Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Egypt's Government to Pass Judiciary law without Consulting Judges

Cairo - Egypt's government on Wednesday approved and sent to parliament a draft law on the authority of the judiciary, setting the stage for a fresh standoff with pro-reform judges who said they were not consulted."

After a meeting today chaired by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the cabinet referred the bill containing amendments to the law on the authority of the judiciary to the People's Assembly and Shura Council (upper house) for debate," the official MENA news agency reported.

"Throughout the preparation of the draft law... the government was eager to listen to all opinions and leanings," it quoted government spokesperson Magdi Radi as telling reporters.

He also claimed the new draft granted greater independence to the judiciary and strengthened its authority, but pro-reformist judges, who have campaigned hard over the past years against the law, were sceptical.

"We did not review the bill," Judge Mahmu Mekki, one of the more prominent faces of the pro-reform campaign, told AFP.

"The truth is that the judges tried to explain their opinion, but the government did not allow them to do so," Mekki added.

He also suggested the judges would continue their campaign for independence that have led to violent confrontations with security forces over the past months. More...

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