Egypt Constitutional Court postpones all sessions indefinitely
In response to hundreds outside court building protesting expected verdict dissolving Constituent Assembly and Shura Council, High Constitutional Court declares open-ended strike
Ahram Online , Sunday 2 Dec 2012
Riot police form a cordon as several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi surround the Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday to prevent the judges from entering and ruling on the legitimacy of the nation's Islamist-dominated constituent assembly, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (Photo: AP)
The High Constitutional Court (HCC) declared on Sunday it will freeze all its sessions indefinitely in protest of pressure exerted upon it by supporters of President Mohamed Morsi who gathered outside the court building earlier the same day.
The press statement released by the court Sunday morning condemned the "lies" circulated by the pro-Morsi protesters and their campaign to "taint the court's image" and "twist the truth".
The HCC's decision comes after it was pushed to postpone its decisions on the constitutionality of Egypt's Shura Council (upper house of parliament) and the Constituent Assembly after supporters of the president surrounded the court.
Hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators gathered at the HCC late Saturday as the draft constitution was officially presented to the president by the head of the constitution-drafting body, to demonstrate against the courts expected verdict on the two bodies, which could see both dissolved.
The constitutionality of the Shura Council and the constitution-drafting body are being investigated after Egypt's parliamentary elections law was ruled unconstitutional.
The HCC had earlier ruled against the constitutionality of the lower house of parliament, leading to its dissolution.
On 22 November, President Mohamed Morsi issued a controversial Constitutional Declaration making the two bodies immune to dissolution and protecting his decisions and declarations from judicial appeal.
In response the judges declared a partial strike, saying the declaration infringed upon judicial authority.
The Judges Club refused to recognise the declaration and threatened not to supervise the national referendum on the constitution, which is set to take place on 15 December.
On Friday, thousands took to the streets around the country to condemn the declaration and the constitution.
Islamist groups, meanwhile, rallied on Saturday in mass demonstrations across the country including Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut to back the declaration, the Constitution and to call for the implementation of Sharia law.