Sunday’s papers: Judiciary ‘defeats’ presidency, accusations over Tahrir violence fly

The news dominating Sunday’s papers revolves around Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, who walks out of a meeting with President Mohamed Morsy “victorious” as he retains his position as public prosecutor, despite the president’s attempt to send him to the Vatican as Egypt’s ambassador.

Coverage is framed in divergent ways, depending on the paper one reads; while privately-owned daily Al-Tahrir speaks of “the judiciary’s triumph over the presidency” on its front page, ruling Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece Freedom and Justice runs the headline, “The president accepts the Supreme Judiciary Council’s request for the public prosecutor to retain his position.”

State-run Al-Ahram reports that Morsy “backed down” after yesterday’s meeting between him and the SJC ended the “crisis” between the president and the public prosecutor, who came under fire after all 24 defendants in the Battle of the Camel trial were acquitted of killing protesters. In a letter sent from the SJC to the president, the former expressed their deep gratitude for Morsy’s preservation of the independence of the judiciary, Al-Ahram reports. Mahmoud is paraphrased as saying they exchanged their points of view on the matter, after which president agreed to let him retain his position.

The Wafd Party’s mouthpiece Al-Wafd, however, shows a much more defiant Mahmoud. He is quoted as saying nothing but assassination can make him leave his position. This narrative is also reflected in many of the privately-owned papers, like daily Al-Dostour, which emphasizes the judiciary’s victory over Morsy.

State-run daily Rose al-Youssef quotes Mahmoud as saying that the effort to dismiss him is an attempt at the “Brotherhoodization” of the judiciary.

Conflicting reporting abounds today. Whereas most papers quote Mahmoud as saying that Morsy accepted a request submitted by the SJC asking for Mahmoud to retain his position, Al-Tahrir quotes him, as well as the SCJ, denying any such request was sent to the presidency.

Freedom and Justice features only a short piece on page three, with no mention of any of the above contentions. The piece does make a reference to “thousands” of protesters who supported Morsy’s decision to dismiss Mahmoud and were calling for the purification of the judiciary in front of the Supreme Court.

Other news widely publicized is Friday’s clashes between Brotherhood members and sympathizers and other protesters. Freedom and Justice dedicated a lot of space to the clashes. The paper reports the arrest of three suspects in the burning of buses that transported Brotherhood members to Tahrir Square, one of whom has a criminal record.  

On page eight, the paper features a story about a lobby group meeting of businessmen and private satellite channel owners in one of Naguib Sawiris’ hotels. “Media experts” are quoted as saying the purpose of this closed meeting was to further develop anti-Islamist discourse, said to be widespread amongst privately-owned channels.

On the same page, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood central Cairo administrative office, Karem Dhawan, says the Brotherhood called upon its members to go the square at 3:00 pm Friday to stop the clashes, which led to 71 wounded members. Furthermore, he said they were given instructions to restrain themselves, and that they left Tahrir Square even though they were capable of facing the confrontation.

In the meantime, accusations of responsibility were made on both sides, from the Brotherhood against the protesters and from the protesters against the Brotherhood. Both sides hold the other accountable and say they are suing, Al-Ahram and Al-Wafd reported.

Managing editor for privately-owned daily Al-Shorouk, Wael Qandil, writes an opinion piece characterizing the day as “the Friday of swimming in the river of madness, where an absurdist war erupted, blood was shed in vain, so that everybody lost, and the only winner was looking from a distance laughing.” Slogans calling for the right of the martyrs, Qandil writes, were replaced by partisan war cries, and that in the shadow of the Battle of the Camel acquittals. “They did Mubarak’s feloul and the Battle of the Camel stars the greatest imaginable service.”

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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