Cassation, appeals courts halt activities to protest declaration

The Courts of Cassation and Appeals decided on Wednesday to halt work in all departments until President Mohamed Morsy rescinds last Thursday’s constitutional declaration granting him unchallengeable legislative powers.

The general assembly of the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court of law, made the decision after its president, Mohamed Metwally, who also heads the Supreme Judicial Council, held a closed meeting at the High Court Wednesday with court members. Reporters were not allowed to attend.

State-run news agency MENA said 270 judges approved the decision, with only 19 opposing it.

The Cairo Appeals Court has also suspended its activities until Morsy backtracks on the declaration, as did the Court of Appeals in Tanta following a general assembly meeting.

Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of the Constitution Party, has saluted Egypt’s judges for suspending work in courts and prosecutions in protest against the declaration.

The decree renders Morsy’s decisions immune to judicial challenge.

The Supreme Judicial Council convened with Morsy on Monday to resolve the impasse between the president and the judiciary. A presidential statement on Tuesday said the council approved the declaration, but did not add any changes to the decree, which further stoked judges’ anger.

On Saturday, the Judges Club recommended a nationwide strike at courts and prosecution services in opposition to the declaration. The club said on Tuesday that 90 percent of judicial bodies across the country had joined the strike.

Edited translation from MENA

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