Sat, Apr 19, 2014, Jumadi-al-Sani 18,1435 A.H : Last updated 1 hour ago
 
 
Group Chairman: Mir Javed Rahman

Editor-in-Chief: Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman
 
You are here: Home > Today's Paper > Top Story
 
 
 
 
Morsi slammed over assuming sweeping powers;protesters tear-gassed as world concern mounts
 
 
Sunday, November 25, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

CAIRO: Egyptian judges accused President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday of an “unprecedented attack” on the judiciary by assuming sweeping powers putting him beyond judicial oversight, with some going on protest strike.

 

Earlier, anti-riot police fired tear gas to disperse anti-Morsi protesters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as Western governments voiced growing concern over the political crisis.

 

The Supreme Judicial Council said after an emergency meeting that Morsi’s constitutional declaration was “an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings.” The council, which handles administrative affairs and judicial appointments, called on the president to remove from the declaration “anything that touches the judiciary.” The Judges Club of Alexandria announced “the suspension of work in all courts and prosecution administrations in the provinces of Alexandria and Beheira.” And they “will accept nothing less than the cancellation of (Morsi’s decree),” which violates the principle of separation of powers, club chief Mohammed Ezzat al-Agwa said.

 

The president already held both and executive and legislative powers, and his Thursday decree puts him beyond judicial oversight until a new constitution has been ratified in a referendum. In Cairo, a statement by some 20 “independent judges” said that while some of the decisions taken by the president were a response to popular demands, they were issued “at the expense of freedom and democracy.” Morsi has ordered the reopening of investigations into the deaths of some 850 protesters during the 2011 uprising, and hundreds more since.

 

New prosecutor general Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah said new “revolutionary courts” would be set up and could see former president Hosni Mubarak, his sons and his top security chiefs retried “should there be new evidence.” Mubarak and his interior minister were sentenced to life over the killing of protesters in last year’s popular uprising against him, but six security chiefs were acquitted in the same case sparking nationwide outrage. In an address to supporters outside the presidential palace on Friday, Morsi had insisted Egypt remained on the path to “freedom and democracy”, despite his move to undercut the judiciary. “Political stability, social stability and economic stability are what I want and that is what I am working for,” he said.

 

It also means that the Islamist-dominated panel drawing up the new charter can no longer be touched and gives it a two-month extension until February to complete its work. A hard core of opposition activists spent the night in Tahrir Square — epicentre of the anti-Mubarak uprising — where they erected some 30 tents, an AFP correspondent reported.

 

But when others attempted to join them in the morning, police responded with volleys of tear gas and forced them to retreat into surrounding streets.

 

The mainly secular liberal activists have voiced determination to keep up the momentum of protests against Morsi’s decree and have called a new mass protest in Tahrir for Tuesday.

 

“Egypt is at the start of a new revolution because it was never our intention to replace one dictator with another,” activist Mohammed al-Gamal told AFP, showing his broken spectacles and hand in a plaster cast than he said were the result of police action.

 

Meanwhile, anti-riot police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse protesters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as Western governments voiced growing concern over Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s assumption of sweeping powers.

 

A hard core of opposition activists had spent the night in the iconic protest hub — epicentre of the popular uprising that toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak last year — erecting some 30 tents, an AFP correspondent reported.

 

But when more demonstrators attempted to join them in the morning, police responded with volleys of tear gas forcing them to retreat into surrounding streets.

 

By midday, small groups of protesters continued to occupy the square, where traffic in the normally busy thoroughfare was almost brought to a halt.

 

Opposition-led protests were held in most of Egypt’s major cities on Friday sparking violent clashes in the canal city of Suez and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where offices of the Islamist Freedom and Justice Party, which backed Morsi for the presidency, were torched.

 

The mainly secular liberal activists voiced determination to keep up the momentum of their protests against Morsi’s decree on Thursday which placed his decisions beyond judicial scrutiny, vastly adding to his power. They called a new mass protest in Tahrir for Tuesday.

 

“Egypt is at the start of a new revolution because it was never our intention to replace one dictator with another,” activist Mohammed al-Gamal told AFP, showing his broken spectacles and hand in a plaster cast than he said were the result of the police action.

 

Washington, which only Wednesday had voiced fulsome praise for Morsi’s role in brokering a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers to end eight days of deadly violence, led international criticism of the Islamist president’s move.

 

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups were also out in strength on Friday in a show of support for the president in his move to prevent the courts dissolving the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly and upper house of parliament as they have already the lower house.

 

Clashes broke out between the rival supporters in several cities, AFP correspondents and state television reported.

 

In an address to supporters outside the presidential palace, Morsi insisted that Egypt remained on the path to “freedom and democracy”, despite his move to undercut the judiciary. “Political stability, social stability and economic stability are what I want and that is what I am working for,” he said.

 

The president already held both and executive and legislative powers and Thursday’s decree puts him beyond judicial oversight until a new constitution has been ratified in a referendum.

 

It also means that the Islamist-dominated panel drawing up the new charter can no longer be touched and gives it a two-month extension — until February next year — to complete its work.