Two senior judges may be dismissed over anti-torture bill

The United Group law firm announced Monday that the Justice and Development Commission of the Justice Ministry convened upon the request of the justice minister to discuss legal action that may amount to dismissal from the judicial corps against judge Assem Abdel Gabbar, Vice-President of the Court of Cassation, and judge Hisham Raouf, President of the Court of Appeal, because of their participation in the development of a law against torture prepared by the United Group.

The United Group said in a statement Monday that the president of the Supreme Judicial Council had asked the justice minister in April 2015 to appoint a judge to investigate the two judges because they were "working with an illegal group headed by lawyer Negad al-Boraei to draft a law against torture and pressure the president to issue it."

The statement added that the investigating judge Abdel Shafy Othman accused Boraei on March 3 of establishing an unlicensed group called the United Group to incite resistance to public authorities; carrying out human rights activities without authorization; receiving funding from the National Center for State Courts; circulating false news; and harming the public interest.

"I am the one responsible for the draft law and for all the activities that have been carried out with the aim of combating torture and raising awareness of its dangers," said Boraei.

"If fighting  torture is a crime, then I am a criminal," Boraei went on to say.

"As I said before, during interrogations conducted by the investigating judge, the bill is my responsibility in the first place; and then, in second place, comes the responsibility of the judges who reviewed it," Boraei added. "The judges only reviewed the articles relating to public prosecution."

"However, there seems to be an intention to dismiss the two judges  as a punishment for attempting to help with ending the phenomenon of torture," Boraei affirmed.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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