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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Top Egypt judges face poll rebuke
By Heba Saleh
BBC News, Cairo

An Egyptian man voting
Judges have issued reports on violations in last year's election
Two senior Egyptian judges are to appear before a disciplinary tribunal because they have spoken out against violations in last year's elections.

Hesham Bastawisi and Mahmoud Mekki have been summoned for a hearing which could result in their dismissal.

They are among a number of outspoken judges who have been defying the government over the past year.

They have refused to cover up electoral fraud and called for guarantees for the independence of the judiciary.

The Egyptian government's decision to summon the two senior judges to appear before a disciplinary tribunal on 27 April has provoked outrage.

More than 100 parliamentarians, almost all from the opposition, tried on Monday to raise the issue in the assembly but were prevented by the speaker.

Judges angry

Over the past year the pair have emerged as the most vocal of a group of senior judges leading a campaign for reforms.

The judiciary in Egypt is required to supervise elections, but many judges have been angered by what they regard as attempts by the government to exploit them to legitimise fraud.

In a country where opposition parties are weak, the judges have become the leading force calling for honest elections.

Through their professional association, judges have issued reports detailing violations in last year's elections.

The association also continues to press loudly for a new law guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary.

But at this point there are no signs the government is prepared to give in.

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