The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
The Great Debate
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Slideshow
Download our Wider Image iPad app
Images of October
Twinkies bakers say they'd rather lose jobs than take pay cuts
China angers neighbors with sea claims on new passports
4D scans show fetuses yawn in the womb
21 Nov 2012
Samsung wins U.S. court order to access Apple-HTC deal details
Massive pileup shuts down Texas interstate
Egypt PM to visit Gaza in support of Hamas against Israel
Gaza truce pressure builds, Cairo in focus
Israel authorizes more reservists after rockets target cities
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more
Our latest pictures from inside Israel and Gaza. Slideshow
Battle for Syria
Rare scenes from the fighting inside Syria. Slideshow
Mursi draws fire with new Egypt decree
Egypt's Mursi shields assembly writing constitution
Egypt's Mursi orders retrial of Mubarak-era officials
Analysis & Opinion
After the ceasefire
Getting away from the ‘Arab Street’
Middle East Turmoil »
Images from inside both the Gaza Strip and Israel. Slideshow
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi smiles during a meeting with South Korea's presidential envoy and former Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan (not in picture) at the presidential palace in Cairo October 8, 2012, a day after Mursi's ''Al Nhada (Renaissance) project.
Credit: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
By Marwa Awad
Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:40pm EST
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi triggered controversy on Thursday by issuing a decree likely to lead to retrials of Hosni Mubarak and his aides but which was compared to the ousted leader's autocratic ways.
As well as ordering retrials for Mubarak-era officials responsible for violence during the uprising against his rule, the decree shielded from legal challenge an Islamist-dominated assembly writing Egypt's new constitution.
It gave the same protection to the upper house of parliament, dominated by Islamists allied to Mursi, and assigned the president new powers that allowed him to sack the Mubarak-era prosecutor general and appoint a new one.
It stated that all decisions taken by Mursi until the election of a new parliament were exempt from legal challenge.
Presented as a move to "protect the revolution", the decree won immediate praise from Mursi's allies but stoked fears among secular-minded Egyptians that the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies aim to dominate the new Egypt. It seemed likely to deepen the divisions that have plagued the post-Mubarak era.
"These decisions will feed discord in Egyptian politics and will be far from creating a favourable climate for restoration of economic growth," Mustapha Kamal Al-Sayyid, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said.
Leading liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei, writing on his Twitter account, said Mursi had "usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh". But Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman for the Brotherhood, described the move as "revolutionary and popular".
The decree appeared to remove any uncertainty still hanging over the fate of the assembly writing the constitution. The body has faced a raft of legal challenges from plaintiffs who dispute its legality.
Critics say its popular legitimacy had been further called into doubt by withdrawals of many of its non-Islamist members who had complained their voices were not being heard.
The constitution is a crucial element in Egypt's transition to democracy. New parliamentary elections will not be held until the document is completed and passed by a popular referendum.
The decree also gave the body an additional two months to complete its work, meaning the drafting process could stretch until February, pushing back new elections.
The move to order a retrial of Mubarak-era officials will likely be popular among those who feel that revolutionary justice has yet to be served.
Mubarak, 84, was sentenced to life in prison in June for failing to prevent killings that occurred during the uprising that led to his February 11, 2011 downfall. He has been held in a prison hospital since his sentence was handed down.
Yet critics have faulted the process by which he and other officials were put on trial. One of the problems, they say, was that the Mubarak-era prosecutor general had not been replaced.
Mursi had tried to replace Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, the man sacked on Thursday, in October. The move kicked up a storm of protest from judges who said the president had exceeded his powers and was threatening their independence.
Mursi got around the problem this time by giving himself the power to appoint a new prosecutor general, Talat Abdullah, whose swearing-in was shown on state television.
Heba Morayef, Egypt director for Human Rights Watch, said: "Egypt needed judicial reform and the public prosecutor is a Mubarak holdover, but granting the president absolute power and immunity is not the way to do it."
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Tom Perry; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Roddy)
Middle East Turmoil
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.