Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Egypt pushes ahead with controversial law

25 April 2013, 11:49

Cairo - Egypt's Islamist-led parliament on Wednesday pushed ahead with a controversial judicial law, despite a rising uproar among judges and the opposition who fear Islamists' control over courts.

The judiciary, with mostly secular-minded professional judges, is seen by many Egyptians as the only remaining buffer against Islamists' monopoly of power following the ouster of authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Since then, Islamist parties have swept most polls and dominated legislative councils and the presidency, the country's top executive post.

The opposition vowed to escalate a campaign against the bill and judges called for emergency meeting later in the day.

Presidential spokesperson Ihab Fahmy told reporters on Wednesday that the Islamist president respects the judges and has assured them that he won't accept an assault on the judiciary.

"The president is keen on containing the judiciary crisis," he said. He added: "The president firmly stressed that it's unacceptable to hurt or encroach on the judiciary."

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi has been fighting with judiciary since he was elected last summer.

Last year, courts disbanded the parliament, dominated by Islamists, over unconstitutionality of the election law and last month challenged a parliamentary elections law.

Morsi has waged a campaign against the judiciary and the country's most prestigious Supreme Constitutional Court, saying judges were plotting conspiracies against his administration.

Dangerous move

At the same time as Fahmy's remarks, the legislative committee of the upper house, which was seated as a transitional parliament, voted in favour of three draft laws on the judiciary proposed by Islamist groups and opened the floor for further debate.

One proposed by Morsi's Freedom and Justice party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood group, drops the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60, which would affect nearly a quarter of Egypt's 13 000 judges and prosecution officials. The draft also would bar the courts from reviewing or overturning the presidential decrees issued by Morsi late last year.

The same proposal mandates that judges oversee polling stations and punish those who refuse to carry their duties - a job that used to be voluntarily. Last year, during the vote over a controversial draft of the country's new constitution that was written by Morsi's allies many judges boycotted the vote to protest a decree that temporarily granted Morsi's decisions immunity from judicial review.

The crisis over the judiciary is a reflection of the deep-polarisation that split the country into proponents and opponents of Muslim Brotherhood rule and that also prompted resignations of top Morsi's aides and advisers.

On Monday, the top legal adviser of Morsi, Mohammed Fouad Gadallah resigned. In his three-page resignation letter, he said he wanted to shed light "on the extent of the danger facing the country" at a time when "personal interests are overwhelming national interests."

Two days earlier, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, an Islamist supporter, submitted his resignation, complaining that Morsi supporters were "trampling" on the judiciary. He too criticised the president's handling of the dispute with the judiciary and failure to reach out to critics.

Fahmy, the presidential spokesperson, told reporters that Morsi accepted Gadallah resignation and refused to comment on the reasons given in the resignation saying, "this is a personal point of view that we don't comment on." He said that Morsi will form a new panel of legal advisers.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Prepare for DP Ruto fight in 2022...

An MP has warned that the Kalenjin Community will not stand back and watch as DP Ruto is duped ahead of the 2022 polls. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be careful who you deal with, DP ...

Watch out for your political future, DP William Ruto has been warned. Read more...