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Egypt's new prosecutor resigns amid judicial feud with president

Egypt's prosecutor, Talaat Ibrahim, resigns as tensions persist between judges and President Mohamed Morsi.

December 18, 2012|By Reem Abdellatif, Los Angeles Times
  • A man hangs a banner with a photo of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, where demonstrators have been backing Morsi in a struggle with the judiciary.
A man hangs a banner with a photo of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi at the… (Amr Nabil, Associated Press )

CAIRO — Egypt's public prosecutor, appointed by President Mohamed Morsi last month, resigned from his post Monday amid ongoing tension between the nation's judiciary and the president.

Talaat Ibrahim submitted his resignation to the Supreme Judiciary Council, according to the state-run news agency. The council said it would deliberate Sunday on whether to accept the resignation.

Members of the Judges Club and the nation's judiciary have been furious with Morsi since he decreed Nov. 22 that an Islamist-led assembly writing the nation's draft constitution was immune from judicial oversight.

He also appointed Ibrahim in place of former Prosecutor General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, a judge appointed by deposed President Hosni Mubarak. That move also sparked anger among the judiciary.

Morsi rescinded his controversial decree after the draft constitution was finished this month. But street protests have continued to sweep the nation and judges have continued to question the president's declarations.

On Saturday, Egyptians voted on the draft constitution in 10 of 27 districts during the first phase of a two-part referendum. The draft was approved by 57% of those who voted.

Residents of the remaining 17 governorates are scheduled to vote on the draft on Saturday.

In the latest tussle between Morsi and the judiciary, the State Council's Judges Club announced Monday that it would not oversee the second phase of voting because of what it said was the presidency's failure to comply with its conditions to protect judges from intimidation and end the siege on the Supreme Constitutional Court by the president's supporters.

Ultraconservative Islamist protesters have continued to surround the court, the nation's highest, demanding that it be dissolved.

Most of the nation's judges have refrained from overseeing the referendum on the draft constitution. The document is favored by most of the nation's Islamists, while secular, moderate and liberal groups have denounced it as failing to provide adequate safeguards for Egypt's diverse society.

Egypt's National Salvation Front, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition figure and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has called for mass demonstrations Tuesday to urge rejection of the document.

Abdellatif is a special correspondent.

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