Egypt judges seek army protection

Egypt judges seek army protection
 Egyptian judges have called for army interference to protect voters against violence and intimidation, saying the police are incapable of securing a smooth electoral process.

In an unprecedented move in Egyptian history, the Club of Egypt’s Judges requested that the government’s committee for elections seek the help of the army to protect electoral teams and their heads after they had been harassed and attacked in the second phase of general elections held last week.

A statement by the club, viewed as the judges’ syndicate, said “the aggressions that targeted judges in the second phase of the elections leave no doubt that the police forces are either incapable or reluctant to fulfill their duty.”

“That is why,” the statement went on, “the Club of Judges requests the Higher Committee for Elections seek the assistance of the armed forces to secure a smooth electoral process as stipulated by article 26 of the 1956 Law 73.”

The government has so far refrained from responding to the judges’ demand, and officials have refused to comment.

The second phase of Egypt’s three-phased elections held last Sunday was marred by violence in which two people were killed and dozens injured amid tight competition between the ruling National Democratic Party and the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Organization.

Brotherhood official Issam Aryan said the Judges’ request for army protection “reflects the Egyptian government’s incapacity to protect the electoral process which was marred by acts of violence and intimidation.

“Reaching the point where the judges ask for the protection of the army is a very dangerous matter and indicates the government is not capable of fulfilling its role,” Aryan told United Press International.

A second round of the second electoral phase is slated on Nov. 26 and the third and last phase of the poll will be held on Dec. 1.