Egyptian authorities are suspending and investigating a provincial prosecutor who ordered a man flogged 80 times for public drunkenness.

Spokesman Mahmoud el-Hefnawi of the prosecutor general's office says the country's top attorney ordered Hussein Anani's decision cancelled and referred him to a judicial investigation.

Anani had cited verses from the Quran in his ruling.

Anani's decision late Sunday surprised police officers in the southern province of Minya who refused to carry out the order. Public intoxication is a criminal offense in Egypt, with penalties ranging from small fines to around three months in prison.

Egypt's penal code does not mention flogging, however.

Rights lawyer Anas Sayid Saleh says that only judges, not prosecutors, have the right to order punishments.