Thursday, March 26, 2015

Egyptian reformist judge referred to disciplinary committee

Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz is accused of storming the State Security headquarters in March 2011

Zakaria Abdel Aziz

Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz

Prominent reformist judge and former head of Egypt's Judges' Club, Zakaria Abdel Aziz, was referred Wednesday to a disciplinary committee for participating in the storming of the State Security Investigations headquarters in March 2011.

Abdel Azizi was among prominent figures that arrived at that interior ministry-affiliated headquarters in Nasr City, Cairo, on 5 March 2011 after it was stormed by January 25 Revolution protesters.

The judge was filmed at the headquarters urging protesters to hand over all documents they found in the building to the Egyptian Armed Forces later securing the building. 

State Security Investigations, notorious for malpractice during the Mubarak era, was officially dissolved later that month and replaced with the National Security Agency. 

Several members of the "Legal Committee to Defend the Judiciary", a judges group, reported Abdel Aziz, accusing him of "storming the building during the 25 January revolution events." 

For his part, Abdel Aziz said in media statements that the decision to refer him to a disciplinary committee was expected as part of a campaign of political "vengeance" against him due to his being a member the judicial independence movement during Mubarak's rule. 

This is the second time the former head of the Judges' Club has been referred to the disciplinary committee. The first time was in May 2014, when he was referred — along 33 other judges — on the accusation of forming an illegal group, disturbing security and social peace, as well as inciting strife among judges.

Judge Zakaria Abdel Aziz played a leading role in the judicial independence protests in 2005-7 — at the time, one of the few and most popular expressions of open dissent against the Mubarak presidency.