Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

They keep pushing

How far will prosecutors go in pressuring the prosecutor-general to quit, asks Reem Leila

Al-Ahram Weekly

Prosecutors all over the country decided to suspend their strike until their general assembly meets on 14 January to decide whether Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdallah will continue in his post. Starting 2 January prosecutors staged a three-day strike to pressure Abdallah — who was controversially appointed by the president last November — to quit his post. Abdallah was appointed after former prosecutor-general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud was dismissed.
Prosecutors insist on putting more pressure on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to force out Abdallah who previously submitted his resignation to the council. Prosecutors told the media they will take additional collective action, but did not provide any further details until their general assembly convenes.
In a statement issued on 7 January prosecutors declared that their strike was continuing until Abdallah resigns, and the SJC selects another prosecutor-general “who represents the Egyptian people and not just a certain faction of society.” According to the statement, prosecutors called upon Abdallah to resign and return to his original work as a judge. “This would represent a victory for the independence of the judiciary,” the statement said.
Prosecutors are collecting signatures, to be presented to the SJC demanding the removal of Abdallah. At the same time they asked the council to strip Abdallah, Ahmed Suleiman, assistant to the justice minister and Hassan Yassin, official spokesman of the prosecution-general from their legal immunity. This is a step towards taking legal action against them for their recent statements against members of the prosecution. Suleiman and Yassin have recently been condemning prosecutors for suspending work and for staging sit-ins.
In the statement, prosecution members declared they will only “pay attention to the interests of the people and the country.” They expressed their appreciation of the SJC as well as of the Judges Club for the stance they took in support of the prosecutors. “Prosecution members will end their strike as soon as Abdallah leaves his post,” they added.
At the same time, a committee has been formed to defend prosecution members from the prosecutor-general. Abdallah has recently transferred several prosecutors from their posts while others are being investigated for being absent from work.
The committee will file cases against all those it said who “humiliated members of the prosecution or judges who have been working hard seeking independence of the judiciary system.” Mahmoud Hamza, official spokesman of the committee, pointed out the committee does not aim to dissect judicial authority, “but was after defending prosecutions and judges who are being severely attacked by legal figures.”
“The legal committee is currently discussing the necessity of transferring the affiliation of the Judicial Inspection Sector to the SJC instead of the Ministry of Justice. This will guarantee the fairness of its performance and will prevent any pressure to be exercised against any of its members. The committee is an independent entity and does not belong to any political faction,” said Hamza.
Last week, hundreds of members of the Judges Club, a delegation from the club’s branches in the governorates and representatives of prosecution members conducted an emergency meeting to discuss Abdallah. The meeting was headed by judge Ahmed Al-Zend, head of the Judges Club. After the meeting, Al-Zend said, “So far, there is no solution looming, however, we hope it will be resolved soon.”
Many judges and prosecutors boycotted judicial supervision over the referendum on the constitution, held over two days in December in protest against Abdallah.
In a show of solidarity with prosecution members, lawyers agreed on suspending work from 8-10 January and on filing a complaint to the SJC against Abdallah, accusing him of interfering in investigations into the recent presidential palace clashes.
Lawyers, prosecution members and judges were angered by Abdallah’s orders to prosecutors to detain dozens of protesters following clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi groups outside the presidential palace late last year despite a lack of evidence against them.
Prosecutors have rejected Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki’s invitation for a meeting in his office and requested instead that he attend their meeting on 14 January.
In an attempt to contain the crisis, Mekki is considering suggesting the name of the current prosecutor-general that the SJC will present to Morsi when selection time comes.
Sameh Al-Serougi, board member of the Judges Club, believes that the government is being manipulative regarding the issue of Abdallah. “I don’t think all the efforts which have been exerted either by judges or prosecutors will lead to anything. Abdallah will remain in his post. He is supported by the president and justice minister,” said Al-Serougi.
Mekki’s suggestion, according to Al-Serougi, “is the best proof of what I am saying. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to dominate everything in the country, even the judiciary authority. We will keep fighting them till the end and will never give up,” said Al-Serougi, who added that a possible solution ending the crisis will be announced soon. He refrained from providing any details. “Different alternatives are under discussion and nothing yet has been finalised.”

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