Feeling the heat: Egypt’s judiciary

Feeling the heat: Egypt’s judiciary

Judicial independence in Egypt is under threat. Last week, parliament passed a law to give President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the

Photo: Ahram

Photo: Ahram

Judicial independence in Egypt is under threat. Last week, parliament passed a law to give President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the power to appoint the country’s top judges. Egypt’s judicial association will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how to respond, having already called for Sisi to not ratify the new law.

But the likelihood of their objections being successful are slim; the recent Red Sea island debacle has demonstrated that parliament is more than willing to circumvent the legal system. That deal involved transferring two islands under Egyptian control to Saudi Arabia and was rejected by Egypt’s High Administrative Court in January. Despite the rejection, parliament continued to discuss the notion – a move that may have been unconstitutional.

Supporters of last week’s bill say that it’s a crucial tool in Egypt’s fight against terrorism. This argument may well be persuasive in a society that was shocked by ISIS-coordinated bombings on Palm Sunday, which killed 45 people. But this will be cold comfort to those judges meeting on Friday as Egypt descends further into authoritarianism.