Judicial Body Rejects Law Change That Would Disenfranchise Morsi

The State Council rejected on Saturday a cabinet-approved amendment to the law regulating the exercise of political rights which would strip citizens currently facing trial or in custody pending trial of the right to stand in presidential elections.

The amendment was made with the aim of preventing both former presidents Mohamed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak from standing in upcoming elections. Previously the law only prevented Mubarak as a former leader of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP).

The law was last amended by an elected parliament in 2012, a few months ahead of the country’s first free presidential elections, won by Morsi.

The 2012 parliament, which was dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist representatives, amended Article 3 of the law to state that “those who held the offices of the president of the republic, vice president, prime minister, and chairman of the (now defunct) ruling National Democratic Party or its secretary-general or a member of its political politburo or secretariat-general during the period prior to 11 February 2011 (the day Mubarak resigned from office) shall be prevented  from exercising their political rights for ten consecutive  years” from the date the amendments were passed.

The new amendment, approved by the cabinet on Thursday, revokes the above text in favour of one stating that “those who were referred to trial before criminal courts or are in custody pending trial and could be finally convicted” will be stripped of exercising their political rights.

According to Magdi El-Agati, chairman of the State Council’s Department of Fatwas and Legislation, the amendment is unconstitutional and conflicts with the principle that an accused is innocent until found guilty.

The State Council released an official statement rejecting the amendment after a four-hour meeting on Saturday.

Source : Ahram online