Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In Omnia Paratus

Two more judges have been tapped for interrogation, this time (and for the first time) both very popular, elected members of the Cairo Judges Club board. Nagi Dirbala (right) and Ahmad Saber (left) are among the 14 board members elected by a landslide during the December 16 elections. Singling them out is a direct slap in the face to the popular will of the majority of judges. Saber is the gifted orator who begins every general assembly meeting with a speech that animates and stimulates the crowd. Dirbala is the extremely hardworking, methodical man behind the scenes: keeping the records, organising the proceedings, taking care of business. Both are devoted Club members and key pillars of the pro-independence alliance. The regime’s trawl has now taken in eight pro-reform judges, prompting inevitable whispers of an impending “new massacre of the judiciary.” As the March 17 extraordinary general assembly approaches, only one thing is sure: judges are now prepared for anything.

Correction: initial reports that Saber was reprimanded proved false. To date, seven (and not eight) pro-reform judges have been apprehended: Hisham al-Bastawisy, Mahmoud al-Khodeiry, Ahmed and Mahmoud Mekky, Yahya Galal, Assem Abdel Gabbar, and Nagi Dirbala.