Islamist protest shuts down Egypt's top court

Islamist protest shuts down Egypt's top court

8:01AM EST December 2. 2012 – CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s top court says it has suspended its work indefinitely to protest “psychological pressures.”

The Supreme Constitutional Court’s announcement Sunday comes hours after it postponed a ruling on the legitimacy of an Islamist-dominated panel that drafted a disputed new constitution for the country.

Several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have gathered outside the Nile-side courthouse in Cairo to prevent the judges from entering.

The court said in a statement it cannot work in a “climate filled with hatred” and that its judges could not enter the courthouse Sunday because they feared for their safety.

The judges also were expected to rule to on the legitimacy of another Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, or the Shura Council.

The protesters began to gather outside the court on Saturday night and the officials said the judges did not show up at the court on Sunday out of fear for their safety.

In the past, Islamists have assaulted secular politicians, lawyers and activists outside court complexes as judges inside deliberated rulings anticipated to be against their interests.

Islamists say that the courts are filled with judges loyal to Hosni Mubarak’s ousted regime. The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled in June to dissolve the Islamist-dominated People’s Assembly, parliament’s lawmaking lower chamber, on the grounds that a third of its members were illegally elected.