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The New Arab Staff

Senior Egyptian judge dropped from elite council after drafting anti-torture law

The judge who allegedly served the dismissal was appointed by Sisi [Getty-file photo]

Date of publication: 29 June, 2020

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Veteran Judge Asim Abdul Jabbar had been set to resume membership of the seven-member council in 2021, before his name was suddenly dropped off the list.
A senior Egyptian judge, who attempted to draft an anti-torture law, has been arbitrarily dismissed from the country's Supreme Judiciary Council, a legal source told Arabi21.

Asim Abdul Jabbar, the vice-head of Egypt's court of cassation - the country's highest appeals court - had been set to resume his membership of the seven member council in 2021 before his name was suddenly dropped off the list.

It followed an abrupt verdict by the judiciary's acting head, Abdullah Amin Asr, the source said, which appears due to Abdul Jabbar's efforts in making torture illegal.

Judge Abdul Jabbar is known for defending the independence of the Egypt's legal authorities during former dictator Hosni Mubarak's repressive rule.

Human rights groups have documented endemic in Egypt's prisons under Predident Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi.

In 2015, the veteran judge was accused of working with a human rights organisation to co-draft laws to combat torture in prisons and detention centres, along with the president of Cairo's court of appeal and former Justice Minister Hisham Raouf.

In 2019, a judicial disciplinary body dropped all charges against the two, who were given the all-clear to re-join the Supreme Judiciary's Council under the auspices of the council's head Asr, now responsible for Abdul Jabbar’s dismissal.

Judge Asr was one of many top judges appointed by Sisi, who last year installed the heads of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as well as the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

The move came as part of sweeping constitutional changes which extend the president's term in office and granted the military even greater influence in Egyptian political life.

Human Rights Watch said the changes would serve to "entrench repression" and "consolidate authoritarian rule".

Since Sisi took office in 2014, his government has been complicit in large-scale human rights abuses including unfair trials and torture, as well as a clampdown on opposition and the press.

Egypt was ranked 66 out of 126 countries for government interference in criminal justice last year, in the Rule of Law Index released earlier this year by the World Justice Project.

The country was ranked 121st overall in the index, which includes areas such as fundamental rights and regulatory enforcement.

Agencies contributed to this report.


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