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News Link • Government

Syria 'lifts emergency law'

• english.aljazeera.net

Syria's government has passed a bill lifting the country's emergency law, in place for 48 years, just hours after security forces fired on protesters.

Tuesday's move is a key demand of pro-reform demonstrators who have been holding protests across the country for weeks.

A senior lawyer said Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, was yet to sign the legislation, but that his signature was a formality.

According to the country's official SANA news agency the government also abolished the state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, and approved a new law allowing the right to peaceful protests.

However the interior ministry also passed a law that says citizens must obtain permission to demonstrate, the agency said, hours after the ministry imposed a total ban on political gatherings.

Syria's emergency law gave the government a free hand to arrest people without charge and extended the state's authority into virtually every aspect of citizens' lives.

 

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