Egypt Criminal law

In 1990 Egypt's court system was otherwise chiefly secular, applying criminal and civil law deriving primarily from the French heritage.

Egypt based its criminal codes and court operations primarily on British, Italian, and Napoleonic models. Criminal court procedures had been significantly modified by the tradition of Islamic legal and social prototypes and the legacy of numerous kinds of courts that formerly existed. The divergent sources and philosophical origins of these laws and the inapplicability of many borrowed Western legal perceptions occasioned difficulties in administering Egyptian law.

The criminal code listed three major categories of crime: contraventions (minor offenses), misdemeanors (offenses punishable by imprisonment or fines), and felonies (offenses punishable by penal servitude or death). Lower courts handled the common of the cases that reached settlement and levied fines in about nine out of ten cases. At their discretion, courts could suspend fines or imprisonment (when a sentence did not exceed one year).
Capital crimes that carried a probable death sentence included murder, manslaughter occurring in the commission of a felony, arson or the use of explosives that caused death, rape, treason, and endangerment of state security. Few convictions for capital crimes, however, resulted in execution.
Egypt's laws require that a detained person be brought before a magistrate and officially charged within forty-eight hours or released. An accused is entitled to post bail and had the right to be defended by legal counsel.
The Emergency Law of 1958 outlined special judicial procedures for some cases. The law enabled authorities to circumvent the increasingly independent regular court system in cases where people were charged with endangering state security. The law applied primarily to Islamic radicals but also covered leftists suspected of political violence, drug smugglers, and illegal currency dealers. It also allowed detention of striking workers, pro-Palestinian student demonstrators, and relatives of fugitives.
The Emergency Law of 1958 authorized the judicial system to detain people without charging them or guaranteeing them due process while an investigation was under way. After thirty days, a detainee could petition the State Security Court to review the case. If the court ordered the detainee's release, the minister of interior had fifteen days to object. If the minister overruled the court's decision, the detainee could petition another State Security Court for release after thirty more days. If the second court supported the detainee's petition, it released the detainee. The minister of interior could, however, simply rearrest the detainee. The government commonly engaged in this practice in cases involving Islamic extremists.

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