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.

 

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Spectacular attack on Iraq prisoner convoy

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks

Baghdad closer to breaking political limbo

Gaza death toll passes 700 mark

Mladenov pleads for UN help to end IS 'atrocities' in Iraq

Hamas hails suspension of Israel flights as 'great victory'

Lebanon army records first case of desertion to join Syria Nusra Front

Iraq gunmen kill female former candidate for parliament

Kerry cites ‘some steps forward’ in Gaza truce efforts

Turkey hunts for nine intelligence officers in wire-tapping probe

Suspension of hostilities in Gaza to allow medical assistance

Assassination of famed Somali musician and lawmaker

Sisi defends Egypt in trying to broker Gaza truce

Syria welcomes nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN envoy

Iraq lawmakers stall presidential election as violence yields grim crop of bodies

Yemen president calls for unity

Etihad helps Jet Airways return to profit

Is Tunisia returning to old regime censorship?

Qatar emir in unannounced visit to Saudi

HRW: Iraq air strikes wreaking awful toll on civilians

Kuwait revokes pro-opposition TV, newspaper licences

Twin suicide bombing shakes Libya's Benghazi

Islamic State expands into tourism in Syria, Iraq

Car bomb rips through Baghdad checkpoint

Israel escalates merciless Gaza onslaught

Turkey detains dozens of senior police officers for 'spying'

Saudi Arabia ousts head of Syria opposition government

Maliki meets Sunni tribal leaders in new bid to gain support

Israeli envoy: Our soldiers deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

Rights group denounces Kuwait's revocation of citizenship

Kerry again places onus on Hamas to accept ceasefire

Britain finds evidence of effort to Islamise state-run schools