Judges charge ex-Brotherhood leader with insulting Egypt's judiciary

Ahram Online, Sunday 7 Apr 2013

Judges from Cairo's Appeal Court accuse former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akef of 'insulting' Egyptian judicial figures in recent interview with Kuwaiti press

A number of Appeal Court judges on Sunday lodged a request with the heads of Egypt's of Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and Court of Cassation for an investigation into charges that former Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mahdi Akef had "insulted" judicial figures.

The judges asked for an impartial investigation into statements made by Akef in a recent interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper in which, the judges claim, Akef insulted certain judicial personages.

"[Egyptian] Judges are corrupt," Akef said in the interview. "They're the ones who dissolved [Egypt's] last parliament [last summer]…because they were afraid of the laws it would adopt."

"This is because the first law that the dissolved parliament was going to approve was one to retire some 3,500 judges above 60 years old," Akef said.

He added: "In order to achieve Egypt's national revival, you must seek out those who support the notion of renaissance. Then you find the court and the judges working to together to dissolve parliament. Corrupt judges don't want Egypt's revival."

"When the president appoints a new prosecutor-general, which is his right under the new constitution, then all of the judges object," Akef asserted.

The telephone interview with the former Brotherhood leader was broadcast in Egypt on Friday by prominent Egyptian television presenters Mahmoud Saad and Mona El-Shazly.

Earlier on Sunday, a number of leading judges called for the resignation of Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah, appointed by President Mohamed Morsi last November.

On 27 March, a court reversed Morsi's decision dismissing Abdullah's predecessor – Mubarak-era prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud – and replacing him with Abdullah.

The decision triggered uproar among Egypt's judiciary and political opposition. A number of opposition figures and groups, along with members of the Egyptian Judges' Club, have called for Abdullah's resignation.

The SJC, which under the new constitution is responsible for appointing Egypt's top prosecutor, does not have the power to dismiss him.

From Saturday evening until early Sunday morning, there were violent clashes between protesters and police outside Egypt's Supreme Court – which houses the prosecutor-general's office – in Cairo's downtown district.

On 17 December, hundreds of judges and prosecutors gathered outside the prosecutor-general's office to protest President Morsi's controversial declaration appointing Abdullah and demand the latter's resignation.

Morsi's 22 November declaration gave him the right to sack Mahmoud, which had previously not been permitted by law. 

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