Egypt’s justice minister resigns over ‘control’ move

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Egypt’s justice minister Ahmed Mekky has resigned in protest at what he sees as “an assault” on the judiciary by the Islamist-led authorities.

Mr Mekky submitted his resignation to president Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, said justice ministry spokesman, Ahmed Salam. It followed a protest on Friday by Mr Morsi’s Islamist backers demanding the “purification” of the judiciary.

A bill has been submitted to parliament which critics say would give the government too much control over the make-up of the judiciary.

Mr Mekky, who was appointed in August, had been quoted in local media as saying he would resign if the law was passed. The Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament has yet to vote on the legislation.

Mr Morsi said on Saturday he planned to reshuffle the cabinet.

Mr Mekky was widely regarded as a supporter of judicial independence during the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak, but his critics had accused him of siding with the new Islamist-led authorities.

Friction between the government and the judiciary has been on the rise since March when the Administrative Court ordered the cancellation of a Morsi decree calling for parliamentary elections, forcing a delay in voting due to have begun in April.