Majority of judges won’t supervise referendum, Judges Club head says

Ahmed al-Zend, president of the Judges Club, said on Tuesday the vast majority of judges and prosecutors will decline to supervise the referendum on the new constitution.

In a press conference held at the Judges Club, Zend stressed that judges reject the 22 November constitutional declaration, saying, “The judges are not the only ones rejecting the constitutional declaration — all Egyptians do.”

Zend showed reporters the results of a survey of judges in various governorates regarding participation in the referendum. “2039 judges said ‘no’ and 226 said ‘yes,’” he said. “That’s about 90 percent.”

Zend also denounced repeated attacks on courts. “Even the Supreme Constitutional Court was attacked two days ago, and the State Council was as well while it was hearing appeals demanding the cancellation of the constitutional declaration,” he said.

“The judges and the prosecutors will remain united, and nobody can drive a wedge between them,” he added, blaming the justice minister for pressuring judges to participate in the referendum.

He also stressed his full support for newspapers that did not publish on Tuesday and television channels that would not broadcast on Wednesday in protest against restrictions on free expression in the new constitution.

The State Council’s Judges Club, headed by Judge Hamdy Yassin, deputy head of the State Council, announced Tuesday that it would refuse to supervise the referendum on15 December.  

However, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the Special Council, which is the highest administrative authority of the State Council, on Monday agreed to supervise the referendum on Egypt’s draft constitution.

President Mohamed Morsy called for the referendum during a speech before the Constituent Assembly on Saturday.  

He called on Egyptians not to forget the sacrifices of the martyrs and the wounded of the 25 January revolution. “If not for their pure blood, we wouldn’t have reached the current stage,” Morsy said.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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