[JURIST] A disciplinary panel for two Egyptian judges who complained of alleged fraud in last years parliamentary elections [JURIST report] Thursday reprimanded pro-reform judge Hisham Bastawisi but cleared Mahmoud Mekki of whistleblowing allegations. The rulings came amid clashes [JURIST report] between riot police and supporters of the judges which began last week; protesters have also been rallying in Cairo to protest the recent extension of emergency laws [JURIST report] that have been in effect since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat [CNN profile]. Egyptian police sealed off the city center and arrested over 200 members of the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] and other protesters who came to support the two judges, including Islamist movement spokesman Issam al-Aryan and former leader of the Muslim Brotherhoods parliamentary group Mohammed Mursi.
Bastawisi, who suffered a heart attack Wednesday, was not present at the hearing even though rights groups had called for a postponement due to his health. Bastawisi and Mekki are two of ten judges stripped of judicial immunity [JURIST report] and charged with slander after criticizing last years parliamentary elections. Several judges have called for more judicial independence [JURIST report] from the government led by President Hosni Mubarak [official profile]. Aljazeera has more.