Judges in Egypt's NGO case recuse themselves

From al-Ahram:

Three judges  in charge of handling the recent case filed by the government against a number of US and Egyptian non-governmental organisation (NGOs), announced Tuesday afternoon that they have submitted their resignation from the case "for reasons of discomfort." The 14 Egyptian and 29 foreign aid workers face trial for receiving illegal foreign funding and for working without a formal license: they have been accused of posing a threat to Egypt's national security.

Judge Mahmoud El-Khodairy, lawyer and head of the People's Assembly Legislative Committee, explained Tuesday night to private TV channel Al-Hayat that a judge stepping down for "reasons of discomfort" could be due to an existing relationship the judge has with any of the defendants, the accused or the lawyers. A judge may also relinquish the case, he added, if the court itself was involved in any details of the case. When a judge does resign from a case, the lawsuit is transferred to another district court within a "brief" time period, El-Khodairy concluded.

Reasons of discomfort? Try talcum powder. But seriously, this either means something fishy is going on or that the trial will take even longer than planned. The next date was meant to be April 26, which is a while away.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.