Judges started an open ended sit-in on Friday demanding that the Shura Council refrain from discussing the controversial amendments to the Judiciary Law.
The sit-in is being held in the headquarters of the Judges Club. President of the Club Ahmed El-Zend had said last week that judges and prosecutors will participate in the sit-in by going to work in the morning then joining the sit-in at night until the Shura Council ceases discussion of the proposed amendments to the law.
Mohamed Abdel Hady of the club’s media committee said in a televised phone interview that “a number of judges and members of the general prosecution are gathering at the club to express their objection to what is being schemed regarding the judicial authority”.
“Judges are not in a sit-in to get the attention of the regime,” he explained. “They are doing it to get the attention of the people, the attention of the public.”
The decision to engage in a sit-in came from the Judges Club’s legal defence and youth committees, and was approved by club leadership last week.
As part of their escalation plans, judges will be holding a protest outside the High Court on Monday.
The judges’ predicament started in April when the Shura Council’s Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs approved three proposals for amendments to the Judiciary Law for discussion in plenary. In response, the Judges’ Club was quick to say that it will treat the proposed amendments as if they did not exist.
In an attempt by the presidency to ease the tensions, President Mohamed Morsi called for the Justice Conference, in which judges, members of judicial authorities and clubs as well as legal experts, professors and lawyers were set to draft their own judiciary bill, which the president promised to endorse when presented to the Shura Council.
However, on 15 May, the Judges Club announced that it would boycott the conference because of the Shura Council’s announcement that it will discuss the proposed amendments on 25 May. The Supreme Judiciary Council also announced that it will stop preparations for the conference in response to the announcement.
While dozens were gathered outside the Shura Council in protest of the amendments on 25 May, the Shura Council decided to refer the proposed amendments back to the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs for discussion.