Tonight resignation of Talaat Ibrahim as Egypt’s public prosecutor is part of long and complicated dynamic that Egypt is currently witnessing. Here is an explanatory timeline. I hope it can help in understanding the background:
October 11: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi sacked Mubarak-era public prosecutor Abdul Meguid Mahmoud a day after a court acquitted stalwarts of the old regime of organizing an attack on protesters during last year’s uprising. However, Morsi’s order to dismiss Mahmoud exceeded his mandate. The law protects the prosecutor general from being fired by the president.
October13: Judge Abdul Meguid Mahmoud returned to his office in a symbolic display of independence and defiance of the president. Later, on the same day, President Morsi has agreed to allow prosecutor general to keep his job after an embarrassing public row.
November 22: Morsi issued an edict granting himself unprecedented power and remove the public prosecutor Abdul Meguid Mahmoud; in his place, he appointed Judge Talaat Ibrahim. It is worth mentioning that there were conflicting narratives about him, some suggesting that he had previously handed some politically motivated verdicts
December 11: Many judges, including the judges club, rejected Morsi‘s edict. A court in Cairo (the Azbakiya Misdemeanor Court) declined a case because it was referred to the court by the new public prosecutor, saying that he does not legally hold that position.
December12: Public prosecutor Talaat Abdallah has transferred the attorney general Mostafa Khater for East Cairo Prosecution to Beni Suef. The attorney general said the decision was based on work needs. However, the transfer followed Khater’s order to release 137 suspects detained during the recent clashes around the presidential palace, citing a lack of evidence.
December13: After outcry, Morsi-appointed public prosecutor reversed his decision to transfer attorney general who released all presidential palace detainees.
December17: Morsi-appointed public prosecutor Talaat Abdullah Steps down following protests by judges; Hundreds of judges and prosecutors had staged a protest at his office earlier in the day after marching from the Judges’ Club building. Supreme Judiciary Council has yet to accept resignation.
So in a nutshell, Morsi replaced Mubarak’s man with his own; Judges stood firm, rejected a prosecutor who was directly appointed by Morsi, and defended their independence, forcing the public prosecutor to submit his resignation. What’s next? Who knows?