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Lawyers protest for judicial independence

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Demonstrators in Abbaseya call for the preservation of judicial neutrality

Chairman of the Judges' Club Ahmed Al-Zend (C) in a press conference  following a meeting between a group of senior judges and the presidency at the Judges Club (Photo by: Mohamed Omar)

Chairman of the Judges’ Club Ahmed Al-Zend (C) in a press conference following a meeting between a group of senior judges and the presidency at the Judges Club
(Photo by: Mohamed Omar)

Hundreds of lawyers protested in support of judiciary independence on Tuesday. Demonstrators gathered outside the North Cairo Court in Abbaseya to refuse what they claimed was an attempt by President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to politicise the judiciary.

The protest came amid polarisation between Egypt’s judiciary, executive and legislative branches. President Mohamed Morsi met with senior judges at the presidential palace on Monday to discuss amendments to the Judiciary Law introduced by the Al-Wasat Party in the Shura Council.

Following the meeting, Chairman of the Judges’ Club Ahmed Al-Zind held a press conference and spoke out against amending the Judiciary Law without consultation from the country’s judges. He saw the attempts by legislators to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary as an attempt to further compromise its independence.

“Onslaught on judiciary by sham legislature to smother its independence has begun,” said National Salvation Front (NSF) leader Mohamed ElBaradei on his Twitter account. “Dream of freedom & democracy [is] steadily evaporating.”

The Shura Council is scheduled on Wednesday to discuss amendments to the bill on Wednesday. The NSF has called for protests in front of the council building on the same day in support of judges.


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Al-Jazeera channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and Egyptian journalist Mohamed Baher stand inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison on June 1, 2014. The high-profile case that sparked a global outcry over muzzling of the press is seen as a test of the military-installed government's tolerance of independent media, with activists fearing a return to autocracy three years after the Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. 

(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

UPDATE: Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste out of prison

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