The Egyptian president’s office said on Sunday that Mohammed Morsi has reached an agreement with senior judges to freeze the proposed law that would have forced around a quarter of them to retire. In a statement, President Morsi’s spokesman said that it was also agreed to host a conference in the presidential palace this week to work out a compromise with judges regarding laws that affect the judiciary. “The president said he will personally adopt all of the conference’s recommendations and submit them to the Shura [legislative] Council,” the statement added.
Morsi met the heads of the six highest judicial commissions in Egypt just three days after the Islamist-led Shura Council pushed ahead with a disputed bill that would have lowered the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60. The bill would also prevent presidential decrees issued late last year from being reviewed or overturned by the courts, including Morsi’s decision to appoint a new public prosecutor.
Predictably, President Morsi’s opponents called for protests on the streets of Egyptian cities on Monday to protest against the bill, which they believe only serves the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, they cancelled their planned protests after the agreement was announced.
The Deputy Leader of the National Council for Human Rights, Mohamed Al-Demati, called for the judicial authority draft law to be overturned in order to prevent a crisis between the legislative and judicial authorities. He blamed the “anti-revolutionary powers” for creating the crisis. Any such law, he insisted, has to be preceded by genuine social reconciliation among all groups, parties and authorities.
“Purifying the judicial system is a slogan that was raised during the anti-Mubarak revolution,” noted Al-Demati, “but it undermines the prestige of judiciary.” Meanwhile, on Sunday the Criminal Court refused an appeal filed by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak against his detention for corruption.