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Egypt court overturns president's removal of prosecutor-general

An Egyptian appeals court on Wednesday overturned the November 22 decree [Daily News Egypt report] by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] which dismissed [Al-Jazeera report] Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud. Morsi had removed Mahmoud from office following the acquittal of some who had been charged with murdering protesters against the rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive] during the uprising which brought Morsi to power. The decision [BBC report] was based on a constitutional clause which established that the prosecutor-general post comes with a four-year term and is not subject to presidential dismissal. The decision of the court annuls current Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah's appointment to the post. The court's ruling is not final, as it can be overturned by the Court of Cassation which is Egypt's highest appeals court.

Egypt has been plagued by protests, power struggles and violence since the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] two years ago. On Monday, Abdallah issued arrest warrants on Monday against five activists for their alleged involvement in recent clashes between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood [party website]. Earlier this month a Cairo court affirmed the death sentences [JURIST report] of 21 individuals convicted of inciting a deadly riot after a soccer match in Port Said last February, which killed 74 people and injured more than a thousand. Dozens have died in street protests since the death sentences were originally handed down in late January, leading Morsi to declare a state of emergency [JURIST report] in an attempt to quell the violent protests that subsequently erupted. In January, an Egyptian rights group reported that police abuse and torture continue to be ongoing issues [JURIST report] and police conduct has not improved since the abuses faced under the old regime. In December, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] indefinitely halted operations [JURIST report] amid pressure from protesters aiming to block judges from meeting to rule on the validity of the country's new constitution.

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