October 12, 2012 demonstration and clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi. The issue was partially resolved the next day when the prosecutor was allowed to keep his job., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Updated October 13, 2012, 3:20 p.m. ET.
Egypt's President Drops Effort to Remove Prosecutor
By MATT BRADLEY
Wall Street Journal
CAIRO—Egypt's public prosecutor will remain in his post despite efforts by the nation's president to reassign him after the controversial acquittal of two dozen prominent former regime officials thought to have organized a violent crackdown on protesters last year.
Following a meeting between the two men on Saturday, President Mohammed Morsi retracted his announcement on Thursday that he was reassigning Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud as ambassador to the Vatican.
Mr. Morsi's abortive attempt to remove Mr. Mahmoud highlights the legal confusion that continues to dog Egypt's post-revolutionary transition. Mr. Morsi and his powerful Muslim Brotherhood backers have repeatedly tangled with Egypt's judiciary over questions of legal jurisdiction and constitutionality since protesters ousted former President Hosni Mubarak early last year.
In a conciliatory but defiant statement to reporters on Saturday, Mr. Mahmoud stressed that he and the judiciary have no quarrel with Mr. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, citing the judiciary's role in overseeing parliamentary and presidential elections in which the Brotherhood won victories this year.
Prominent judges rushed to Mr. Mahmoud's defense on Friday, calling Mr. Morsi's decision a violation of judicial independence despite the fact that Mr. Morsi's predecessor, Mr. Mubarak, had appointed Mr. Mahmoud.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people were injured on Friday when thousands of Brotherhood supporters protesting the acquittals of the former regime figures clashed with liberal opponents of Mr. Morsi's presidency.
Both secular-leaning and Islamist activists have long called for Mr. Mahmoud's dismissal. The prosecutor was known for his cooperation with the ousted regime and after last year's revolution, his office oversaw the failed prosecution of dozens of former regime officials and police officers who had used violence in a failed effort to suppress it.
The Brotherhood blamed the prosecutor when two dozen former regime heavyweights were acquitted on Wednesday for their alleged roles in a crackdown on Feb. 2, 2011, in which 26 activists were killed by hired thugs and Mubarak supporters.
Egyptians refer to the incident as the "Battle of the Camels" because several of the hired thugs were seen riding on camel and horseback.
Write to Matt Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org