Tension Flares up between Morsi and the Judges in Egypt, and the State’s Security Court Arrests Children in Jordan
– Tension flared up between the President of the Republic and the Judges after a constitutional declaration issued by Morsi including the main following points: conducting a reinvestigation into the killings and injuries of protestors, and into the terrorism crimes pursuant to the Revolution Protection Law, banning any appeal against the present declaration as well as all the laws and presidential decrees until a new constitution has been ratified and a new parliament has been elected, and granting the President of the Republic the authority to appoint the public prosecutor for a fixed term of four years. The declaration resulted in the retirement of the public prosecutor “Abdel Majid Mahmoud” who took office in 2006 and the appointment of the counselor Talaat Ibrahim, “a main figure of the independence movement”, as new public prosecutor for a four year term. The constitutional declaration raised contradictory reactions at the judicial, popular and political levels.
– At the judicial level, following an extraordinary general assembly attended by the former public prosecutor, the president of the bar association in Egypt and thousands of judges, the Judges Club decided to suspend work in all courts until the constitutional declaration has been abolished, and to cancel the membership of any judge not adhering to the assembly’s decisions. Surprisingly enough, the “Judiciary Independence Movement” (including judges closely-related to the Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki) has in turn refused the declaration’s decisions said to undermine the Judges’ independence. On another note, the “Judges for Egypt” movement presided by Zakariyya Abdel Aziz (former president of the Judges Club) voiced approval of the aforementioned declaration, without any reservations.
– Within this same context, 25 Right Groups have filed lawsuit before the court of administrative justice seeking the annulment of the new constitutional declaration and an emergency stay of execution. The court set a first hearing for December 4th in cases of nullity.
– The Egyptian Presidency unveiled the text of law on the protection of the revolution, a law that provides for reinvestigation into the crimes committed against martyrs and injured protestors of the 25th of January revolution, in case new proof emerges. The law also stipulates the establishment of a special public prosecution with a jurisdictional competence extending over all the republic’s territories to safeguard the revolution.
– The summary court issued a verdict according to which it rejected the request made by the State’s attorney general to ban the broadcasting of a television interview with one of the ousted president Ben Ali’s in-laws. The verdict has even called upon the rejection of pre-censorship imposed on media and running counter the “revolution goals”, especially freedom and dignity. The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists welcomed this leading judicial stand.
– The second hearing in the case of Judge Adel Fathi referred to the Supreme Judicial Council has been held. Judge Fathi is accused of having contravened the duty of discretion through the articles that he published in many newspapers and electronic websites. Following the hearing, the Minister of Justice and Freedoms ordered a further inquiry into the case.
– The Single Judge in criminal proceedings in Beirut Georges Attieh issued a verdict to end all proceedings against the graffiti artist “Semaan Khawam” accused of “law violation” after having been caught painting an army soldier wearing a military uniform (a graffiti) on a wall in the Karantina district. The case made headlines and was considered as spear-heading the request for freedom of expression through graffiti art. Two more activists are facing similar charges before the single judge in criminal proceedings in Beirut, knowing that the next hearing will be held on 17-12-2012.
– The General Assembly of the Libyan Judges Organization expressed by the majority of its members reservations on the draft law related to “Justice Restructuring” presented by the Supreme Judicial Council and submitted to the National Conference. The Assembly stressed the importance of engaging the Judges in the judicial reform process and highlighted the fact that judges must be held accountable and have their responsibilities clearly established “by the judiciary itself” without any interference from the executive and legislative powers.
– Despite all the movements calling for the abolishment of the State’s Security Court, out of doubts questioning its constitutionality, and due to its infringement of the laws and international pacts that Jordan had ratified as a guarantee for civilians rights to a fair trial, 13 juveniles (the youngest being 14 years old) have been brought before the State’s Security Court for illegitimate rallying, undermining of order and stirring up trouble following the government’s decision to raise prices of oil products. Nine out of the 13 juveniles have been released on bail. Such incident is extremely dangerous as it points out violation of child’s rights, thus stressing once again the need for an urgent amendment of the minors’ law, in such a way so as to try minors before juvenile courts, and nothing but those courts.
Prepared by Christelle El-Feghaly