Egypt Independent

Update: Judge rejects criticism of judiciary, lashes out at Parliament

Judge Ahmed al-Zend

, head of the Egyptian Judges Club, condemned negative reactions against the verdict issued last Saturday against former President Hosni Mubarak and former regime officials.

Zend held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to denounce criticisms made by Parliament and the public.

During the press conference, Zend showed videos of MPs commenting on the verdict during a parliamentary session, and said that the judges will stop work if these incidents of libel and slander are not investigated. He threatened that 4,000 judges would refuse to supervise the second round of the presidential election that is scheduled for 16 and 17 June.

“Had we known the parliamentary election would bring these people to the legislature, we would not have supervised it,” Zend said at a press conference.

“The judges will not allow those lawmakers to amend the judiciary law,” Zend said in a sharp tone. “It is none of their concern.”

Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatny called Zend’s statements “excessive.”

The Freedom and Justice Party said on its Facebook page that Katatny reiterated Parliament’s inherent power to legislate, and called on Hossam al-Gheriany, the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, to clarify the judges' position in light of Zend’s statements.

Katatny also said that Parliament respects the executive power and the judiciary, which plays a significant role in establishing justice and enforcing the rule of law.

Zend said that two judges who commented on Mubarak's verdict have had their membership frozen at the general assembly, have been referred to interrogation, and should be punished.

He said claims would be filed against those who criticized the verdict at the general prosecutor’s office Saturday.

Zend called on prosecutors to denounce the issue, noting that the heads of the judges’ clubs will hold a meeting to discuss the matter. He said that several forms of recourse are possible, including striking, refusing to supervise the presidential elections and internationalizing the issue.

“We will no longer have secrets. From now on Egypt has a new judiciary, a judiciary that defends judges according to the constitution and the law,” Zend stated.

He stressed that from now on judges will have an active role in determining the future of the country. He added that the judiciary will continue to defend the revolution. “We shall not rest until we bring to justice the killers of demonstrators and those who burned down the prisons and the offices of the prosecutors,” he said.

Zend directed his words to those who disrespect the Egyptian judiciary, saying, “When you cross the limit, we will break your legs.”

He said judges work in difficult conditions. “We are not guarded in the courts and must face acts of thuggery,” he said. “But we work for the interest of the people and will not let them down.”

He said these fierce attacks on the Egyptian legal system are systematic, and that there are “hidden hands behind it.” Zend added that the judges are working under very poor conditions.

Zend said Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly received life sentences, and condemned those who called the trial a “farce.” He noted that Judge Ahmed Refaat issued the verdict according to the evidence he was shown.

Zend defended Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, saying, “Abdel Meguid Mahmoud represents all the judiciary bodies, and they [people who criticize him] will not be able to affect him.”

Zend claimed that the general prosecution had duly carried out its responsibilities in the case.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm