Defiant Egypt prosecutor general returns to work, holds press conference

Ahram Online, Saturday 13 Oct 2012

Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud holds a press conference at office and continues work as usual rejecting what he described as threats from Morsi presidency to leave job

Egypt prosecutor general
Egypt's General Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud (L) looks at documents brought by his assistant in his office in the High Court in Cairo October 13, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Amid tight security, Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud holds a press conference in his office at the Egyptian Supreme Court on Saturday after a night of demonstrations demanding his resignation.

Protesters from the April 6 Youth Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated at the Supreme Court late Friday in support of President Mohamed Morsi's decision to remove Mahmoud from his position as prosecutor general. The prosecutor general has simply refused to back down from his post and continues to work in his capacity as usual.

The two locked horns when Morsi tried to remove Mahmoud from his office after the Cairo Criminal Court acquitted all defendants accused in the Battle of the Camel attack on Tahrir Square protesters on 2 February.

Public anger at the prosecutor general has brewed for a long time as critics charge his office failed to aggressively prosecute those accused of killing protesters throughout the two years since the Egyptian uprising leading to the acquittal of most defendants.

Mahmoud, backed by many of the judiciary, argued that Morsi's attempt to replace the prosecutor general was not within his presidential mandate, as it violates judicial independence and the constitutional principle of the separation of powers.

Morsi offered Mahmoud the position of Egypt's ambassador in the Vatican, instead; an occupation which the general prosecutor describes in the Saturday conference as "unfit" for a man in his position. 

Mahmoud further stated that he had no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood, the organisation that fielded Morsi for president, providing proof in that the judiciary had supervised the parliamentary elections in which the Brotherhood's political wing the Freedom and Justice Party gained a majority of seats.

The prosecutor general also accused the presidency of threatening him by stating that he might face a fate similar to that of legendary Egyptian judge, Abdel-Raziq El-Sanhouri, who was attacked by supporters of former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser during the infamous "Massacre of Judges" purge of judges in 1969.

Meanwhile, the head of the Judges Club, Ahmed El-Zend, stated on Saturday that the current crisis between the judiciary and the presidency should be solved within hours. El-Zend said the judiciary cared most about the good of the country and that they will work on solving the issue.

Egyptian judges condemned earlier on Friday President Morsi's attempt to remove the prosecutor general from his post. Judges' Club spokesperson, Mohamed Abdel-Hadi, said that judges and members of the prosecutor's office would protest in support of Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud outside his Cairo office on Saturday.

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