Egypt Supreme Court Delays Ruling on Constituent Assembly
The Egyptian Supreme Court postponed its ruling on the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, stating that a mob of Islamists had blocked the judges from entering the courthouse, in an “abhorrent scene of shame and disgrace.” The judges said their work would be suspended until they could continue without ”psychological and material pressure.” President Mohamed Morsi had used the expected ruling as grounds to support his decree to take full power. Analysts speculate that a ruling opposing his decisions would be a direct challenge and would bolster the opposition campaign to have his decree annulled. President Morsi also declared that the national referendum on the constitution would be scheduled for December 15. On Saturday, tens of thousands of Islamists demonstrated across Egypt in support of Morsi and the draft constitution. Yasser El-Borhamy, deputy head of the Salafist Calling and member of the Constituent Assembly, called Morsi’s decision for a referendum the ”right move for achieving stability in Egypt.” “The National Salvation Front condemns the irresponsible act by the president of the republic in calling a referendum on an illegitimate constitution that is rejected by a large section of his people,” an alliance of opposition groups said in a statement. It is not clear whether the Supreme Court judges will supervise the referendum process.
Human Rights Watch issued a report expressing apprehension over a constitutional draft that contains many loopholes regarding the broad protection of human rights in Egypt. “The decision of constituent assembly leaders to move a flawed and contradictory draft to a vote is not the right way to guarantee fundamental rights or to promote respect for the rule of law,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW. “Rushing through a draft while serious concerns about key rights protections remain unaddressed will create huge problems down the road that won’t be easy to fix.”