CAIRO | Egypt’s military ruler on Tuesday decreed a partial lifting of the nation’s hated emergency laws while saying the draconian measures would still apply to crimes committed by “thugs.”
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said in a televised address to the nation that the emergency laws would be lifted effective Wednesday, the first anniversary of the start of the popular uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Field Marshal Tantawi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that he chairs took power when Mr. Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11.
His decision to partially lift the decades-old laws, which give police far-reaching powers, likely would not satisfy rights groups that have been campaigning for the total removal of the laws. They have complained about repeated use by the military of the term “thugs” to justify crackdowns on protesters.
King to receive Hamas leader
AMMAN | Jordan’s king will host the leader of Hamas this weekend, Jordan’s information minister said Tuesday. It will be his first official visit since his expulsion 13 years ago, another sign that Jordan is seeking a more active role in Middle Eastern diplomacy.
The visit is seen as part of Jordan’s effort to engage with previously shunned Islamists, who have been gaining ground across the region in the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled dictators in Egypt and Tunisia.
Islamists make up the most influential opposition in Jordan and have been gaining strength in recent months, though King Abdullah II has the final say in all matters.
Hamas, a militant Islamist Palestinian group, rules the Gaza Strip, but its leader, Khaled Mashaal, is based in Damascus, Syria. He moved there in 1999 after Jordan expelled him for “illicit and harmful” activities. In 1997, he survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Amman.
Earlier this month, Jordan, a strong supporter of peace between the Arabs and Israel, began hosting meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to try to find a way to restart their stalled peace talks.
Moroccan dies of wounds after self-immolation
CASABLANCA | One of two young Moroccans who set themselves on fire in Rabat last week during a protest by unemployed university graduates died of his wounds on Tuesday, a hospital source said.
The two men set themselves alight near an Education Ministry building Wednesday, the latest in a string of self-immolations across the region since the Arab Spring started more than a year ago.