Egypt's courts partially resume work on Sunday

Sama Osama , Sunday 3 May 2020

A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian courts resumed work on Sunday following suspension since mid-March as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the website of the National Media Authority said.

The head of the Cairo Court of Appeals has decided to resume work at courts to “uphold human rights” of those held in pre-trial detention in many shelved cases.

More than 8,000 criminal cases have been postponed due to the suspension of court proceedings, many of them involving people in pre-trial detention, according to the report

Criminal courts, meanwhile, will operate two days a week, instead of six, and will look into detention renewals, deciding whether to release defendants or keep them in custody.

They will also issue sentences in cases whose final rulings had been postponed, namely in major cases of death sentences or referral to Egypt’s religious authority, the grant mufti, who should give an opinion on any capital sentence.

Courts will “fulfill their legal and national duty” by resuming work while taking all precautionary measures to protect public health. These include regularly sanitising courtrooms and only allowing the defendant and their lawyer to attend the session.

Other courts were to resume work as of Sunday.

The family court will issue sentences only in cases whose final rulings had been deferred over the coronavirus crisis.

The misdemeanor cassation courts will be back to holding hearings, with 60,000 appeals having been suspended since mid-March. However, neither the opponents nor the public will be allowed to attend the sessions.

Egypt has suspended proceedings at all courts on 15 March to limit the large number of people who gather at courts nationwide. Other steps taken by the country to curb the spread of the virus include halting air traffic, shutting mosques and churches, banning public gatherings and suspending classes at universities and schools.

As of Saturday, Egypt had 6,193 confirmed coronavirus cases, with the death toll standing at 415.

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