The Palestinian Authority has decided to suspend a senior Muslim religious judge (kadi) who criticized the PA judicial system and complained about anarchy and lawlessness.
The decision, the first of its kind since the death of Yasser Arafat, contravenes promises made by his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to democratize Palestinian society and encourage freedom of expression.
The kadi, Dr. Hassan Jouju, was suspended following an interview he gave to the Jerusalem-based biweekly Sawt al-Nissa (Voice of Women) on April 14. 'The Shari'a (Muslim religious law) judiciary suffers due to the lack of legislation that regulates work, so chaos has spread,' he said in the interview. 'We work by God's will.' The kadi's remarks reflected widespread criticism of the PA's secular and religious judiciary systems, which have long been held responsible for the absence of law and order.
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