Middle East

Egypt court overturns Morsi sacking of top prosecutor

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
President Morsi is currently attending the Arab League meeting in Qatar

An Egypt appeal court has ordered the reinstatement of the country's top prosecutor, sacked by President Mohammed Morsi in November.

The court also cancelled Mr Morsi's decision to appoint a new prosecutor general, Talat Ibrahim.

Mr Morsi's removal of Abdel Maguid Mahmoud angered senior judges, who saw it as an attack on their authority.

The sacking was one of his first moves after issuing a decree granting himself sweeping new powers.

The decree took away judicial powers to reverse decisions made by the president. But Mr Morsi eventually retracted it after a rising tide of protest.

However, he kept in place his new appointment as prosecutor general.

Judicial battle

The incumbent prosecutor, Mr Mahmoud, had been appointed by ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

In December, amid outrage over his appointment, Mr Ibrahim made, and then retracted, an offer to resign.

Talaat Ibrahim in a file image from November 2012
Talat Ibrahim was asked to re-examine investigations into the deaths of anti-Mubarak protesters

Unless the appeal court verdict itself is overturned, Mr Ibrahim will be compelled to resign and Mr Mahmoud will be returned to his post.

A senior official in the office of the Attorney General told BBC Arabic the government would appeal to Egypt's highest court, the Court of Cassation, before the matter was settled.

Mr Morsi has faced a range of problems since he took office in June 2012 after the country's first post-Mubarak presidential election.

As well as a simmering feud with the judiciary, pro-reform protests in Cairo have continued, with deaths during anti-Morsi protests to mark two years since the fall of Mubarak.

The president has also been accused of failing to hold officials accountable for alleged crimes carried out during the Mubarak years.

There was a wave of violence in January 2013 following the imposition of death sentences on 21 people over football violence.

Political progress has been slow in Egypt, with parliamentary elections scheduled for this spring now postponed with no new date set.

According to a report by Egypt's official news agency, Mena, Mr Morsi - currently in Qatar for a meeting of the Arab League - now estimates the polls will be held as late as October.