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As presidential elections loom Sisi moves to control judiciary

August 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi delivers a speech in Cairo, on 8 June, 2014 [Egyptian Presidency/ApaImages]

A few months before the presidential elections Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi is tightening his grip over the judiciary by carrying out an extreme wave of transfers and promotions, Rasd said yesterday.

The Supreme Judicial Council has approved the transfers and promotions of 2,000 judges, lawyers and heads of courts, noting that this move will help Al-Sisi gain full control of the judiciary.

The new changes caused wide-spread controversy among the lawyers of the administrative judicial committee who opposed Al-Sisi’s concession of the Egyptian islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

The Court of Cassation, which is expected to have a big role in the near future as it will review the death sentences issued against the opposition, will also be affected as 24 deputies were appointed as head of the court. These are considered the largest changes in judicial history in Egypt.

Al-Sisi plans to consolidate his control over the judiciary starting with the approval of the judicial authority law, which gives him the power to choose the heads of judicial committees. This was followed by a number of nominations by Al-Sisi that caused anger among the judges.

Rasd said that these decisions were an application of the judicial authority law number 13, which the parliament passed on 26 April. The judges opposed that law, saying that it would end judicial independence and the principle of separation between authorities.

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Rights activist and lawyer Jamal Eid said that the modification approved by parliament was part of Al-Sisi’s plan to control the judiciary after he had already controlled other institutions in the country.

He told Rasd that Al-Sisi recognised that he must take such measures after the ruling of the administrative judiciary regarding Tiran and Sanafir. Egypt’s high administrative court annulled the transfer of the two Red Sea islands but the parliament said it would disregard any court ruling on the issue.

Eid reiterated that Al-Sisi now controls the parliament, the government and the judiciary.