Zend, State’s Council have row on amendments law deprives defendants’ rights  
Justice Minister Ahmed al Zend - YOUM7

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Justice Ahmed al- Zend is involved in a row with State Council judges over a controversial law per which a defendant may have no right to request defense witnesses.

The Ministry of Justice has drafted amendments to the Criminal Procedures Code and referred them the Cabinet which ratified them. The amendments are now pending a final review by the State Council before coming into force, however, the Council’s Legislature Department is claiming that the draft law is unconstitutional.

“After considering Articles 96 and 97 of the Constitution and provisions of High Constitutional concerning a defendant’s defense guarantees, i the current draft law could spark suspicion of unconstitutionality,” the Legislature Department of the State’s Council, presided by Judge Mahmoud Rasslan, stated Monday.

Per Article 190 of 2014 Constitution, the State Council is the body that considers any law before getting the President’s final ratification.

On Jan. 27 in an interview with anchorman Ahmed Moussa’s talk show “On My Responsibility” on Sada al-Balad T.V. channel, Minister of Justice al-Zend criticized the State’s Council’s rejection to the draft law, defending the law amendments as it “may prevent lawyers who aim to make the trials long for long time.

The Council slammed Zend over his remarks, saying such remarks are “blatant interference in the work of one of the judicial authorities.”

In same interview, Zend vowed to quickly carry out execution verdicts against former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, if they receive final death sentences over “terrorism-related charges.” The group currently have appeals pending in their cases.

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