Egypt's Military Rulers Criminalize Discrimination

CAIRO-- Egypt's transitional military rulers have issued a decree prohibiting all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of religion.

The step comes about a week after 26 people were killed in clashes involving minority Coptic Christian protesters, the military and others. It was the worst bloodshed since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February.

The decree was one of the longtime demands of the protest movement that has been pushing for political and other reforms in the post-Mubarak transition toward democracy.

The anti-discrimination measure carries a maximum penalty of three months in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 Egyptian pounds, or nearly $17,000.

Hafiz Abou Saada, head of the Egyptian Human Rights Organization, described the decree as a limited but positive symbolic step.