Egypt forms panel to rewrite constitution; fires 2 officials


Cairo, Feb 15 (PTI) The Egyptian military todayconstituted a panel of legal experts, including a member ofthe outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to suggest amendments to theMubarak-era constitution while firing two top securityofficials for their handling of the anti-regime protests.

The eight-member committee that has been entrustedwith the task of studying the constitutional reform would beheaded by Tareq al-Bishry, a retired judge known for hisindependent views and support for a free judiciary during thereign of Hosni Mubarak.

"I have been chosen by the Higher Military Council tohead the committee for constitutional amendments," al-Bishrysaid.

The Supreme Military Council has vowed to rewrite theconstitution within 10-days and submit it to a publicreferendum within two months time.

The Council said in a statement on television that thepanel "must finish its work in a period of no longer than 10days after the date of this decision".

The inclusion of a former lawmaker of the largestopposition group Muslim Brotherhood, Sobhi Saleh, in the panelis a significant message by the new military leadership thathas chosen to begin the political reform process from scratch.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader, meanwhile, said that thegroup will apply to become an official party in the nearfuture once the time is ripe.

The step to set up a panel comes two days after aparliament packed with Mubarak loyalists was dissolved and theconstitution suspended in line with the demands of theprotesters.

The constitution, that now stands suspended, hadprovisions that helped Mubarak and his allies in power, and amajor demand of the protesters was the scrapping of suchguarantees and putting term limits for presidential tenure.

As Egypt took baby-steps towards establishing ademocracy, political unrest mounted in other Arab nations,with Egypt-inspired rallies witnessed in Algeria, Bahrain,Yemen and Iran.

Clashes were witnessed between police and protestersin Iran, where one person was reported killed, while inBahrain another person was killed when security forces usedforce on mourners gathered for a funeral procession for a mankilled in an earlier protest.

The Egyptian military also sacked two top securityofficials for their role in decisions to open fire onanti-Mubarak protesters during the 18-day uprising.

The caretaker government fired the director of publicsecurity at Egypt''s interior ministry, Adly Fayed, and Cairo''ssecurity chief, Ismail El Shaer, Al Jazeera reported.

The dismissals came as the military tries to calmpublic anger against the state''s security forces that wereused by Mubarak to stifle dissent. .

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