• February 25, 2012

Abdel-Maksoud: Muslim Brotherhood Has Constitutional, Judicial and Popular Legitimacy

Abdel-Maksoud: Muslim Brotherhood Has Constitutional, Judicial and Popular Legitimacy

Salah Abdel-Maksoud, Muslim Brotherhood (MB) lawyer, said that, ever since its inception in March 1928, the group insisted on acquiring legitimacy under Egyptian law. He pointed out that the MB originated under the provisions of law as well as recognized constitutional provisions. It was established, from the outset, as a fully legal entity. It was never, at any time, in violation of the provisions of the law.

In a statement, the MB lawyer said that when the group applied for registration, to the Egyptian judiciary, there was a legal debate about the MB’s activities, goals and objectives. Eventually, the judiciary confirmed, in no ambiguous terms, that the group had been granted legal status that cannot be impugned, stripped off or withdrawn, and that the right of association was guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens.

On the MB’s legal cover, Abdel-Maksoud said, “The Egyptian judiciary confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic establishment and a group, not a limited type of ‘Society’, and that it gained its moral character due to its formation on the basis of established principles, and that if the group violated any laws, judicial authorities should intervene”.

Further, Abdel-Maksoud pointed out that there are a number of laws that govern the MB’s affairs. For example, with regard to charitable activities, it is governed by the law of charitable association; while, for its political activities, it is governed by the law of political parties.

Abdel-Maksoud said, “What we want to emphasize, now, is that as the group originated and formulated its character, it gained legitimacy from an essential, comprehensive legal system.

“Back in 1992, the Administrative Court confirmed in a judgment that there is no decision, judgment or resolution that bans the Muslim Brotherhood or its activities.  Indeed, this why the court rejected a request for cancellation of a ‘perceived’ resolution to dissolve the group. That court decision was then challenged in the Supreme Administrative Court, but has never been overturned. This means that the group has judicial legitimacy that allows it to exercise its activities”, the MB lawyer added.

Moreover, court decisions and the legal principles have always generally accepted that an organization can be deemed a legal entity via either legal resolutions or real on-the-ground presence.

Abdel-Maksoud said: "Even if we, for argument’s sake, assume that there is doubt regarding the legal status of the group, its real presence on the ground confers legitimacy on the group through popular legality evidenced by the Egyptian people who helped win the majority of seats in both parliament chambers, win the syndicate board memberships, and leadership and executive participation in university staff clubs, student unions, sports and social clubs all over Egypt".

The Brotherhood lawyer explained that – by law – the People’s Assembly (PA) is not entitled to discuss any matter or dispute that is still being considered by the judiciary. Since there are appeals to the said court decision still being considered, this law is still applicable; and therefore the PA should not discuss this matter, because that could be interpreted as unacceptable and unlawful interference by the legislative authority in the work of the judiciary.

Abdel-Maksoud underlined the MB’s full respect for the right of every MP to look into negligence of ministers through the various conventional parliamentary tools available, especially questioning, which is an indisputable right of the utmost importance when the government veers away off course.

The MB lawyer asserted that the group does not receive any funding, internally or externally, and that its only source of income is member subscriptions and private money (belonging to individual members) subject to internal controls of relevant MB institutions.

He demanded that anyone who has evidence that the Brotherhood received any internal or external funding to head for the Office of the Public Prosecutor and submit a statement; otherwise they would become guilty of being aware of a crime committed and not reporting it.

In conclusion, the MB lawyer said, "The Muslim Brotherhood denounces any continued claims and charges against the MB, which will take legal action about them, especially as they seek to incite public opinion against the group".