According to Constituent Assembly spokesman Mohamed Salmawy, the army rejects the banning of military trials for civilians in the new constitution due to the terrorist threats posed against it.
Salmawy gave these comments in an interview with Al-Hayah satellite channel. He added that there is agreement within the assembly that army-related articles in the constitution will be “transitional articles”. He said that giving the Supreme Council of Armed Forces the right to choose the Minister of Defence is not considered as “an immunisation to the position”.
The spokesman discussed the “controversial articles” in the new constitution: “We will depend on the Supreme Constitutional Court interpretation of the second article.” The second article states that Islamic Sharia is the main principle of legislation. “Article 219 will be omitted, and no similar articles will be added; Al-Nour party showed signs of accepting this,” Salmawy added.
Salmawy said that the constitution will guarantee “absolute freedom of belief” and the eligibility of Christians and Jews to resort to their own religious rules in personal affairs and to build houses of worship. “The state is not responsible for any other religions, but this will not mean that other religious practices are banned,” he stated.
Salmawy said that the freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed with a “notification, not permission”. When asked if this article conflicts with the current draft Protest Law, he said: “If a law conflicts with the constitution, the law will be nullified.”
“The constitution will state that religion and politics are separated, it will state that any political activity on religious grounds is prohibited,” Salmawy said. “Al-Nour party had reservations regarding these concepts, this is their right, but in the end the majority will vote on these articles,” he added.
Regarding the omittance of the term “civil state” in the first constitutional article, Salmawy said: “The term might have been cancelled in the first article, but the rest of the constitutional articles guarantee that Egypt will be a civil state.”
Salmawy announced that 18 “brand new” articles have been added to the constitution to this moment, including articles regarding social justice, human dignity and criminalising discrimination and corruption.
He added that two entities will be formed to combat discrimination and corruption.
“There will be no prison sentences regarding publishing crimes, except in the cases of discrimination, inciting violence, hatred and libel,” Salmawy said.
Regarding Judiciary-related articles, Salmawy said that the assembly “will wait for all judiciary bodies to agree on their articles; if they don’t, we will have to write them ourselves.”
Salmawy rejected the attendance of the assembly’s substitute members in voting sessions. “The legal opinion suggests that voting sessions should only be attended by members who have the right to vote.”
Constituent Assembly member Gaber Nassar told state-owned Al-Ahram on Wednesday that the assembly will discuss the social and economic rights in its Wednesday session.
“Everybody supports these rights, as they are vital for every citizen,” Nassar said.
The Constituent Assembly announced on Tuesday that they have ratified 85 articles in the new constitution.