NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The "stalled" political transition in Egypt can be revitalized only if new lawmakers overturn laws used to curb basic liberties, Human Rights Watch said.
Egyptians, through a series of elections that started last year, have voted for members of the first legislative assembly since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took control after Mubarak stepped down in February.
Human Rights Watch, in a 46-page report outlining recommendations for a new Egyptian Parliament, said SCAF was getting in the way of reform in the country.
"Egypt's stalled transition can be revived only if the new Parliament dismantles Egypt's repressive legal framework, the toolbox the government has relied on for decades to silence journalists, punish political opponents, and stifle civil society," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement from New York.
SCAF faced criticism for the pace of political reforms. Parliamentary elections were conducted much later than promised in the aftermath of the revolution. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said, despite the election of civilian leaders, SCAF would likely maintain some form of authority in the country.
Whitson said as many as 12,000 civilians appeared before military courts since SCAF took power.
Egypt's People's Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, has its first session next Monday.