Judges brew a storm around appeals court head who interfered in NGO case

Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Mar 2012

After the travel ban was mysteriously lifted, allowing the foreign NGO workers accused of operating in Egypt illegally to leave the country, judges gather to question the head of the appeals court who interfered with due process

The head of the Cairo Appeals Court Judge Abdel Ezz Ibrahim. (Photo: Reuters)

Judges in the Cairo Appeals Court are in the throws of organising a general assembly to address the direct interference of one of its judges in the NGO trial.

Mysteriously, the travel ban was lifted against foreign NGO workers accused of operating illegally in Egypt in a highly-publicised case. As soon as they could, the foreign nationals left the country.

According to Hisham Raouf, the head of one of the appeals courts, he and several other judges are currently collecting signatures from their colleagues to get the support required to hold the general assembly. The assembly will look into the role played by Judge Abdel Ezz Ibrahim, the head of the Cairo Appeals Court, in the NGO case.

Raouf told Ahram Online that the assembly will consider withdrawing confidence from Ibrahim for putting pressure on the judge presiding over the NGO case to step down.

In an interview on state TV's Channel One, Ibrahim admitted to asking Judge Mohamed Shokri to recuse himself from the case. According to Ibrahim, there was a conflict of interest, as Shokri's son works in a legal consultancy office that deals with the US embassy. A statement refuted by judge Shoukri who said he will present an official memo to explain why the three commissioned judges resigned. 

Sixteen of the 43 people facing charges in the NGO trial are US citizens, and were permitted to leave the country on Thursday. NGO workers are being tried for working in Egypt and raising US funds without appropriate authorisation.

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