Mikki: Protests Will Continue Till Gov’t Accepts Judges’ Demands
Makki Affirms To Ikhwanweb:
-Judges Protests Will Continue Till the Government Accepts Our Demands
-Government is the Cause of the Crisis
The Judges Club (Union) organizes today, Thursday, 25 May 2006, a standing protest in order to pressure the Egyptian regime to carry out judges’ demands for the bill guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary to be issued and for the control of the judiciary by the executive power to be ended.
In a special statement to Ikhwanweb, Judicial Counselor Mahmoud Makki- one of the two pro-reform judges that were referred to a disciplinary court for their statements denouncing wide-scale election fraud during the latest legislative elections- said, “the standing protest that we are going to have today was demanded in a decision by the General Assembly of the Judges Club on 17 March 2006. It was going to be a protesting stand in case the demands of judges were not accepted or a stand of thanks in case of government’s approval and implementation of those demands. Now that the government has not responded favourably to any of the judges’ demands, the stand today will be a protesting one.”
Makki pointed out that since more than a year, the Ministry of Justice formed a committee to draft the judiciary bill, in which the President and the Secretary of the Judges Club participated. Following long deliberations between the two parties, both agreed to a number of points although several other points remained at issue.
Makki said, “the most important points of discord between the judiciary bill presented by the government and that submitted by the Judges Club are the make-up of the Higher Judiciary Council. While the Club demands that the council be formed in accordance with the results of free elections, the government, represented by the Ministry of the Interior, wants to appoint members of that council. The reason why we oppose this point is the fact the Club seeks to ensure the absence of any loopholes through which the government may try to control the judiciary, as is the case right now; the government totally controls the judiciary and there is no separation of power between the judiciary and executive powers as stipulated by the Constitution.”
Makki stressed that “the Judges Club will not stand still and will continue its various endeavours to have the judges’ demands carried out. The Judges Club, which is the only elected body for judges and which has held more than ten meetings over the recent period, considers itself in permanent session since over a year.”
As to accusations that the Judges Club acts under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, Makki denied that. “The Club is controlled only by judges who elected the board of directors. There is no role for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the crisis; the main reason for the presence of the MB in the crisis is the government, through its non-response to demands of judges, which opened the way in front of everyone including Muslim Brothers who have the right to utilize the situation to serve their purposes.”
It is to be recalled that the Judges Club set up a committee to investigate charges that some judges had participated in rigging the latest legislative elections. This has heightened the crisis between the government and the Judges Club, leading to referral of Judiciary Counselors Mahmoud Makki and Hisham al-Bastaweesy to a disciplinary court, where Makki was acquitted and al-Bastaweesy was reprimanded.
Demonstrations in support for pro-reform judges were staged and the security forces have repressed them brutally and detained more than 700 protesters, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, Kefaya and Ghad Party.