Wasat Party leader Sultan released on bail

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Wednesday 29 May 2013

Islamist politician was issued with an arrest warrant on charges of insulting the judiciary

Essam Sultan
Head of the Wasat Party Essam Sultan (Photo:Ahram)

Leading member of the Islamist Wasat Party Essam Sultan, a former MP, was released on bail on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Sultan and requested that the political immunity of Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Sobhi Saleh be lifted, so that the pair could be investigated on allegations that they had insulted the judiciary.

Sultan responded to the arrest warrant on Wednesday, and was released by prosecutors on the same day after posting bail of LE5,000.

The relationship between the Egyptian judiciary and the Islamist government has been strained in recent months, following a series of crises.

The latest source of conflict has been proposed amendments to the judicial authority law submitted by the Islamist-oriented Wasat Party, and endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

The proposed amendments to the law governing judicial roles, presented in April, caused uproar among judges.

The bill reduces the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60, which would effectively pension off about a quarter of Egypt's 13,000 serving judges.

Proponents of the legislative changes argue that the retirement age had been gradually increased from 60 to 70 by the Mubarak regime in an effort to prolong the terms of pro-regime judges.

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