Deputy head of Watan Party Yousry Hamad (Photo: Ahram)
The deputy head of the Salafist Al-Watan Party Yosri Hammad warned Saturday that Egypt's head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend could face the death penalty over comments he made that were interpreted by some as an invitation for foreign intervention in the country.
“Is the law going to be applied on the one who invited Obama in a public speech to interfere in the internal issues of Egypt?” wondered Hammad, a rheumatologist, on his Facebook page, referring to statements made by El-Zend Monday.
El-Zend, who as a judge has legal immunity, criticised recent rallies organised by the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters demanding the purging of judiciary.
During a speech on Monday, the veteran judge said he would present a legal complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the organisers of the anti-judiciary protests as a “crime against humanity.”
El-Zend further called on the US to “take responsiblity and remove the burden experienced by the Egyptian people, especially its judges.”
"I tell Obama, if you are not aware of what is happening in Egypt, this is a big crisis, and if you are aware, that is a bigger crisis,” said El-Zend.
Hammad, who described El-Zend’s comments as a “messing around with the country’s security and judicial independence,” cited Article 77 of Egypt’s penal code that states that whoever deliberately commits an action that would harm the state’s independence, unity or safety is liable for the death pentalty.
The Salafist leader went on to add that Article 77b also states that the death penalty is to be also applied to whoever spied for a foreign country or sought the foreign country to act in ways that would harm Egypt.
Al-Watan Party was among several several Islamist groups that partcipated in “purging of the judiciary“ rallies, including the Salafist Front Al-Asala Party, Al-Raya Party, Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party, the Reform Party and the People's Party.
Notably, the Salafist El-Nour Party — Egypt's second largest Islamist group after the Muslim Brotherhood — refused to join the rallies.
Al-Watan was launched in January after El-Nour Party was rocked with the resignation of 150 of its members.
The conflict that caused the mass withdrawal was primarily between followers of Emad Abdel-Ghafour, former chairman, and followers of cleric Yasser El-Borhami, one of the founders of the Salafist Calling, a movement that spawned El-Nour Party in 2011.