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Afghan Lawmakers Fire Five Senior Judges

Lawmakers accuse President Hamid Karzai of trying to intimidate parliament.
Lawmakers in Afghanistan have voted to fire the five most senior members of the Afghan Supreme Court, deepening a political crisis.

The move comes after a special tribunal, established by President Hamid Karzai, ruled on June 23 that 62 lawmakers would have to be removed due to alleged voter fraud during recent elections.

Analysts say parliamentarians voted on June 25 to remove the Supreme Court justices to express their frustration over the court's failure to halt the ruling by the special tribunal.

Fatima Aziz, a lawmaker from northern Kunduz Province, said 183 out of 190 lawmakers voted to impeach the five members of the Supreme Court's High Council.

Ahmad Humayoun, a lawmaker from eastern Khost Province, said the vote was taken because the five had all advised Karzai to set up the special court.

Meanwhile, European Union Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas has met a parliamentary delegation, including speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, to discuss the crisis.

Whether the five judges will actually be sacked remains unclear. There has been no comment from the presidential palace, and Karzai is in Iran attending a security conference.

compiled from agency reports