The High Administrative Court referred on Saturday articles 12, 14, and 20 of the Emergency Law concerning the judicial powers of the president and the executive authorities to the Constitutional Court to address its constitutionality, according to local media.
The decision comes after lawyer Khaled Ali appealed a decision by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, who revoked a court order of a defendant, an authority of which the Prime Minister gained through the Emergency Law of 1985.
The three articles state that no appeal should be considered for verdicts by State Security Courts, such verdicts would not be final until the president ratified them, while the president also has the rights to repeal verdicts and decide on other sentences.
Judge Hamdy Yassin of the State Council stated on his Facebook page that with such a decision, the State Council laid 8 points concerning the independence of the judiciary.
These points included the illegality of the president’s or the executive branches of the country’s interference in any court ruling, and the parliament’s support of the executive power in repealing any judicial ruling, as well as assuring that the only authority that can repeal a judge’s decision is another judge.
Former head of the State Council Mohamed Hamed Al-Gamal told Daily News Egypt that the the president has several powers, including introducing draft laws to parliament, hence, if the final ruling came against his will, he could introduce a draft law to the parliament regarding the issue.
Al-Gamal also explained that the Administrative Court’s ruling did not conflict with national security, adding “what does this have to do with national security? This is a purely judicial issue.”
“The conflict between the state and the judiciary started when the parliament introduced a draft law for the judicial authority,” Al-Gamal added, describing the referenced law as “unconstitutional.”
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ratified in April the parliament’s amendments to the Judicial Authority Law, which granted him the power to select the heads of judicial authorities after their general assemblies nominate the three most senior judges.
Judicial bodies expressed their rejection to the new amendments and described it as a violation to the independence of the judiciary.
Furthermore, the State Council’s general assembly only nominated one candidate to head the council, instead of selecting three, as stipulated by the new amendments to the Judicial Authority Law.
On the other hand, concerning the state of emergency, the Cabinet approved it in April after Al-Sisi announced it in a speech following the attacks on Palm Sunday against Mar Girgis Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, both of which combined led to the death of more than 40 people and the injury of 100.
The Emergency Law is comprised of 20 articles, which expand the authorities of the president and of the executive branches of the state concerning security measures.