AFTE commentary regarding the new law governing demonstrations The law is a new addition to the series of restrictive legislations
AFTE released today its commendatory regarding the draft law organizing demonstrations in public places. The law was submitted by the government to the Shura Council where it is being currently discussed. As soon as the draft was publicly published it was highly criticized in view of the restrictions it imposes on the right to demonstration and its violation of all principles of freedom of expression and right to peaceful gathering, in addition to its violation of the minimum standards required by any legislation organizing exercise of rights and freedoms in a democratic country.
In its commentary AFTE stated that the legal formulation of the draft law lacks the legal language of legislations governing rights and freedoms. Article one of the draft law stipulates the right to demonstration, calling and joining a demonstration and free expression in all its forms. However, all subsequent articles restrict those rights by regulations that deprive the rights from any substance and uses the permits granted by the constitution to the legislator as a means to restrict those rights.
AFTE also highlighted the most restrictive provisions of the draft law, foremost article 11 which bans the use of public speech platforms or tents used for staying overnight; article 15 which bans raising banners or chanting or singing anything that might constitute public slander, defamation of religion, incitement of strife, violence and hatred or include any insult to any of the state institutions going beyond peaceful expression.
In conclusion AFTE recommended the criminalization of any form of force against protesters that might violate their right to health, physical safety and right to life, as well as a clear delineation of the role of security forces in securing lives and property without intervening in the subject matter of the protest.