Egypt's first female judge dies of Covid-19, aged 71

Appointed vice president of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court in 2003, Tahany El Gebali was celebrated as a leading feminist

Egypt's first female judge, Tahany El Gebali.
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Egypt’s first female judge, Tahany El Gebali, died on Sunday aged 71 after contracting Covid-19.

The former vice president of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court died at a hospital in Giza, where she was being treated for the disease.

A funeral for El Gebali was held on Sunday in her home town of Tanta, the largest city in Egypt’s Gharbia province. Thousands attended the funeral, which was televised on local television channels.

An outspoken critic of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, El Gebali in 2003 became the first Egyptian woman to be appointed to a judiciary position, by then president Hosni Mubarak.

She was the only woman on the bench until the induction of 32 others into the judiciary in 2007.

Born on November 20, 1950, El Gebali graduated from the faculty of law at Mansoura University in 1973.

After news of her death emerged, Egyptian social media users were markedly divided on her legacy.

Some lamented the loss of one of the country’s most prominent feminists, while others criticised her for controversial constitutional amendments that she approved after the 2011 popular uprising that removed Mubarak.

Her rulings were widely criticised for undermining the power of the people during the uprising and handing it to the military-led interim government that preceded the brief rule of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi.

Updated: January 10, 2022, 7:38 AM