Islamists slams judges'constitution referendum boycott threat

Ahram Online , Saturday 10 Nov 2012

Hardline Salafist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya says judges are stirring 'chaos' by threatening to refrain from supervising upcoming constitution referendum if their demands for changes are ignored

"Isn't God the best ruler?" reads the banner held by al-Gamaa Islamya supporters on Tahrir, 9 Novemebr 2011 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya criticised the Judges' Club decision to boycott the judiciaries role in supervising the constitutional plebiscite if the Constituent Assembly continues to ignore their recommendations.

The ultra-conservative Islamist group called the judges' decision a "crime" that would sow dischord across the country, read their Friday night statement.

The club demanded, during an emergency meeting on Thursday, that the judiciary itself draft the section on judicial authorities in order to prevent the Islamist-dominated body from curtailing their powers.

The judges also objected to a proposed article that would limit the prosecutor-general to a four-year, non-renewable term. As it stands, the prosecutor-general remains in office until he retires. 

The Judges' Club argue that matters relating to the prosecutor-general are exclusively under the jurisdiction of the judiciary.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya charges that the judges are "desperately" attempting to keep the current prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud in office, despite increasing demands for his removal.

Egypt has seen top officials and lower-ranking police officers acquitted of charges of violent and deadly crimes against protesters. The recent acquittal of several Mubarak-era officials charged with the death of protesters during the revolution prompted President Mohamed Morsi to attempt to remove Mahmoud, appointed by Mubarak in 2006, from his post.

Following a political tug-of-war, Mahmoud was able to retain his post.

Judge Hossam El-Gheryani, the head of the Constituent Assembly, set 19 November as the deadline for the Assembly to vote on the draft constitution before submitting the charter to a national referendum.

The ongoing debate over the makeup of the constitution-drafting body, however, could prove to be moot, as a court case challenging the constitutionality of Egypt's Constituent Assembly has yet to see a verdict.

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