President gives himself sweeping new powers

Share this article
Have your say

Egypt’s president has issued constitutional amendments granting himself far-reaching powers and ordering the retrial of the leaders of Hosni Mubarak’s regime for killing protesters in last year’s uprising.

Mohammed Morsi yesterday decreed immunity for the panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it. He granted the same protection to the upper chamber of parliament, which is largely toothless. Both bodies are dominated by Mr Morsi’s Islamist allies.

Several courts are currently looking into cases demanding the dissolution of both bodies.

The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority, a move that places him above oversight of any kind. He already has legislative powers after the powerful lower chamber was dissolved days before he took office on 30 June.

The decree for retrials appeared to be aimed at launching new charges against Mubarak, who was sentenced in June to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising against his rule. But many Egyptians were angry he wasn’t convicted of actually ordering the crackdown and that his security chief, Habib el-Adly, was not sentenced to death.

Several top police commanders were acquitted and Mubarak and his sons were found not guilty of corruption charges.