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Oct 14, 2012

Recent Violence in Tahrir Square

The recent violence and increasing tensions in Egypt, reflected in Tahrir Square (October 12, 2012) where more than 110 people were injured, is attributed to the following factors.

The first factor is the recent court decision to release 23 people from prison and dismiss the accusations against them due to a lack of evidence. Some of the accused were high-ranking government officials in the Mubarak regime who were accused of killing and injuring protestors in “The Camels’ incident” in Tahrir Square a few days before the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The supporters and opponents of current president Mursi called for a protest in Tahrir Square to protest the court decision. In the mean time, President Mursi issued a presidential order to relieve Egyptian Chief Prosecutor Mr. Abdel Maguid Mahmoud from his position. He also appointed him as an Egyptian ambassador to the Vatican. The prosecutor rejected the order by saying that the law provides him with immunity and no person has the right to remove him, unless he wants to retire or leave office. Mr. Abdel Maguid Mahmoud was appointed to office by the previous president Hosni Mubarak.

The rumor behind the reason for his removal is that incriminating evidence related to the deaths of some protestors was removed, leading to the dismissal of the case against the 23 people accused of being responsible for the Camels’ incident.

In the mean time, the judicial Egyptian Council met with the chief prosecutor as well as with President Mursi deputy Mahmoud Maki to discuss the case.

The judicial council has requested that the president withdraw his decision and let the chief prosecutor continue in his position.

Mahmoud Maki made a public statement to the press that the president respected the request of the judicial council and will reverse his decision regarding the chief prosecutor.

The consequences of such a situation raised questions (pro and con) regarding the case of Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.

Some judges stated publicly that many cases were submitted to the chief prosecutors for prosecution and were rejected without investigation. If such allegations are true, then the people responsible in the Ministry of Justice to maintain the ethical standard of the judicial system and its independence should investigate such situations. Nevertheless, President Mursi committed a blunder. He should have proceeded with his decision regarding the resignation of the chief prosecutor.  After all, one of the main demands of the revolution was the dismissal of the chief prosecutor who was responsible for the prosecution of Mubarak’s opponents and the cleansing of the judicial system for corruption.

The second factor that contributed to the increasing tension between the supporters and opponents of President Mursi is the proposed draft of a new constitution. When he assumed his new role after the election, President Mursi promised to dissolve the committee that was appointed by the Egyptian parliament before it was dissolved by the Egyptian Higher Court to draft a new constitution. The majority of the committee’s members were from Islamic political groups, which reflected unjustified representation of all segments of Egyptian society.  However, he failed to do so. The Egyptian media reported that the drafting of the new constitution would be presented to the public for ratification. The circulating news revealed that the proposed new constitution is short of equal representation of all segments of Egyptian society. If such rumors turn out to be true, it will lend more support to the opponents of President Mursi and support the belief that he and his party, the “Freedom and Justice Party”, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, have been following a policy of deception since they joined the January 25th Revolution five days after it started. Such a political strategy, especially on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood and other political Islamist groups such as the Salafis, are contributing to the rising tensions among various groups in Egypt. Such negative political consequences will create barriers in the way of economic progress, which the country needs badly.

President Mursi has the capability to put an end to such a strategy and to implement the objectives of the Egyptian Revolution. 

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