Egypt’s prosecutor defies Morsi’s order
The dismissal of Mahmoud has been one of the major demands of pro-revolution forces since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. AFP photoEgypt’s public prosecutor has refused to resign after President Mohamed Morsi ordered his removal to allay public anger over the acquittals of Mubarak-era officials, setting the stage for another showdown between the two camps.
“I remain in my post,” Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, is known for having close ties with Hosni Mubarak, told reporters on Oct 11. “According to the law, a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority.” Earlier, Morsi had issued a presidential decree “appointing prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud as Egypt’s envoy to the Vatican,” state television reported, according to Agence France-Presse.
The dismissal of Mahmoud has been one of the major demands of pro-revolution forces since the ousting of former President Mubarak in February 2011, according to Egytptian daily Ahram. Morsi appointed Mahmoud to a post abroad because the Egyptian legal system does not give the president the power to dismiss the public prosecutor. Activists who played a central role in the protests that ousted Mubarak blame Mahmoud for the “weak evidence” offered by the prosecution in the case. They accuse him of being a loyalist of ousted president Mubarak’s old regime.
Mahmoud’s removal came just a day after a Cairo court acquitted 24 people, including the former speakers of Egypt’s two houses of Parliament of organizing a notorious camel-borne assault on protesters last year. The acquittals sparked public outrage and prompted calls for protests.
The infamous “battle of the camel” was seen as pivotal in drawing more crowds to join the anti-regime rallies. Mahmoud faced criticism even before the uprising following light sentences, in some cases acquittals, handed out to officials in cases of corruption and torture.
On Feb. 2, 2011, protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Mubarak supporters charged through the crowds on horses and camels, creating mayhem that quickly degenerated into violent clashes which left over 20 people dead.