By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Current Minister of Justice Mamdouh Marei should be removed as he’s part of the ousted regime, judges and legal specialists said Wednesday, as they reiterated demands for independence.
The Independence of the Judiciary Judges Group at the Judges Club demanded in a statement the formation of a government approved by the public and canceling all authorities of the minister of justice that allowed him to interfere in judicial affairs and transferring them to the Supreme Judicial Council.
Meanwhile, legal specialists protested in front of the cabinet demanding the resignation of Marei and the issuance of legal specialists’ law as an independent authority.
“We have been demanding legal protection through this law to ensure the objectivity of our reports but there has been no response from the minister,” said Mahmoud Qobeisy, head of the Alexandria legal specialists’ office.
“There is a cycle of corruption in the ministry and the minister is at its top helped by assistants he appointed himself,” he added.
Judges’ demands included the modification of political participation law to allow complete judicial supervision over elections, canceling the posts of state minister for legal affairs and the legislative administration at the ministry, and reviewing authorities given to the presidency to prevent interference with other state institutions.
They also called for dissolving the Shoura Council and substituting it with specialized councils and research centers; integration of the Supreme Constitutional Court, State Council and administrative prosecution under the helm of the Judicial Authority; and switching the affiliation of monitoring institutions to the judicial authority instead of the executive arm of the state.
“These aren’t sector demands but they aim at achieving judicial independence which will benefit everyone,” said Ashraf Elewa, board member of the Judges’ Club and member Independence of the Judiciary group.
The group was prevented from hold its press conference inside the club and had to hold it at its garden instead.
“The head of the club, Ahmed Al-Zend, gave orders to prevent us from holding the press conference; this is the judges’ club not his,” Elewa said.
The group is calling for the resignation of Al-Zend due to his previous stances “against the revolution”.
Al-Zend had previously said that the club couldn’t take any stance before Hosni Mubarak’s resignation due to the critical status of judges; however, everyone was free to express their opinion.
Al-Zend said that judges must collect 9,000 signatures to discharge him from his post.
“He only spoke after the revolution to conform to public opinion but his previous stances are known and he was backed by the state in the previous elections,” Elewa said.
A general assembly for the Judges Club is set to take place on March 18; a number of judges are suggesting putting Al-Zend’s resignation on its agenda.
Hesham Genena, head of the group and Al-Zend’s rival at the previous elections, indicated that this wasn’t about personal conflicts, but “the wellbeing of all judges,”
The group demanded in its statement the formation of independent judicial committees to investigate corruption cases.
Legal specialists previously offered their expertise to help in investigations.
“We must enjoy legal protection in order to investigate corruption cases objectively and without external pressures,” Al-Qobeisy said.
Analysts say that the judicial authority is the only authority to have remained intact after dissolving both the executive and legislative authorities and warned of rifts within it.