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Sunday, 13 June 2021

Judiciary on the chopping block

The Muslim Brotherhood is not interested in purging, but rather hijacking Egypt's judiciary

Taha Abdel Alim , Wednesday 1 May 2013

Suggesting to reduce the age of retirement for judges is nothing more than an unprecedented and illegal massacre that only aims, and has no other interpretation except, to make the judiciary more Muslim Brotherhood-like by herding the group’s supporters and members into its ranks.

Reversing the acquittals of those who killed and injured during the January 25 Revolution is not the motivation; the judiciary ruled in these cases according to the evidence in front of it, and in the absence of legislation for transitional justice.

The Muslim Brotherhood regime has withheld alleged new evidence it possesses for retrials, thus losing its pretext for firing the prosecutor general and appointing another in a move that broke the law and contradicted the constitution.

The Brotherhood conspired with the transitional authority to betray the revolution, and when it reached power it sanctioned killing and spilling the blood of more martyrs and victims after the "empowerment" project restored the police’s despicable role in suppressing and killing regime opponents.

The Muslim Brotherhood, after morphing from victim to oppressor, continued committing the crimes of the previous regime and wants to avoid prosecuting perpetrators, instigators and those responsible for them under its reign.

I have written before, and I repeat, the Muslim Brotherhood imagined itself at a unique and historic opportunity to hijack the governance of Egypt and rebuild it. Not to implement a renaissance project, which does not exist, but to implement its domination project.

The Brotherhood’s attack on the judiciary is part of its plot to control state institutions, whether the army, police, intelligence, judiciary, oversight bodies, as well as terrorise Al-Azhar, muzzle the media, civil groups, labour unions and opposition parties.

All this to quickly build a tyrannical state along the lines of Iran’s rule of the clergy, motivated by delusions that exceed the capabilities of the Brotherhood, its allies and supporters, and contradict the reality in Egypt and the world.

Accordingly, it proposed legislation that contradicts the constitution in the Shura Council – which already does not represent the nation of Egypt because of the small number of voters who cast their ballots and the fact it is immune to certain dissolution based on a retracted constitutional declaration, then the siege of the Higher Constitutional Court (HCC) and terrorising its judges to prevent them from issuing a ruling annulling the Shura Council. The Shura carries out the duties of parliament, including issuing legislation and approving the state budget, which contradicts the text of the flawed and divisive constitution.

The independence of the judiciary is based on the principle of the separation of powers and striking a balance between them in a democratic law-abiding state. It aims to protect the judiciary against attempts by the executive power to contain it or make it submissive under authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist regimes.

I need only mention three facts.

First, there are basic principles regarding the independence of the judiciary adopted by the seventh UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders and ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1985. These include that the state must guarantee the independence of the judiciary as stipulated by law, the constitution and judiciary. The judiciary must also adjudicate based on the facts and law without inducement, threat or intervention by any other body for any reason whatsoever.

Court rulings shall not be revised and no judicial bodies shall be created to usurp the judicial powers of ordinary courts. Also, each member country shall provide the necessary resources to enable the judiciary to perform its duties properly.

The second fact is the principles of the abovementioned international charters also establish that members of the judiciary, like all other citizens, have the right to freedom of expression and belief. They are also allowed to form societies and groups to represent their interests and protect their judicial independence. Judges should not be discriminated against when being chosen or appointed to judicial posts based on race, colour, gender, religion, social origins, political or other views. The law should also guarantee for judges the conditions for their service, pension, independence, security and appropriate wages and retirement age.

Judges also have the privilege of keeping their positions until they reach the legal age of retirement or the end of their term. Promotions of judges should be based on competence, integrity and experience and judges are not subject to suspension or dismissal except for reasons of incapacity or conduct that disqualifies them from performing their job. Accordingly, judges continue to serve until they wish to retire or until they reach the age of 70 in the UK, 75 years in Canada and for life in the US.

The third fact is the Muslim Brotherhood in its pursuit of dominance has violated the principle of the separation of powers, judicial independence, the rule of law, and international conventions that are binding for Egypt. The decree by the elected civilian president ignored court rulings by reinstating the dissolved parliament as per a ruling by the HCC. He then issued a constitutional declaration protecting his decisions, the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council against any court rulings. He also dismissed the prosecutor general and appointed another in an illegal and unconstitutional move.

The Muslim Brotherhood put the Higher Constitutional Court under siege and terrorised its judges so they would sanction what the constitutional declaration stipulated, though he retracted it under pressure from demonstrators in the second wave of the revolution. The flawed constitution rescinded central duties of the HCC, including a vindictive article to remove specific judges.

The victims of extraordinary trials have become the oppressors who threaten their opponents with extraordinary procedures. In preparation for issuing a law for the slaughter of the judiciary, the Muslim Brotherhood sponsored the Friday of Intimidating the Judiciary, then violated the constitution it passed stealthily in the dead of night by submitting the draft law on the judiciary to the Shura Council, although it does not represent the nation or have the sole mandate to legislate.

In short, there is no such thing as an independent judiciary according to the plot to empower the Muslim Brotherhood and create a state of clergy and a totalitarian and exclusionary caliphate. This is all confirmed in the letter of resignation of the president’s legal adviser, including attempts to annihilate the judiciary, violate its independence, and challenge its rulings.

But to them I say, the foundations of tyranny have crumbled and neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor anyone else will ever be able to build them up again.

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