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November 24, 2012

Egyptian judges condemn Morsi's power grab

WASHINGTON — Egypt’s top judges are condemning President Mohammed Morsi’s decision to grant to himself extensive new powers that include exempting his decisions from judicial review.

In a statement released yesterday, Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Council said Morsi’s Thursday presidential-power decree was an “unprecedented assault” on the judiciary.

Egypt has been rocked by competing protests in support of and in opposition to Morsi’s decree, and the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for a mass rally in Cairo on Tuesday in support of his decisions.

The United States also criticized the moves, which came one day after U.S. diplomats worked with Morsi to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the militant group Hamas.

Crude-oil futures turned higher on Friday as the dollar weakened, after beginning the day lower as a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to have held.

“The decisions and declarations announced on Nov. 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement on Friday. “One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution.”

Morsi placed his decrees above judicial review until a new Egyptian constitution and parliament are in place, a process expected to take at least several months.

Several hundred protesters reportedly remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday.

The State Department called for calm in Egypt and Nuland said: “The current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law.”

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