Wednesday, June 14, 2006

UN Human Rights Experts Urge Egypt's Government to Guarantee Judges' Freedom

Expressing "grave concern" over recent attacks against the judiciary in Egypt and the severe repression of demonstrations supporting the judiciary, three independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Government to guarantee judges' freedom of opinion and expression and judicial independence.

The experts also expressed "serious concern" regarding the Egyptian Government's decision to transfer two Deputy Heads of the Court of Cassation, Judges Mahmoud Mekki and Hisham al-Bastawissi, to the Disciplinary Council, where Judge al-Batawissi was found guilty of disparaging the Supreme Judicial Council and talking to the press about political affairs.

Judge Mekki was cleared of all charges."The independent experts are gravely worried that this decision represents a means to punish Judge al-Batawissi for exercising his right to freedom of expression with regards to the allegations of widespread electoral fraud during the parliamentary elections of 2005 and deter other judges from further action in favour of judicial reform," they said in a statement issued in Geneva.

"In particular, the independent experts are disturbed by the fact that this decision may aim at deterring the other judges whose immunity has also been lifted from continuing their calls for amending the Judicial Authority Law to guarantee the impartiality and the financial and administrative independence of the judiciary." More...

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