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UN rights experts call on Egypt to preserve independent judiciary

[JURIST] Three independent UN experts in the areas of judicial independence and freedom of expression expressed "grave concern" [statement] for "recent attacks against the judiciary of Egypt," and for detaining protesters [JURIST report] who rallied in support of several reform-oriented judges. Specifically, the experts condemned a disciplinary panel decision [JURIST report] to reprimand pro-reform judge Hisham Bastawisi for "exercising his right to freedom of expression" when he alleged widespread voting fraud [JURIST report] during last elections. The experts said the disciplinary decision was intended to deter the other judges stripped of immunity [JURIST report] by the government from speaking in favor of calls to amend the Judicial Authority Law [JURIST report] to guarantee judicial independence.

The Egyptian parliament has begun work on a judicial reform bill [JURIST report], though critics say the bill does not go far enough to free judges from government oversight, which the government now exercises through performance reviews, extensive appointment and removal powers, and complete control over judicial finances. The UN News Centre has more.

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