Egyptian prosecutor general refuses to resign despite President's order

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 04:30 hrs

-ANI): Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday ousted Prosecutor General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud in a presidential decree, but the prosecutor refused to resign.

Morsi's decision came one day after the Criminal Court decided to acquit all defendants accused of attacking peaceful protesters at Cairo's Tahrir Square in what is known as "camel battle" during the anti-government protests last year.

An assistant to the prosecutor general will take up his responsibilities until a new one is appointed, the state TV quoted an official source as saying.

However, Mahmoud asserted Thursday that he did not submit his resignation, adding that he is still in office.

According to the current judicial authority law, the president is not entitled to sack the prosecutor general, the official Ahram online reported.

Morsi's legal consultant Mohamed Gad Allah said the decision to sack Mahmoud "is a response to the Egyptians' will."

A total of 24 top officials of the dissolved former ruling National Democratic Party, including former speakers of Shura Council (upper house) and People's Assembly (lower house), Safwat Sherief and Ahmed Fathy Serour, were charged for murdering demonstrators in February 2011 at Tahrir, the epicenter of protests that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

The lawsuit against them said they had hired dozens of men to ride horses or camels to frighten and disperse protesters in the square, and the attack had killed at least 11 people and injured thousands of others.

However, the court noted that the reasons for its decision to acquit the defendants were insufficient evidences and unreliable witnesses.

The court's decision disappointed several segments of the society. The "April 6" movement, in line with the Islamic movements, has called for a nationwide protest on Friday over the court decision.

Hundreds of protesters flocked to Tahrir Square Thursday evening in preparation for a "one-million-man march" against the court decision. The protesters, mainly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, gathered in the central park of the square and called for retribution for the victims.

Some civil forces called for a Friday demonstration initially to express opposition to the formation and activities of the Constituent Assembly, which is tasked with drafting the constitution. Nevertheless, the court decision attracted more movements to the march.

Ahmed Abdel Atty, chief of the presidential office, said Morsi' s decision to sack the general prosecutor was taken for the interest of the country, although the prosecutor did not participate in the investigations into the "camel battle" case.

"The general situation in Egypt is complicated and all things are more or less related to each other. So we can't say the ( president's) decision has no relation to the court decision," Atty said during a press conference.

Morsi has urged his government to speed up the work of the fact finding commission, which he ordered to form in July to collect evidences about last year's anti-government protests and those responsible for the death of peaceful protestors.

Some political movements have asked for retrial of those charged in the camel battle, Atty said, adding that "in all cases that are related to the real murderer of the protestors, justice wasn't achieved."

Meanwhile, the judges' club has called for an urgent meeting Thursday night and sent a message for Mahmoud asking him to refuse any other post offered by the president. (Xinhua-ANI)

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