Prosecutors ordered on Tuesday that a judge be placed under detention for four days pending investigation over alleged contempt of court during a disciplinary board hearing held for a number of judges for supporting former president Mohamed Mursi.
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) ordered the arrest of Judge Amir Awad on Monday during a disciplinary board hearing in the case in which he and other judges are accused of signing a statement, dubbed the “Rabaa statement”, in support of Mursi.
Former president Mursi, who hails from the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group, was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Awad was arrested on Monday and faced prosecutors after he voiced his objection to the board’s decision to adjourn the hearing until the next day. He argued that he lives in the city of Mansoura, around 120 kilometres away from Cairo, where the hearing was held.
Awad argued that the hearing’s postponement would cause him a logistical problem.
In October 2014, the 60 judges were referred to an internal disciplinary board for signing a statement which one of them read out loud during the famous Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in that was held in protest against Mursi’s ouster. The protest encampment was hosted in a square carrying the same name and was maintained for weeks before it was violently dispersed in August 2013.
In March 2015, the internal disciplinary board forced 41 of the judges into retirement for charges related to publicly siding with a political faction, in reference to their opposition to Mursi’s ouster.
The law stipulates that judges referred to disciplinary courts continue to carry out their work normally unless the SJC orders that they be forced into retirement.