Top courts join anti-Morsi stir

International

Egypt's highest appeal courts suspended their work Wednesday to protest presidential decrees that gave Mohamed Morsi nearly absolute powers, state television reported, deepening the turmoil roiling the country since the decrees were announced last week.

Judges with the high and lower courts of appeal decided that they will not return to work until Morsi rescinds his decrees, according to state TV. Judges of the high appeals court, known as the Court of Cassation, described Morsi's decrees as an "unprecedented'' assault on the judiciary and its principles that "defies belief.'' It said the decision to stop work at all its circuits was unprecedented but justified by the "magnitude'' of the crisis.

In another show of defiance, the Supreme Constitutional Court — the nation's highest — rejected charges made by Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood that it is working to bring down his government. The court also denounced Morsi's claim that it was part of a "conspiracy'' against him.

"But what is most saddening for the court's judges came when the President of the republic joined, in a painful and cruel surprise, the continuing attacks against the constitutional court,'' it said.

A strike by the appeals courts and the rare criticism of the President in the Supreme Constitutional Court's statement came a day after Egyptians poured into Tahrir Square. Clashes between some protesters and police continued Wednesday off Tahrir.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and hardline Salafi parties will hold protests across Egypt on Saturday in support of Morsi, the Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said. "We have called for pro-Morsi nationwide protests. The exact locations of the protests are currently being discussed."

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