Security forces defuse an improvised bomb at house of prominent Egyptian judge

Ahram Online, Tuesday 21 Jan 2014

Bomb found in front of house of Ahmed El-Zend, head of Egyptian Judges' Club and leader of previous fight against Islamist attempts to limit judicial independence

President of Egypt's Judges Club Ahmad Al-Zend (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Explosives experts on Tuesday were able to defuse an improvised bomb found at Egyptian Judges' Club head Ahmed El-Zend's home in Tanta, Gharbiya Governorate.

Gharbiya's Security Director Osama Bedeir said that he received notification of the bomb in front of El-Zend's home and deployed a security patrol to the area, as well as nearby streets in the city, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The bomb had been planted by unknown assailants.

The Judges' Club is an unofficial body representing over 90 percent of Egypt's judges.

El-Zend, as head of the group, spearheaded a conflict last year between the judiciary and Islamist parties over constitutional amendments proposed by an Islamist-dominated parliament that sought to reduce the retirement age of judges from 70 to 60, effectively forcing a quarter of Egypt's serving 13,000 judges into early retirement.

Islamists argued that they were trying to purge the judiciary of those loyal to former president Hosni Mubarak and his regime.

Judges across the country went on strike, however, accusing then-president Mohamed Morsi of impinging upon the judiciary's independence.

It wasn't El-Zend's first battle with Islamists. In December 2012, he announced that Egyptian judges would not be on hand to supervise a constitutional referendum for a charter drafted by an Islamist-dominated parliament under the rule of Morsi.

That same month, he was pelted with rocks as he left the Judges' Club headquarters in Cairo, forcing him to go to hospital for his injuries.

The Qasr El-Nil misdemeanour court in Cairo has recently postponed to 25 February the trial of three accused of attacking El-Zend.

Morsi and 25 others were referred to a criminal court on Sunday for “insulting the judiciary.”

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