Zend: President can’t order judges to return to work

Egypt’s judges will only return to work when they decide to, not as ordered by the president, Supreme Judicial Council or even the Judges Club, club chairman Ahmed al-Zend said on Monday at a news conference.

The club refused to supervise the first round of voting in the constitutional referendum in protest against President Mohamed Morsy’s 22 November Constitutional Declaration, which placed the president above judicial oversight.

The first phase of the referendum took place on Saturday 15 December in 10 governorates. Early numbers suggest that 57 percent of voters approved the draft constitution, while 43 percent voted against it.

The second phase is scheduled for Saturday 22 December in the remaining 17 governorates.

 “We have suspended work for two weeks now,” Zend said, “and no official bothered to see what our demands are.”

The judges are not obstructing justice but rather defending the independence of the judiciary, Zend said.

He added that the constitutional declaration has assaulted the independence of the judiciary and must be rescinded.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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