Two senior judges were referred to investigation for participating in a project drafting an anti-torture law following a report from the homeland security agency.
A judge was commissioned on Sunday to investigate judges Hisham Raouf, from Cairo’s Appeal Court and former Justice Minister’s assistant, and Assem Abdel Gabar, deputy head of the Cassation Court, over their participation in a proposed draft law against torture. The draft law was written in cooperation with the law firm and human rights advocates, the United Group. However, an investigation has yet to be conducted.
Raouf said he was surprised by the news, saying that both he and Abdel Gabar were not informed of the investigation, and they have no details about it or about the accusations, state-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm reported.
“We did participate in drafting a law project that implements regulations of the United Nations Convention against Torture which Egypt signed almost 30 years ago,” he added.
“What accusation can a judge be charged with for just proposing a legislative amendment?” wondered Raouf.
The draft law consists of 10 articles that include, for the first time, a provision which holds the director of the prison or detention centre criminally responsible for the crimes of torture that are committed inside the detention centre or prison which he manages, according to a press release from the United Group issued on 9 March, following the drafting of the proposed law.
It also includes the establishment of a specialised Public Prosecution at every court of the first degree in order to investigate in the referred torture cases. Furthermore, it includes a specialised police unit to collect the findings of such a crime under the direct supervision of the Public Prosecutor.
The United Group added that draft law will be sent to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. Raouf said that a copy has already been sent to offices of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and head of the High Council of Justice Hossam Abdelrahim.
Negad El-Boraei, rights lawyer and senior partner at the United Group, questioned the reports on the judges’ interrogation saying that the Egyptian government is “not that dumb”.
He told Daily News Egypt that, if they were to be investigated, it has to be over something else other than participating in drafting a law against torture.
The two judges are believed to be affiliated with judges’ ‘independence current’, a movement that emerged during the Mubarak-era. Its members have been accused in post-30 June Egypt of involvement in political activities.