Four Prominent Judges Stripped of Their Immunity

 Amidst the furor gripping the Muslim world over the insulting cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him, four capitals in three continents witnessed four incidents, in a way, related to freedom of expression and the reaction is, to say the least, telling.

In the Egyptian capital Cairo, four prominent judges were stripped off their immunity on Wednesday, February 15, as a first step for them to face questioning in the state security court over charges they made of fraud in Egypt’s legislative elections.

Three of them are accused by the regime of speaking to the press about the involvement of fellow judges in electoral fraud during the parliamentary elections last November and December, while the charge of the fourth judge is that he had sent a letter to the prosecutor general’s office asking for investigating fraud cases in Damanhur province.

The month-long election in Egypt has been marred by vote rigging, vote buying, intimidation of voters by security forces and state-sponsored violence that killed over a dozen citizens and injured hundreds others.

Reports of human rights groups and foreign diplomats, in addition to EU and US statements, have all decried the undemocratic practices that marred the elections.

Large numbers of judges manning polling stations have expressed their disgust at the state-sponsored practices and one of the four judges told reporters that the lifting of immunity was an act of “revenge” for talking to the press.