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Egyptian judges protest increasing working age to 70

Egyptian judges protest increasing working age to 70

Egyptian judges on Sunday protested extending the retirement age of judges to 70, saying the move was part of the government's ongoing campaign to keep the ruling party in power.
About 100 members of the Judges Club_ a union dominated by reformers_ met in Cairo to protest the increase in retirement age from 68 to 70, which they believe was calculated to keep certain pro-government judges in place.
"Those who are about to go into retirement are those who are in harmony with the government and will serve their purposes during the current time," said Judges Club vice president, Khaled Korraa.
The Egyptian parliament approved the extension last week, and a senior member of Egypt's ruling party, the National Democratic Party, said the country will benefit having more experienced on the bench.
"This has been the demand of some judges, some whom has asked for no age limit for retirement," Magdy el-Daqaq told The Associated Press.
Hesham el-Bastawisy, a pro-reform judge who blew the whistle on election fraud in the 2005 parliamentary elections, said the age increase is against most judges' wishes. Two years ago in a referendum, an overwhelming majority of judges voted down the idea of an age extension, he said.
El-Bastawisy and his colleague Mahmoud Mekki were put before a judicial disciplinary panel for speaking to the media about election fraud during the 2005 elections. Mekki was cleared by the panel last year, but el-Bastawisy was reprimanded. He suffered a heart attack hours before the verdict.
Last month Egypt amended its constitution, insisting the changes were part of the government's effort to expand democracy. But opposition and rights groups condemned the amendments, saying they restricted rights, cemented the hold on power by President Hosni Mubarak's ruling party and gave security forces broad powers of arrest.
One of the amendments calls for the creation of an electoral commission, which opponents doubt will be independent and say will diminish the role of judges in monitoring elections.
The judges also Sunday protested other government changes including a new rule that will raise the qualifications of those studying to be judges, Korraa said. He said several law degree students who previously had been eligible to become judges would no longer have the opportunity.


Updated : 2021-08-01 06:53 GMT+08:00