• MB News
  • June 26, 2008
  • 8 minutes read

Ahmed El Nahhas, Another Victim of MB Military Tribunal

Ahmed El Nahhas, Another Victim of MB Military Tribunal

Ikhwanweb is publishing a series of interviews that were conducted with a number of Muslim Brotherhood members who were acquitted from the most notorious military tribunal last April. After some 70 court sessions in a period of fourteen months which observers and media were not allowed to monitor, and after civil courts dropped all charges against defendants and deemed them “politically motivated” the verdict session was held in the absence of the accused and their defense panel who did not even have a copy of the rulings.  Of the 40 defendants, 15 have been acquitted; two have been sentenced to seven years in jail (including Khairat El Shater MB deputy chairman), five to five years, 13 to three years, and another five to ten years in absentia.

Muslim Brotherhood businessman, Ahmed Al Nahhas, was acquitted by the military court trying 40 Muslim Brotherhood leaders after a fourteen-month detention period. Because the charges were fabricated and the court had no real guarantees, he refused at first to stand trial. The detention-acquittal rollercoaster and the most important lessons derived from this trial are in the following interview:
Ikhwanweb: Tell us about the arrest and the incidents following it.
El Nahhas: The arrest was very bizarre to me. I was one of a few persons arrested in daylight by two campaigns of security services. The first campaign headed for my office and found me there and it searched it altogether. After that the officer asked me about the main office of the company “Rezina Tours”, and I told him that it belongs to me and gave him papers proving this. He seized these papers along with a PC and sums of money in the safe of the company. Meanwhile there was another campaign storming into the house and searched it in an arbitrary manner, seizing PCs, some religious and engineering books and personal contracts, but there was no papers related to the Muslim Brotherhood. I was taken to state security prosecution in Cairo to start the trial.
Ikhwanweb: How did you and your family react to these moments?
El Nahhas: Thank God, I and my family were very quiet, especially that this wasn”t the first time to face such situations. I was arrested in 1981- I was at that time Alexandria University student union chief, and I was arrested in 1987.
Ikhwanweb: You said you were detained in the past. Was this detention similar to the past ones?
El Nahhas: I though at the beginning that this detention will be like the past ones and that it will not last. I expected it to last a month or two or five at maximum. However, when the case was referred to the military court, I knew for sure that there are premeditated plans to order special convictions, especially after the civil court acquittals which weren?t implemented, issuing other arrest warrants immediately after them.

Ikhwanweb: Why did you refuse to stand trial before the military court?
El Nahhas: I have a good experience in military courts. Although this was the first time to attend it as an accused, but I attended it three times before with my father in law, Mohamed Hussein, my uncle Dr. Ibrahim Al Zaafarani and with my friend and boss engineer Medhat Al-Haddad. I knew the violations and lack of real guarantees for a fair trial in such military courts.
We were sent to the military court once every two weeks to hear the issue of our provisional detention. We were standing before three judges and spoke with them using argument and evidence that may escalate many times to verbal disputes between lawyers and judges because of the latter’s attitudes. Once, the lawyer asked the judge to order us a 45 day provisional detention instead of 15 because we suffer in prison trucks every time, and the lawyer said to the judge:” I know that you can”t do so”, to the laughter of the judge who after deliberation prolonged the detention to 15 days.
Ikhwanweb: How did you feel after you heard you were acquitted?

El Nahhas: I was so sad on that day. No one of those acquitted was happy after some of us were convicted. We wished that all of us had been given the same rulings, acquittal or conviction because this long period of provisional detention made us closer to each other and we became a united family. I and my family wept over this separation.
Ikhwanweb: After hearing the military court rulings, what is your comment?
El Nahhas: This is not a court ruling. These rulings were actually issued by the state security and the policies committee in the ruling National Democratic Party. The judge did not issue such rulings and wasn”t convinced with the accusations of the state security officer against us. The judge was even stammering while reciting the ruling and if he was reading it for the first time, and he left the courtroom immediately to escape our prayers against him and I do not know how he slept that night.
Ikhwanweb: Was there a situation that affected you during this ordeal?
El Nahhas: At the day of the verdict, after waiting for 4 hours in the courtroom and after lawyers were denied access, a feeling of disappointment overwhelmed me when the judge started to pronounce the acquittal rulings for many Muslim Brotherhood leaders including dr. Khaled Awda, dr. Abd Al-Rahman Saudi and engineer Osama Sharby, while others were convicted and received from three to ten years prison sentences.
Ikhwanweb: Has your family been affected by your absence?

El Nahhas: The absence of the father undoubtedly affects the stability of the family, but my boys lived up to the responsibility and co-operated with their mother to do her job. All of them were responsible.

Ikhwanweb: What about relatives and neighbors?

El Nahhas: My relatives and neighbors supported us through prayer and offering aid if necessary. Even my company clients and people whose engineering projects I am supervising as a consulting engineer, and also engineers to whom I am a syndicate treasurer. All of them supported me.
Khwanweb: But you must have faced obstacles or problems.
El Nahhas: The problem was in sealing off the company and the apartment which contain contracts and papers of contractors and clients which made employees lose their jobs. Even the rented apartment was sealed off and the owner could not use it although he has filed a lawsuit to restore it. I hope I could help him restore it.
Ikhwanweb: What is the message you would like to send to the Muslim Brotherhood or those close to you?
El Nahhas: I say to the Muslim Brotherhood, you are on the right path. You face severe afflictions. The military convictions or prison will never harm you as this is the cost we should pay for defending our cause.
Ikhwanweb: What are the lessons you learnt from this latest ordeal?
El Nahhas: There are many lessons, the most prominent of which are gaining more discipline, training one”s self on sacrifice, and readiness for any possible affliction, and not to waste any time without working for my country’s reform.