Egypt judges to boycott Mursi's constitution referendum

Judges in Egypt say they will boycott the president’s proposed referendum on a new constitution.

The threat comes amid ongoing protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, two days after Mohammed Mursi called for a national ballout this month.

The demonstrators complain the draft is too slanted towards an Islamist agenda and there are also concerns about women’s rights and individual freedom.

One influential judges’ body says it will not oversee a vote in protest at perceived undue pressure.

“Egypt’s judges refuse to supervise a referendum on the constitution that has been scheduled for December 15. This is our response to the so-called constitutional decree which must be cancelled or frozen along with all its clauses,” said the head of the Judges’ Club, Ahmed el-Zend.

Opposition groups have called for protests against the referendum on Tuesday.

The Supreme Constitutional Court stopped work, saying Mohammed Mursi’s supporters had prevented judges from reaching the building at the weekend.

The president has assumed near absolute powers he says are only temporary, arguing the constitution will guarantee a real democratic system.