Cabinet backs Egyptian army to make civilian arrests - source

CAIRO Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:46pm IST

A member of Egyptian army washes his leg outside a tent at the Nile river into the Qursaya Island in Cairo January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

A member of Egyptian army washes his leg outside a tent at the Nile river into the Qursaya Island in Cairo January 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's cabinet has approved a draft law giving the army the right to arrest civilians and assist the police in providing security, a cabinet source told Reuters on Monday after the death toll in five days of anti-government protests rose to 50.

The source said the army would "behave like a police force" meaning that any detainees would go to a civilian and not military court. He did not say if the army's right to make arrests extended across Egypt or just applied to Suez Canal cities where the president has declared a state of emergency.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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