Egypt court quits over "pressure"

Published Sunday, December 2, 2012

Protests by Islamist supporter of President Mohamed Mursi forced Egypt's highest court to adjourn its work indefinitely on Sunday, intensifying a conflict between some of the country's top judges and the head of state.

The Supreme Constitutional Court said it would not convene until its judges could operate without "psychological and material pressure," saying protesters had stopped the judges from reaching the building.

Several hundred Mursi supporters had protested outside the court through the night ahead of a session expected to examine the legality of parliament's upper house and the assembly that drafted a new constitution, both of them Islamist-controlled.

The cases have cast a legal shadow over Mursi's efforts to chart a way out of a crisis ignited by a November 22 decree that expanded his powers and led to nationwide protests.

The court's decision to suspend its activities appeared unlikely to have any immediate impact on Mursi's drive to get the new constitution passed in a national referendum on December 15.

Four people have been killed and hundreds wounded in protests and counter-demonstrations over Mursi's decree.

(Reuters)

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