Egypt’s military confirms Mubarak travel ban
CAIRO — Egypt’s military command said on Monday that the ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, was banned from leaving the country, and that it would soon lift a detested emergency law, among a number of announcements seemingly intended to shore up diminishing support for the armed forces’ council ruling the nation.
Members of the military command held a news conference at the Armed Forces Media Center in the Heliopolis district to announce its decision that parliamentary elections would be held in September, meeting the demands of some opposition leaders who wanted more time to organize political parties. Egypt’s presidential election, originally scheduled for August, would also be postponed, but the military did not announce a new date.
Military leaders used the event to venture into a variety of other issues, including making a statement — the first by the military itself — that Mubarak was prohibited from leaving the country, even for medical tests.
There have been reports that he had fled to Saudi Arabia, which have stirred public resentment against the military. The military says Mubarak has been staying in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik.
“People have been feeling a bit deceived about the revolution,” said Hossam Issa, a law professor at Ain Shams University, reflecting an opinion that has gained greater currency in recent days. “People have been meeting everywhere to discuss what is to be done, and these announcements will cut short another million-man march.”
The military command, which has ruled Egypt by decree since Mubarak was forced from power by a popular uprising, is also facing repeated charges that it has resorted to the kind of brutal and degrading police tactics used during Mubarak’s tenure. Protesters taken into custody by the military have described being subject to torture and unfair trials. Woman held by the military have charged that they were subjected to so-called virginity tests — involving physical examinations — while in custody.
Dressed in their olive-green uniforms, the military representatives of the secretive ruling council said any charges of abuse would be investigated, while insisting that most such allegations were the result of rumors.
The military council also said that it had adopted a relatively liberal election law that preserved the ban on religious parties, but would still allow groups like the Brotherhood to form parties that do not limit membership based on religion and have a nonreligious platform.