• 19:20
  • Friday ,30 November 2012
العربية

Besieged by Islamist demonstrators, court delays rulings on Constituent Assembly, Shura Council

By-Ahram

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11:12

Sunday ,02 December 2012

Besieged by Islamist demonstrators, court delays rulings on Constituent Assembly, Shura Council

 Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC) on Sunday postponed its decisions on the constitutionality of the Shura Council (upper house of parliament) and the Constituent Assembly after pro-Morsi protesters surrounded the court.

Hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators gathered at the HCC late Saturday to demand the court delay its verdicts due to be issued today.  
 
The court, headed by Judge Maher El-Beheiry, will issue an official statement later today explaining why it postponed the verdicts. 
 
El-Beheiry refused to comment to the Al-Ahram Arabic news website on the reasons for the delay, saying the statement would explain what took place in front of the court on Sunday and why that led to the adjournment of the decisions until an unknown time. 
 
The constitutionality of the Shura Council and the constitution-drafting body are both being investigated after the parliamentary elections law was ruled unconstitutional. The HCC had earlier ruled against the constitutionality of the lower house of parliament, leading to its dissolution. 
 
On 22 November, President Mohamed Morsi issued a controversial constitutional declaration making the two bodies immune from dissolution and his decisions immune from judicial appeal. 
 
Judges declared a strike, saying the declaration infringed upon judicial authority. The Judges Club refused to recognise the declaration and threatened not to supervise the national referendum on the constitution, which was completed on Friday.  
 
Thousands took to the streets on Friday to condemn the declaration and the constitution. Whilst Islamist groups demonstrated on Saturday in support of the declaration and to call for the implementation of Sharia law, in Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut and other cities around the country.
 
President Morsi on Sunday announced the constitution would be put to a national referendum on 15 December.