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Egypt military pledges to lift emergency laws as Mubarak steps down

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces pledged [statement] Friday to lift the country's emergency laws [text, in Arabic; JURIST news archive], which have been in place for nearly 30 years, as soon as circumstances improve. The announcement came shortly before President Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile] resigned, placing the council in charge of affairs of state. The statement, read on national television, also promised that "[t]he Egyptian armed forces are committed to undertaking the legitimate demands of the people and seek to achieve them through following up the implementation of these measures in a timely manner, precisely and firmly until the peaceful transition of power to reach a free society to which people aspire." The council also promised not to prosecute "honourable people who refused corruption and demanded for reform." The announcement of Mubarak's resignation [video] was made on state television by Vice President Omar Suleiman [Al Jazeera profile], following calls for Mubarak's resignation by demonstrators who have been protesting his government for nearly three weeks [Al Jazeera report].

On Tuesday, Suleiman said that Mubarak had approved the formation of a committee to oversee changes [JURIST report] to Egypt's constitution [text]. Egypt's government had reached out to various opposition leaders [JURIST report] since demonstrations erupted in the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and largest Islamic political group in the world and currently banned from Egypt. Cooperation in the constitutional review, the Brotherhood said, would only continue if the current regime continued to meet other demands. These demands included the removal of President Mubarak and the repeal of the emergency laws.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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