Mursi assumes sweeping powers
Cairo, November 23, 2012
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree on Thursday ordering retrials of Hosni Mubarak-era officials involved in perpetrating violence against activists during the uprising against his rule and also sacked the general prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud to appease protesters.
Mursi's decree implies that Mubarak himself will face a retrial. He was sentenced to life in prison in June for failing to prevent the killing during the uprising that led to his Feb. 11, 2011 downfall.
Mursi tried to remove Mahmoud in October to calm protesters furious about the acquittal of a number of senior state officials who had stood trial over the issue but was forced to keep him in place after judges protested.
Egypt’s president also issued constitutional amendments granting himself far-reaching powers. Mursi decreed immunity for the panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it.
He granted the same protection to the upper chamber of parliament, which is largely toothless. Both bodies are dominated by Mursi’s Islamist allies. Several courts are currently looking into cases demanding the dissolution of both bodies.
Parliament’s lower chamber, also dominated by Islamists, was dissolved in June by a court decision on the grounds that the rules governing its election were illegal.
The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority.
Mursi appointed Talat Ibrahim as new prosecutor general who will occupy his post for a period of four years.
The legal adviser worked for Bahrain judiciary as a judge in the High Criminal Court for five years from 2007 until October 22 last year when he returned to Egypt before the end of his secondment and took office of president of the Cassation Court.-Reuters
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