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Egypt bans judiciary members from media appearance, even on private social media accounts

In this photo illustration the logos of social media applications TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitch on September 30, 2021 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]
In this photo illustration the logos of social media applications TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitch on September 30, 2021 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]

A senior court in Egypt has banned judges and public prosecutors from speaking, writing or appearing in print, audio or video media, including all social media platforms, in their personal or professional capacities, no matter what the subject matter, Arabi 21 has reported. Disciplinary action is threatened if anyone breaks the ban, based on the Judicial Authority Law.

Judges and politicians who spoke to Arabi 21 rejected the decision issued by the highest judicial authority, which is now apparently under the control of the political and security authorities. The authority to appoint senior judicial figures is now exclusively in the hands of the head of the coup authority, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The Sisi regime has been interfering in the work of the judicial authorities since the July 2013 coup. The latest such interference was the decision to add a military judge to the Constitutional Court in an unprecedented move that some described as creating an arm of the military within the court.

In July, the head of the Military Judiciary Authority, Salah Al-Ruwaini, was sworn into his new position as Vice-President of the Constitutional Court. He is the first major general in the armed forces to join the court since its establishment in 1979. The regime head paved the way for this unprecedented step in Egyptian judicial history in 2019, by making amendments to the law that allow the inclusion of military officers in the civil court.

In February 2022, Sisi appointed a Coptic judge, Counsellor Boulos Fahmy, to head the Supreme Constitutional Court. It was the first time that a Copt had been appointed to the position, although he was fourth in line for the job. Some regarded this as a violation of the principle of judicial independence.

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