The Cairo Court of Appeals rejected a request by Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdullah to recuse the court bench. Abdullah had requested the change due to a conflict of interest. According to Aswat Masriya, he had a feud with a member of the bench, who then proceeded to make statements to the media about the case. Abdullah said the comments violate the rule of law and undermines the neutrality of the presiding judge.
The court ruled Abdullah must pay a fine of EGP 12,000 for his request for the recusal of the court bench.
Abdullah also requested the courts dismiss an earlier ruling which deemed his position invalid, reinstating Abdel Meguid Mahmoud as the prosecutor general. The court has yet to rule on this request.
Despite the court ruling made on 27 March which invalidated Abdullah’s appointment by President Mohamed Morsi, the prosecutor general has continued to serve in his post pending the application of the court order.
Mahmoud had filed a request for an executive report in order to demand the enforcement of the court order, but Abdullah’s recusal request meant the order was on hold until the courts could rule on the matter.
Abdullah was appointed by Morsi in November 2012 as part of the president’s constitutional declaration which had granted him the power to make any decision with impunity “in order to protect the revolution”.
In his declaration Morsi announced the post of prosecutor general will be chosen by the president every four years and not by the judiciary. His declaration was met with widespread unrest and criticism from both international and local organisations.
Morsi had previously tried to remove the former prosecutor general, but was met with fierce resistance from the judiciary and non-governmental organisations which argued the president was interfering in the independence of the judiciary.