The Administrative Judiciary Court of the State Council postponed a slew of cases which included calls for reversals of the dissolution of the People’s Assembly, a reversal of President Mohamed Morsy’s decision to reinstate it, and new demands for the dissolution of Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly.
The court will resume its proceedings on 17 June, after tensions surrounding each case reached a boiling point between the judicial, executive and military branches of government and the political factions within the elected bodies.
Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters surrounded the State Council building in Dokki shouting chants and holding banners in support of Morsy.
“The people support the president’s decision,” the protesters chanted. They bombarded lawyers and other figures against the presidential decree with shouts of “these are the remnants of the old regime.”
Prominent human rights lawyer and activist Negad El Borai was sprayed with water by protesters on his way into the court building for another case. El Borai had come out against Morsy’s decision.
“The hand that will approach the president’s decision, we will cut it,” said one lawyer inside the court hall.
The court was also reviewing cases calling for the dissolution of the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, as well as the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution. Both were postponed.
Muslim Brotherhood lawyers called on the panel of judges presiding over the cases to recuse themselves from the case addressing the Constituent Assembly, citing a conflict of interest since the same panel ruled to dissolve a previous Constituent Assembly as well.
Presiding judge Ali Fikry responded by adjourning the case, which was followed by shoving matches between Brotherhood lawyers and lawyers who filed the case against the assembly.
The court also postponed a case against the constitutional decree released by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces following the dissolution of the People’s Assembly. SCAF assumed legislative authority after the dissolution and stripped the president of his defence related powers.
One of the plaintiffs, human rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, said he filed the case because constitutional decrees cannot be announced without being subject to popular referendum.
Ali added that the decree was unfair since it stripped the elected president of most of his important powers and gave them to SCAF, an unelected body.
SCAF had formed a National Defence Council right after releasing the decree. The council, which is chaired by the president, but contains 11 military men in contrast to six civilians, and makes decisions through simple majority voting, has the power to declare war as well as take virtually all military and defence related decisions.
Several lawyers and human rights organisations filed cases against the formation of the council with the Administrative Judiciary Court arguing that it leads to military control over the state. The case was postponed to 2 October.