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Egypt's former justice minister: We refused to oust Morsi

On the decision to summon Egypt's former Justice Minister Advisor Ahmed Suleiman, along with Advisors Ahmad Mekki and Hisham Jenena, for an investigation into their positions on the military coup, Suleiman pointed out that, "The statement has been issued by the Judiciary Independence Front." He added that the Front "is not active politically but supports the constitutional legitimacy that is important for any judiciary."

Regarding their position on the military coup, Suleiman explained to Al-Jazeera Mubasher Egypt that: "We refused to oust President Mohammed Morsi for several reasons. The most important is that he assumed power through free and fair elections, which we had supervised and upon the will of the Egyptian people. The people entrusted us to ensure their votes. The Front's statement called for an inclusive political reconciliation to rid Egypt from its crisis and to stop the bloodshed, and it warned against violence. However, the judiciary has been accused of political activism, a planned charge used by the authorities against those judges whom they wish to eliminate while other judges have done more and yet their acts have been ignored. In 2006 Mekki and Jenena demanded to investigate the facilitation of fraud during elections in the districts they supervised; however they were punished."

He continued: "The Front has complained about adviser Ahmed Al-Zand regarding his appeal to US President Obama to intervene in Egypt's affairs; however no action has been taken against him. We have also provided CDs showing advisors during anti-Morsi demonstrations in Tahrir square while one of them shouted, "The people want to overthrow the regime". And yet no legal action has been taken against them although the case has been forwarded to advisor Hisham Barakat."

Suleiman added: "I did not receive any officially request and neither did Jenena nor Mekki. The three of us did not sign the Front's statement, but we did attend all the discussions about it and we support it in form and substance without any reservation. We respect and appreciate the broad spectrum of Egypt's judges, but the image that appears on the surface is offensive to all of us. Is it possible to imprison a media figure and a teacher and a schoolboy merely because they carry the four-fingered Rabaa symbol? When the Minister of Education summons a schoolgirl because she raised the four-fingered badge, and when the Board of Director of Schools is investigated because students painted the Rabaa slogan on the fence, these practices all indicate mental terrorism against the people. A judge does not necessarily have to be a member of the Judiciary Independence Front to be fair and impartial. The Judiciary Independence Front must not be prosecuted for expressing its opinions in Egypt's matters of national security."

Regarding the group of Rabaa protesters accused of amputating a civilian's finger and torturing him, even though the victim testified to their innocence saying they rescued his life, and whose case has been postponed until December while they remain in custody, Suleiman observed: "The case should have been postponed until the nearest court session to listen to the officer accused of fabricating the case statement. However, I cannot comment on releasing them because the case is still pending prosecution."

Suleiman appealed to the prosecutors to review the necessary legal positions, charges and evidence against all detainees and to speed the release of those whose are proven to be innocent, saying: "the public prosecutor must clarify in the media all the cases in order for the people to know what is really happening, especially the arrest of the news anchorwoman Amani Kamal who carried the four fingered badge, the students and others."

Suleiman noted that demonstrators have been arrested without breaking the law, as peaceful protest is not a crime but a right guaranteed by all laws.

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