29 Nov 2012

Courts enter fray against Mursi

6:03 am on 29 November 2012

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court has accused President Mohamed Mursi of taking part in a campaign against the court, heightening tensions between the Islamist leader and parts of the judiciary.

Appeal court judges have called a strike in protest at a decree by President Mursi last Thursday in which he gave himself new powers and said his decisions were beyond legal review.

In a speech the next day, the president praised the judiciary as a whole but said there were corrupt elements, which he would weed out.

But appeals courts and the Court of Cassation will halt work until the decree is revoked.

On Monday, Mr Mursi sought to defuse the crisis by saying the decree granting him new powers was limited in scope.

But judges who attended a meeting with him said they were not satisfied. They want the measure withdrawn completely.

The decree bars judges from dissolving an assembly that is drawing up a new constitution.

Anti-Mursi protests were held in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Minya and other Nile Delta cities on Tuesday. Protesters say the Muslim Brotherhood has hijacked the revolution.

Low-level rallies continued in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday. The Brotherhood has organised counter-demonstrations.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called a rally for Saturday in support of Mr Mursi.