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EGYPT: Resigned judge blasts ruling regime

September 25, 2009 |  8:32 am


A prominent judge who recently quit his post as deputy chief of Egypt's appeal court, said that judges in the country have officially become "hated figures" to the ruling regime since they exposed the forgery that occurred during the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2005.

Mahmoud Khodeiri stepped down from his position last week, citing corruption and lack of objectivity within the judicial system during the last few years of President Hosni Mubarak's reign.

"It is clear that the regime is not fond of honest judges," Khodeiri, who spent 46 years in the courts, told Al Masry Al Youm. "It became more obvious after we embarrassed them by issuing an official report stating all the violations that occurred during the elections."

Mubarak was elected for a sixth term as head of state in the 2005 elections. Many opposition figures and human rights activists accused the regime of counterfeiting results to help Mubarak remain in power. Khodeiri added that the Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei personally interferes in courts' verdicts and manipulates some cases according to the regime's own interests.

"There are certain judges who get assigned for sensitive and political cases in order to give a certain ruling. All of this takes place in line with the minister's orders," Khodeiri said. "The government uses the minister as a tool to make the necessary decisions and guarantee their desired verdict."

The 69-year-old jurist cited the infamous case in which former Agriculture Minister  Youssef Wali was accused of endangering the environment by misusing toxic disinfections as a perfect example of the government's intrusion on judges' work. "It was already known what the judgment will be even before the final hearing," he said. Wali was not indicted on any charges.

Luring judges with higher executive posts is the main threat to the fairness of the judicial system, and Khodeiri believes that many judges end up being governors or even ministers as a reward for serving the government's agenda.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Mahmoud Khodeiri. Credit: Al Shorouk newspaper