Egypt's prosecutor general refuses to resign after sacking
Cairo: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has sacked the prosecutor general, a Mubarak-era official, who refused to comply with the orders arguing that a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority.
In another confrontation with the judiciary, Egyptian President removed Abdel Meguid Mahmoud Mahmoud yesterday to defuse public anger over acquittals in a case of brutality against protesters during last year's uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime.
"I remain in my post," Mahmud told reporters. "According to the law, a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority."
The main reason for the dismissing Mahmoud was the acquittal of all figures of the former regime accused of masterminding the "Battle of the Camels" against protesters in the iconic Tahrir square on February 1, 2011, during the days of the Egyptian revolution.
Mahmoud claimed late on Thursday that despite being fired, he would not leave his post.
Citing the Law on Judicial Authority in his defence, Mahmoud issued the statement in response to Mursi's announcement of his removal from office and appointment as the ambassador to the Vatican instead.
Mursi had met with Vice President Mahmoud Mekky, Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and several ministers at the presidential palace earlier yesterday to discuss the latest domestic developments.
Mursi was asking for faster results from the fact-finding committee he had established after his election to uncover evidence against former regime officials.
Calls for Mahmoud's removal began earlier this year after former Interior Ministry Habib al-Adly's aides and other police commanders were acquitted of charges that they were responsible for the deaths of protesters during the January, 2011, revolution.
There have also been several calls to separate the post of the public general from the government's executive branch.
A draft law is on the table, proposing that the Supreme Judicial Council appoint the public prosecutor, and not the President.
The spokesperson for Egypt's public prosecution services has denied reports that Public Prosecutor Mahmoud, who is currently undergoing medical treatment abroad, has been removed from his post.
Former Judges Club president Zakariya Abdel Aziz denied reports circulated on social networking websites that he had been nominated by the presidency for the prosecutor general's post.
This is the second major clash with the judiciary since Mursi assumed power on June 30, this year.
The first clash was when he ordered the parliament, which was then dissolved by virtue of a court verdict, to re-convene.
Meanwhile, Mursi pledged to bring to justice Mubarak-era officials following acquittals of ex-regime men accused of organising attack on protesters during last year's uprising.
"We will never ignore those who committed crimes against the nation and corrupted it," Mursi was quoted by the official MENA news agency as saying.
"They will be dealt with by the judiciary and legal system," he said.
Mahmud's refusal to resign after Mursi's order has been backed by an influential group of Egyptian judges, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
Judges claim the president's decision was infringement on judicial independence.
Judges' Club spokesperson Mohamed Abdel-Hadi said judges and members of the prosecutor's office would protest in support of Mahmoud outside his Cairo office tomorrow.
The Judges' Club will hold an emergency session on Sunday evening to discuss the issue, Abdel-Hadi said.