First Published: 2012-10-12

 

War between Egypt’s Morsi, top prosecutor heats up

 

Egyptian President vows justice to bring to justice Mubarak-era officials after top prosecutor’s flap.

 

Middle East Online

By Samer al-Atrush - CAIRO

Who will win it?

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi pledged on Friday to bring to justice Mubarak-era officials, a day after his bid to sack the top prosecutor infuriated a judiciary wary of its new Islamist leader.

Morsi reopened a rift with the judges on Thursday after trying to remove the state prosecutor following acquittals of ex-regime men accused of organising an attack on protesters during last year's uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

"We will never ignore those who committed crimes against the nation and corrupted it," he said in a speech at a mosque in the coastal city of Alexandria.

"They will be dealt with by the judiciary and legal system," he said in the speech reported by the official news agency MENA.

An influential group of Egyptian judges backed state prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmud's refusal to resign after Morsi ordered his removal, the official Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

Morsi's bid to remove Mahmud by appointing him as ambassador to the Vatican tried to bypass checks on presidential control of the prosecutor, further enraging judges after Morsi had unsuccessfully tried to reverse a court order disbanding the Islamist-dominated parliament.

Ahmed al-Zind, head of the Judges' Club, said the judiciary was backing Mahmud in a bid to uphold "the sovereignty of the law and the principle of separation of powers," Al-Ahram reported.

He said the judges would hold an emergency meeting "to confront the current crisis that aims at harming the judiciary."

Zind's group had fiercely opposed the Islamist's election last June, which ended a military-led transition after a popular uprising overthrew Mubarak in February 2011.

Morsi's attempt to sack Mahmud came after his Muslim Brotherhood movement called for protests against the acquittals.

By early afternoon on Friday, hundreds of protesters had gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square raising chants honouring those killed in the anti-Mubarak uprising: "Either we get them their rights, or we die like them."

Brotherhood supporters briefly skirmished with demonstrators attending a rally in the square against the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly which is drafting Egypt's next constitution.

Television images showed a group of Brotherhood supporters tearing down a podium raised by their rivals.

The Supreme Administrative Court is set to rule on the assembly on October 16, after several lawsuits challenged its legality and the mechanism for choosing its members.

Morsi had pledged to retry Mubarak and his senior officials for their roles in the killing of protesters during the revolt, after trials that critics said had been bungled by the state prosecutor's office.

On Wednesday, a court acquitted 24 people -- including the former speakers of Egypt's two houses of parliament, Safwat al-Sherif and Fathi Surur -- of organising the attack on anti-Mubarak protesters during the uprising.

The February 2, 2011, assault by pro-Mubarak supporters -- some riding horses and camels -- on protesters in Tahrir Square came on one of the revolt's bloodiest days, with clashes leaving more than 20 dead.

Around 850 people died during the 18-day uprising.

The Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, which Morsi headed before his election, said the prosecutor must either present new evidence for a retrial or resign.

"The responsibility for achieving justice falls primarily on the state prosecutor," it said in a statement reported by the party newspaper on Friday.

Mubarak and his former interior minister Habib al-Adly were sentenced to life in prison in June for failing to prevent killings of protesters during the revolt, but their police chiefs were all acquitted.

 

Iraq reform process in limbo after Green Zone storming

US in desperate bid to salvage Syria ceasefire

Egypt journalists hold sit-in after police raid of press syndicate

Iran to grant citizenship to families of killed foreign recruits

Five years on, bin Laden doctor languishes in jail

EU praises Turkey efforts to meet criteria for visa deal

Sudan claims 'sovereign rights' in dispute with Egypt

Amnesty denounces ‘shocking’ conditions in Iraq detention centre

Carnage in Iraq as deadly car bomb targets Shiite pilgrims

PKK attack kills at least one soldier in southeast Turkey

Turkey pounds ISIS positions in Syria

Top Sudan court lifts ban on leading newspaper

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive