Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Egyptian judicial sources claimed that Egyptian Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud is being pressured to retire and step down from his post. This comes after tensions erupted between the Egyptian presidency and judiciary earlier this month in the wake of the acquittal of 25 Mubarak regime loyalists suspected of having orchestrated the 2 February, 2011, “Battle of the Camel” in Tahrir Square. Following this acquittal, which was met with widespread public anger and condemnation, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi dismissed Egypt’s top state prosecutor, only for Mahmoud to refuse to step down, telling reporters “according to the law, a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority.” This political controversy was eventually resolved with Abdel Meguid Mahmoud keeping his position following talks with the Egyptian president.
However Egyptian Deputy State Prosecutor, Adel Said, has claimed that the Egyptian Prosecutor General is now facing renewed pressure to step down. The past two days have seen numerous rumors and reports being circulated claiming that Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has resigned from his post as Prosecutor General over health concerns. The Egyptian judiciary strongly rejected these reports, viewing them as an attempt to destabilize the country.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat Deputy State Prosecutor Adel Said revealed that “these rumors are baseless and completely false”, confirming that Egyptian State Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud is not considering resigning and that he “enjoys good health.” He added “the Prosecutor General is working as normal from his office; he is working longs hours, in addition to visiting many prosecutors to inspect their work.”
The rumours of Abdel Meguid Mahmoud’s resignation first began to appear on Wednesday, attributed to Egyptian State TV. The media storm soon reached fever pitch with local news agencies reporting that the Egyptian Prosecutor General had stepped down, and that President Mursi was expected to issue an official statement confirming this. Twitter and Facebook were also filled with speculation regarding Mahmoud’s health and who would be appointed the next Prosecutor General.
An Egyptian judicial official, speaking to Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that “everybody was surprised by this news, and we received hundreds of phone calls asking about the veracity of these reports, and each time we would say this news is nothing more than prejudiced rumours.”
He added “we contacted Egyptian State TV officials and the Ministry of Information, who strongly denied that state television had broadcast any such news or reports regarding the Prosecutor General”
The source stressed that some parties – who he refused to name – were deliberately spreading these rumors about the Prosecutor General, seeking to psychologically pressure him to step down from his post, after the presidency had previously failed in this regard.
He also revealed that there is a state of anger and resentment amongst Egypt’s judges and prosecutors as a result of “successive attempts to interfere in the operations of the judiciary.”
As for the emergence of popular demands for the removal of Prosecutor General Mahmoud, the Egyptian judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “these are groups who have personal feuds with the Prosecutor General” adding “they have old scores that they want to settle at the expense of the public interest and Egyptian society, particularly as Prosecutor General Mahmoud was head of the Supreme State Security Prosecution during the period when armed terrorist groups were active, shedding the blood of Egyptian and foreign nationals during the 1980s and 1990s.”