The Day of Judges
|Saturday, April 29,2006 00:00|
Massive demonstrations erupted in downtown Cairo led by the Muslim Brotherhood parliament members in solidarity with the judges during their general assembly session on Thursday April 26, and to protest sending two reformist judges before disciplinary council for criticizing the government during the latest parliamentary elections.
Large number of security forces and riot police surrounded thousands of angry demonstrators to prevent them from reaching the High Court building in central Cairo to show their support for the two judges; Mahmoud Mikki and Hisham Bastawisi. Police attacked several Muslim Brotherhood parliament members and scuffled with protestors who were chanting anti-government slogans and calling for judiciacy independence and an end to emergency laws. Security forces also arrested well-known journalist Mr. Mohamed Abdel Kodos, head of the Freedom Committee of the Journalists’ syndicate, along with more than 20 other individuals during the demonstration. Mr. Abdel Kodos was later released after several hours in custody
Judges refuse government conditions
In another development, the General Assembly of the Judges’ Club in its extraordinary session held today and attended by several parliament members of the MB and a record number of judges, decided to continue the Sit-In by judges and called for another demonstration on May 11, the day the two judges are scheduled to reappear before the Disciplinary Council which will decide whether or not to hold them incompetent to sit before the bench.
Justice Zakaria Abdel Aziz, head of the Judge’s Club, defiant as ever, stated the judges will not be intimidated by the government heavy handed tactics and they will not back down until all their demands are met. He lashed out at the government for "violating the sanctity of the judiciary by beating and humiliating one of our fellow judges". Justice abdel Aziz announced a list of conditions presented by the Justice Ministry to end the standoff . These conditions included,
The judges overwhelmingly rejected the above conditions and concluded their session by stressing on their own demands which mainly include the government’s passing of the new law for judiciary independence proposed by judges over 15 years ago and stalled by government.
23 members of Muslim Brotherhood arrested in Alexandria
Security forces arrested more than 23 young members of the MB at the train station in Alexandria while they were travelling to Cairo to particepate in the rally supporing the judges. Several others were arrested outside Cairo main train station. Police refused to release any of them even after the general prosecutor found no ground for any charges against them.
Meanwhile, security forces prevented thousands of people from around the country from participating in the Cairo rally. Police sealed off train stations in several main cities where the turnout was expected to be high.