that would preserve civil liberties. She said the U.S. would be conducting quiet conversations with the GOE on advancing the recommendations in the May 2009 quasi-governmental National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) report (ref B). Shehab said that a GOE interagency committee is currently reviewing the draft counterterrorism law to replace the Emergency Law, and that the draft law is "almost finished." Shehab characterized the draft law as "good," but noted that the Interior Ministry has not approved the text because of a disagreement over the permitted length of pre-trial detention. According to Shehab, the MOI wants a longer period for pre-trial detention in the law to allow for interrogation, "especially if a suspect has terrorist ties."

3.(C) Shehab confided he had argued for a 7 day pre-trial detention period with one-to-two possible extensions of additional seven-day periods, but he did not suggest this would be the likely outcome. He noted that the interagency committee has reviewed UN and various countries' practices, and that the UK has a 45-day pre-trial detention period. Shehab noted that the interagency committee is trying to reach a compromise, but needs more time. He said the GOE aims to finish drafting the law by February or March 2010, and then submit it to parliament for passage before April 2010 when the current extended State of Emergency expires.

4.(C) Shehab characterized human rights as "no longer an internal issue," and acknowledged that the GOE wants "legislative achievements" on human rights before the February 2010 UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Egypt. Egypt has taken positive steps on human rights in the past five years, he said. "But it has not been enough. We want to respect human rights more." ------------------------------------- Construction of Places of Worship Law -------------------------------------

5.(C) Shehab is personally reviewing the draft law on uniform construction rules with NCHR Chairman and former UN SYG Boutros-Boutros Ghali and NCHR member and former MP Layla Tekla, but he declined to discuss details of the text. Shehab doubted the law could be passed by the end of the current parliamentary session in June, but was optimistic about passage early during the next term, scheduled to begin in November. The Ambassador urged movement on the law as soon as possible, saying that passage during the current session would be an important statement. SCOBEY