Is Morsi Strong Enough to Start the Battle Against the Judiciary ?

Photo credit AP Egyptian Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud

 (Photo credit: AP) Egyptian Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud addresses his supporters, defying a presidential decision to remove him from his post.

On [October 10, 2012], Muslim Brotherhood publicly defied Egypt judiciary by telling it failed condamning the 25 defendants in the Battle of the Camel trial, then adding Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud, in charge of the trial and formerly appointed by Hosni Mubarak, should resign from office. The 25 were accused of murder in one of the bloodiest battle between Mubarak henchmen and protesters, on February 2, 2011. As an answer, Mahmoud declared he would not leave his post unless he is assassinated, referring to different threats Mahmoud said Muslim Brotherhood addressed him.

The following day, President Mohamed Morsi announced that Mahmoud was offered a post as Egypt’s ambassador to the Vatican. The president said the decision aimed at protecting top Prosecutor from people displeased with Court’s decision in the Battle of Camel trial. However, Mahmoud refused the higher status and presented himself at his office next morning. With the support of the Judge’s Club and of many colleagues, he pointed out that the president does not have any constitutional right to dismiss him. Meanwhile, Vice President Mahmoud Mekki presented another version of the events in an official statement. Mekki claimed that Mahmoud accepted an ambassadorship to the Vatican at first, in compliance with the presidency, then changed his decision. This other version allegedly shows Mahmoud challenged Morsi. At stake is Morsi’s ability to impose his views to Prosecutor-General.

On October 13, 2012, top Prosecutor Mahmoud, the High Judicial Council and President Morsi held a meeting after which Mahmoud expressed his gratitude towards the president, who he said had approved his choice to remain in position.

A the end, Morsi failed in replacing a top member of the Judiciary who belongs to Mubarak’s circles, despite his numerous manoeuvres to force him to withdraw. In the power struggle, Mahmoud was backed by stronger personalities, allies of the former era, members of the old regime institutions.

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