Fears over Egypt’s judiciary abound after Sisi appointments

CAIRO (AFP) – After Egypt’s president appointed top judges for the first time in the country’s modern history, criticism of the judiciary’s lack of independence is rampant.

Last month, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi installed the heads of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation and the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

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

The recent changes “raise some thorny questions,” said one judge.

“The role of the judge is to be at arm’s length from the executive, but this is inconsistent now with the fact the president of the republic is involved with a judge’s transfer, promotion and accountability,” he said.

Sisi’s new powers may lead some judges to be “compromised” through their new ties to the authorities, the judge said, obtaining “perks and privileges” for their legal decisions.

All judges who spoke to AFP did so anonymously due to the sensitivity of their comments.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. PHOTO: AP