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Govmnt. Forces Judges to Cancel Meeting With US Rights Group
A group of Egyptian judges that has been pushing for more judicial independence said yesterday it had cancelled a meeting with a visiting Human Rights Watch delegation because of government pressure. The board of the Judges’ Club, whose members have openly criticised abuses in last year’s parliamentary elections, had been due to meet the rights group tomorrow. Judges’ Club Presi
Tuesday, April 4,2006 00:00
by Khaleej Times

A group of Egyptian judges that has been pushing for more judicial independence said yesterday it had cancelled a meeting with a visiting Human Rights Watch delegation because of government pressure.

The board of the Judges’ Club, whose members have openly criticised abuses in last year’s parliamentary elections, had been due to meet the rights group tomorrow.

Judges’ Club President Zakaria Abdel Aziz said Justice Minister Mahmoud Aboul Leil had told him the government did not want the meeting to take place.

“The justice minister stated the government’s desire that this meeting not take place,” Abdel Aziz said. A government spokesman had no comment.

Human Rights Watch confirmed the meeting had been cancelled and denied it was soft on the US and Israeli governments.

“This is part of a campaign to harass and intimidate the one independent voice in the country for fear of what they might say to us,” Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director for the group’s Middle East and North Africa division, said.

“Anyone who knows our work knows that we cover not only the conduct of Arab governments but also of the Israeli and US governments in the occupied Palestinian territories and Iraq.” The Judges’ Club, an informal and independent organisation, has been outspoken in its calls for judicial independence.

At a meeting in March, the Judges’ Club stood by four colleagues summoned for questioning about their comments on last year’s elections and voted against any concessions to the government on a draft law reorganising the judiciary.

In the elections, the ruling party maintained its large majority in parliament.


Posted in Human Rights , Judges Activites  
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