Friday protests are insult to magistrates: Supreme Judicial Council

Ahram Online, Saturday 20 Apr 2013

Egypt's highest judicial authority describes Friday's Muslim Brotherhood protest demanding judiciary purge as a 'grave insult' to the institution

An Egyptian man throws a stone during clashes between rival groups of protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 19, 2013 (Photo: AP)

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), Egypt's highest judicial authority, denounced Friday's protest to demand judiciary purge, organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails.

The council held an emergency meeting Saturday to discuss its stance on the protest at Cairo's High Court, which turned into clashes between Islamist protesters and unknown opponents, leaving at least 87 injured.

The council said in a statement following the meeting that the "unprecedented rallies calling for a supposed 'purge of the judiciary' carried a grave insult to the judicial authority and all Egyptian judges."

"Egyptian judges have been and always will be the refuge to all those who have been wronged, they are only concerned with properly applying the law. Anyone who has been wronged by a verdict can always appeal with the legally drawn rules," read the statement.

"Violations may have been committed by some judges, but there is a system of accountability to investigate these violations. There is no need to disrupt public harmony and target the independence of the judiciary," the statement continued.

In a conflict ongoing for months, supporters of President Morsi accused the judiciary of blocking vital reforms and being loyal to former president Hosni Mubarak, following a series of acquittals of Mubarak-era figures in trials pertaining to political and economic corruption after the 25 January uprising.

For its part, the judiciary had accused President Morsi of attempting to retrain judicial independence and replace judges with Brotherhood sympathisers, especially after he appointed Judge Talaat Abdallah last November as prosecutor-general, replacing Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud. The judges also said President Morsi's move was illegal on grounds that the only body that has the authority to appoint the prosecutor-general is the SJC. 

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