Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council on Sunday urged Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdallah to resign and return to his former position as a judge. Abdallah has been criticized [Egypt Independent report] by the liberal opposition who accuse him of targeting critics of President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the Muslim Brotherhood [party website], and independent media, including the popular television satirist Bassem Youssef who was recently arrested [Daily News Egypt report] for allegedly insulting Islam and Morsi. Abdallah was appointed after Morsi dismissed the former Prosecutor-General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud last November in a controversial declaration that also immunized Morsi's own decisions from judicial appeal. Presidential spokesman Omar Amer said last week that Abdullah will remain in office despite an Egyptian appellate court decision [JURIST report] last month that stated that the Prosecutor-General post is not subject to presidential dismissal.
Egypt has been the seat of political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began two years ago. In a controversial move last month, Abdallah issued [JURIST report] arrest warrants for five activists for their alleged involvement in an opposition campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi. To quell the growing violence and unrest that resulted in the deaths of at least 50 Egyptians, President Morsi declared [JURIST report] a state of emergency in January, giving military the authority to arrest and detain instigators. During the same month, rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that police abuse and torture has not improved since the abuses experienced under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera Profile].