Prominent Egyptian judge tells 'terrorists to go to Turkey and Qatar'

Ahram Online, Friday 12 Sep 2014

Head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend has called on President El-Sisi to bolster protection for judges two days after an assassination attempt against a judge

President of Egypt's Judges Club Ahmad Al-Zend (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Ahmad El-Zend, head of an influential judges' association in Egypt, the Judges Club, launched a verbal attack against "terrorist groups", Turkey, and Qatar in a speech on Friday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported. 

El-Zend was addressing an emergency meeting of the club's members, held to discuss what they described as ongoing terrorist attacks targeting judges. The meeting saw a low turnout, with just a few dozen members in attendance.

On Wednesday, the son of Cairo court appeal judge Mahmoud El-Sayed was killed by unidentified assailants in an apparent assassination attempt against his father, who escaped unharmed.

In his speech, El-Zend lashed out at "terrorists" in reference to Islamist groups who continue to oppose the current regime and are thought to be supported by Turkey and Qatar, two countries with strained relationships with Cairo since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

"Go to Turkey and fill your bellies with money generated by prostitution, and it will lead you to hell. Go to Qatar and kneel at the feet of its rulers so you can obtain the crumbs of humiliation," said El-Zend, addressing "terrorist groups" in his speech.

The prominent judge also called on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to bolster armed protection for judges.

He also called for the sacking of employees of the prosecution and courts who were appointed during Morsi's one-year presidency, describing them as "ticking timebombs" who leak sensitive documents to the enemies of the government.

El-Zend is a long-time foe of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists.

He was a key player in the conflict last year between the judiciary and Islamist parties over proposed changes to the judicial powers law.

The amendments to the law, which were not passed, would have seen the retirement age of judges reduced from 70 to 60, effectively forcing a quarter of Egypt's serving 13,000 judges into early retirement. 

In December 2012, following Morsi's announcement of a constitutional declaration immunising his decrees from judicial litigation, El-Zend announced that Egyptian judges would not be on hand to supervise a constitutional referendum for a charter drafted by an Islamist-dominated parliament under the rule of Mohamed Morsi. 

In January of this year, a bomb was found outside El-Zend’s house. 

The Judges Club is a powerful body that represents over 90 percent of Egypt's judges. In recent months, the club has taken action against those judges they described as supporters of Morsi who were deemed members of or sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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