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 forces fight to tighten noose around Mosul

In Syria, Kurds restore ancient names to Arabised towns

UN call to extend Yemen truce falls on deaf ears

Turkey reports over 35,000 people in detention after coup attempt

In violation of constitution, Iraq parliament votes to ban alcohol

Turkey hits Kurdish group in Syria again

Kremlin aims to 'liberate' Syria with Assad in power

Egypt court upholds 20-year sentence for Morsi

Turkey PM warns EU: Turkey has alternatives!

Battles rage in Yemen despite three-day truce

For second day, Iraq forces clash with ISIS in Kirkuk

New report accuses Syria of chemical attack in Qmenas village

Islamic Jihad stages show of force in Gaza

UN says 'crimes' in Aleppo are 'of historic proportions'

IS sniper kills Iraqi journalist in Kirkuk

US official says coalition should target IS in Raqa after Mosul

Moscow extends Aleppo ceasefire

Italy PM says officials should have voted against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ accused of fraud

UN: IS may use civilians as human shields in Mosul

Armed men attack refugee boat off Libya

US says will work with Turkey to deal IS 'lasting defeat'

Moscow ‘highly concerned’ at jihadists’ refusal to leave Aleppo

Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit

Mauritania president says no change to two-term limit

UN delays Aleppo evacuations due to lack of security assurances

Oman denies reports of arms smuggling to Yemen

Israel looking to buy three more German submarines

83 migrants rescued off Cyprus

Under pressure in Mosul, IS fighters attack Kirkuk

Air strikes hit Yemen rebels despite ceasefire

US officials: Iran boosting arms sales to Huthis via Oman

Iraq forces make gains against IS near Mosul

Arab coalition accuses Yemen rebels of breaching truce

Italian PM blocks EU sanctions threat against Russia over Aleppo

Pentagon chief in Turkey for talks on tensions with Iraq

Israeli occupation troops kill Palestinian teenager

Iraqis flee IS-held Mosul for war-torn Syria

Five years after his death, Kadhafi's 'Green Book' is ridiculed in Libya

Iraq issues warrant for former governor of Mosul

EU leaders threaten sanctions against Assad allies

Syria army urges residents to evacuate Aleppo during ceasefire

British warships shadow Syria-bound Russian naval force

Turkey unexpectedly keeps interest rate steady

British PM urges united EU response to Russia over Syria 'atrocities'