Egypt Independent

Update: ElBaradei dismisses Brotherhood protest as ‘demagoguery’

Dostour Party head Mohamed ElBaradei said the Muslim Brotherhood’s protest calling for the "purging of the judiciary" is evidence that “demagoguery is the dominant feature of the [Morsy] regime in understanding and addressing problems,” he wrote on his Twitter account Friday afternoon.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, as well as other Islamist political forces, issued a statement calling for participation in a mass demonstration to purge the judiciary of corruption on Friday outside the High Court in Cairo and in a number of squares nationwide.

The Islamist camp is divided on the protests however, as some forces announced they would not participate, including Jama’a al-Islamiya, the Islamic Jihad Movement, the Salafi Nour Party and the Salafi Watan Party.

The protest was organized as a response against the court’s decision to release former President Hosni Mubarak from prison.

This week, a court ordered Mubarak's release pending his retrial on charges of complicity in killing protesters during the January 2011 uprising. Mubarak was released on the grounds that his period of provisional detention has expired.

The protesters demanded that the judiciary be purged of corruption, and called for the drafting of a new Judicial Authority Law that would lower the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60, reported the  London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Other secular and Islamist forces, including the Nour Party — the country’s largest Salafi political party — said they would not participate in Friday’s protest.

"Although we may understand the president’s need for popular and political support when making critical decisions, we call for seeking the support of the people by being straightforward with them, and for securing the support of political forces through dialogue about the mechanisms and the steps [the administration follows]," Nour Party spokesperson Nader Bakkar said.

The Egypt Strong Party issued a statement calling for an extended dialogue on a law for a transitional justice system, by which former corrupt officials could be held accountable for their crimes. The statement rejected what the party called "using the language of the revolution [only] when needed," an implicit criticism of the Brotherhood.

The April 6 Youth Movement also issued a statement regarding Friday’s protest that questioned the intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood, and announced it would not take part in the protest.

The Muslim Brotherhood has undermined the sovereignty of judiciary and its independence, while a Brotherhood president went over the head of the judiciary to appoint a new prosecutor general who would “serve his [the president’s] goals and the goals of his group [the Brotherhood],” the statement claimed.

The Legal Committee for the Defense of Judges and the State of Law said Friday that calls for demonstrations to denounce the corruption of judiciary are invalid and have malicious intent, and could lead to dire consequences, including the destruction of the state and the homeland.  

The committee issued a statement calling on citizens not to heed such calls, and to stand by the judiciary and defend it against injustice.

 "To Egypt's free proud people — Eypt's judiciary belongs to the fabric of this nation, and is its defensive shield against the dictatorship of an individual or a group that are ruining its fortunes, tearing up its fabric, and fragmenting its unity," the statement warned.

The message stressed that the judiciary is healthy, and that judges follow only their conscience and the letter of the law.

Judges are not to be blamed for lack of evidence or faulty investigations that lead to the acquittal of a defendant, the message said.

The judiciary already has its own system in place to address corruption, the message added.

The committee concluded the message saying: "Long live Egypt, the Egyptian people, and the judges of Egypt."

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm