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  • » 04/23/2013, 00.00


    Egyptian judge suspended for imposing 80 lashes on a drunken man

    Hussein Anan, a judge in Matay, is now under investigation. He justified the decision citing Article 2 of the new constitution, which relies on the Qur'an to administer the law. According to the spokesman of the Catholic Church, more and more positions are being filled with fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law throughout the country. Ordinary Egyptians and the National Association of Judges are fighting the Muslim Brotherhood's power grab.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) - Ordinary Egyptians and the country's judges are openly against the introduction of Sharia into Egypt's legal system. The event that sparked their reaction was the decision last Friday by Prosecutor Hussein Anan in Matay (Minya Governatorate, Upper Egypt), to impose 80 lashes on a man for drunkenness citing Verses 90 and 91 of al-Ma'eda chapter of the Qur'an rather than the Penal Code. He did so by relying on Article 2 of the new constitution, which recognises the Qur'an as its source, this even though many experts note that none of the verses states that drinking is punishable by flogging.

    Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, said that "a majority of judges and most people in Minya and the rest of the country are against the imposition of Sharia."

    The clergyman noted that Attorney General Talaat Abdallah, who was appointed back in November by President Morsi, challenged Prosecutor Anan's ruling, and immediately suspended both sentence and judge pending an investigation. The man arrested was instead placed under custody and will probably be released.

    "The law states that no crime or punishment can be recognised without a legal text," said Mahmoud Al-Hefnawy, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office in Cairo. In his view and regardless of the constitution's stance towards it, Sharia cannot be enforced in Egypt.

    According to Fr Greiche, the incident is sign of the chaos that has engulfed the country since the Justice and Freedom Party led by President Morsi took power.

    "Now," he said, "more and more religious fundamentalists have been appointed as judges and are just waiting for the right moment to impose Islamic law in Egypt."

    The violent dispute between the judges and Morsi, which broke out after a Cairo court proposed to release Mubarak to wait for the end of his trial, is another case in point, the priest noted.

    In an attempt to win over the judiciary, the Islamist president announced that the mandatory retirement age for judges would be lowered to 60 from 70, forcing into retirement up to 3,500 judges, mostly from the old regime.

    "These officials," Fr Greiche said, "will be replaced by people who are more agreeable to the Islamist establishment."

    Still, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government has to confront Egyptians who stood up to pro-Morsi demonstrations organised by various Islamist groups. Hundreds of people were injured in clashes last Friday.

    The important national association of judges, which represents half of all judges, has joined ordinary Egyptians in their protest. For months, it has tried to mediate with the government to stop the justice system from drifting towards fundamentalism. (S.C.)

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    See also

    01/12/2011 EGYPT
    Fr Greiche: Too early and misleading to comment election results
    Official results will be available only in January. The spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church warns against giving too much credence to claims by the Muslim Brotherhood that it won between 40 and 60 per cent of the vote. Despite their poor organisation and brief existence (six months), pro-democracy parties are growing in strength.

    17/12/2012 EGYPT
    New Constitution splits Egypt. And Salafists
    Still waiting for referendum results on text which will be voted on next December 23 in 17 other provinces. But fraud is considered almost mandatory by most voters, most of whom, however still cast their ballot. The opposition united against President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and criticize text (which discriminates against anyone who is not a Brotherhood member) even splitting radical Islam.

    01/07/2013 EGYPT
    Real Arab Spring retakes Egypt, says Democratic activist
    Yesterday, more than 23 million people joined protest against Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, including Muslims, Christians, head-covered women, Salafists, young and old. Western media distort the facts when they say Egypt is split in two. For Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman, "85 per cent of the population is against Morsi and his government." Military issues 48-hour ultimatum to all political groups to stop demonstrations.

    02/04/2013 EGYPT
    Muslim Brotherhood wants to gag every Egyptian, Jasmine Revolution leader says
    For Nagui Damian, a young Copt who participated in the anti-Mubarak uprising, the recent charges laid against satirist Bassem Yousef are a way to intimidate everyone in the country. Sharing the ideals of the revolution, farm workers in Upper Egypt have organised the first mass protests against Islamists.

    03/12/2012 EGYPT
    Constitutional court goes on strike as Islamists threaten judges
    Courts protest against President Morsi and his Sharia-based constitution. Hundreds of Muslim extremists besiege the Supreme Court building, shouting slogans against the judges. The constitutional court is the last legal rampart that can stop the power of Muslim extremists.

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