Twelve judges were referred to judicial investigations at the Ministry of Justice on Saturday evening for expressing political views about the recent maritime demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia on their Facebook accounts, sources inside the ministry told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity on Sunday.
The judges used Facebook and Twitter to post their opinions about the transfer of the two islands and other political issues. The sources said this violates the rules of the High Judicial Council which stipulate that judges cannot express their viewpoints about political matters.
They were referred to investigation following a report from a committee formed by the ministry to monitor judges via their social media outlets.
The council issued several decisions regarding social media outlets, sources said. Judges may not express any viewpoints, political or otherwise. Judges may not support cases unrelated to their work as this could show a bias in their verdicts.
“There are strict instructions issued by the minister of justice and judges may not discuss or express views related to politics affairs,” constitutional and legal expert Ramadan Batikha told Daily News Egypt on Sunday.
Referring judges to investigation is correct and legal, according to the internal regulation of the council and instructions issued by the minister, Batikha added.
Recently, the council’s disciplinary board issued a decision that forced 15 judges into retirement over charges of having ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Ten of the judges, who were accused of forming and belonging to the “Judges for Egypt” movement that supported former president Mohamed Morsi and the Brotherhood government, were initially forced to retire in March while five others were acquitted.
An appeal by the general prosecution against the acquittal of the five was accepted by the disciplinary board as it rejected the appeals of the 10 convicted judges.