CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ratified legal amendments that allow the president to make judicial appointments to its top courts, a move judges said would erode the independence of the judicial system.
Parliament passed the amendments on Wednesday but some judges had called on Sisi to hold off on ratifying them, calling the amendments an unconstitutional breach of separation of powers.
The amendments were issued on Thursday in the official gazette, formally passing them into law.
Elected in 2014 after leading the military’s 2013 overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Mursi, Sisi has deflected Western criticism that he has suppressed political opposition and human rights and has sought to present himself as an indispensable bulwark against terrorism in the Middle East.
Egypt’s judiciary has long enjoyed a degree of independence. But judges say a crackdown on the judiciary that started in 2014 has aimed at bringing it under tighter government control.