Egypt administrative court postpones decision on controversial appeals

Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Jun 2012

Supreme Administrative Court suspends Tuesday's session set to review several recent decisions, including parliament's dissolution and issuance of constitutional addendum

Administrative court adjourn the trial against the parliament dissolving (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court adjourned Tuesday's session scheduled to look into several controversial appeals. The trial was reportedly postponed due to rivalry between lawyers, who argued over whom should speak before the court first.

The appeals filed could again reshape Egypt's political transition. The Court is set to issue verdicts on the constitutionality of the constituent assembly, the dissolution of parliament, the Justice Ministry Decree that allows military personnel  to arrest civilians and the recently issued constitutional addendum issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The four verdicts will dictate much of the authorities assigned to the SCAF, parliament and president in the coming period. The court's decision will decide whether the SCAF has the right to dissolve parliament, whether the assembly tasked to draft Egypt's new constitution will be dissolved, whether the SCAF will take over parliament's legislative authority and its task of forming a new constituent assembly and whether the military will be allowed by law to arrest civilians.

Recent days have witnessed escalating tensions between the ruling SCAF and Muslim Brotherhood, who have the largest share of seats in parliament and whose candidate recently won presidential elections. The Brotherhood made unofficial statements implying they will not accept the SCAF's decision to dissolve parliament based on the High Constitutional Court verdict, which ruled that a third of parliament was elected unconstitutionally.

The Brotherhood together with other political groups have further held mass demonstrations against the SCAF-issued constitutional addendum, now being looked into by the Supreme Administrative Court, in which the military council assigned themselves power of legislation as well as the right to dissolve the constituent assembly and form a new one.     

Rights activists have slammed the Justice Ministry decree, which is also being reviewed in Tuesday's session, allowing the military to arrest civilians for certain crimes, include "crimes and misdemeanours harmful to the government," "possession/use of explosives," "resisting orders issued by those in power or assaulting them," "destruction of public property or historic monuments," "obstructing traffic," "strike-actions at institutions that serve the public interest or assaulting the right to work," and "intimidation and thuggery.”

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