Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud was quoted by Egypt’s official news agency as saying that he will remain in his post. His brief statement came just hours after Morsi ordered him to leave his position as prosecutor general and become the ambassador to the Vatican.
In a comment to a news website, the Seventh Day, Mahmoud said, “I am upset” over Morsi’s order.
Egyptian law protects the prosecutor general from being ousted by the president, A judges’ club called for an emergency meeting to protest Morsi’s decree which they see as a blow to the judiciary.
Ahmed el-Zind, the head of the powerful association of judges, said that the judges will not bow to Morsi’s decision.
“This is a farce . . . we will not bow,” he said and added, “the era of tyrants is over.”
Zind, an opponent of Morsi and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “We announce from here our solidarity with the prosecutor general,” he added.
It was not possible to reach presidential spokesmen to comment on Mahmoud’s refusal to step down. Unconfirmed reports suggested that Minister of Justice Ahmed Mecci has submitted his resignation.
Though Morsi’s decision had considerable public support, it appeared similar to his move to restore the Islamist-dominated parliament to session despite a decree by the Supreme Constitutional Court, which dissolved it over election law violations. The parliament then met in a single, short session.
Morsi has been sending mixed messages to public. He has been shaking up the country’s state institutions removing much hated figures from Mubarak’s regime, but by replacing them with Islamists or sympathizers, he has sparked concerns from many liberal and secular parties.
The latest dispute over removing the prosecutor general carried a double message.
Morsi’s goal appeared to be to appease public anger over the acquittal Wednesday of 24 Mubarak loyalists accused in last year’s attack on demonstrators. Many accused Mahmoud of failing, intentionally or due to incompetence, to present a strong case against the accused, leading to acquittals.