Egypt’s Criminal Court Ruling Overturns Detention of MB Leaders

Egypt’s Criminal Court Ruling Overturns Detention of MB Leaders

On January 28, Cairo Criminal Court ruled that all charges brought by the Egyptian government against detained members of the Muslim Brotherhood were groundless and politically motivated. The court ordered their immediate release, however the government completely disregarded the court order and decided to refer the group to a military tribual using the emergency laws imposed since 1981. The following is the entire court ruling . .

Initial investigations by the Supreme State Security Attorney ended with their referral to the Appeals Court at the office of the Attorney General in Cairo. Having interrogated the accused, Counsel Hamed Tawfiq Hamed along with member Counsels Mohammed Fathi Sadiq, Yahya Al-Sayyed Al-Ghareeb and Chief Attorney Hani Hammouda, ordered the annulment of the arrest and search warrant issued by the office of Supreme State Security Attorney due to the lack of evidence in the records of the state security investigation bureau, and hence the invalidity of the order of exceptional detention.

The Court ruled to accept the appeal in form, while in essence annulling all decisions of exceptional detention issued by the State Security Attorney, hence ordering the release of all suspects with immediate effect and without bail. The Appeals Court memo stated that each of the accused had no relationship whatsoever with the Azhar University students and that the whole matter is of a pure political nature. The memo also stated that all charges made by the police and mentioned in the investigation records were fabricated and consisted of gross exaggeration, and subsequently the arrests that took place and the search of the homes of the accused were in no way conducive to the best interests of the nation and its security.

The memo added that that police deliberately fabricated this whole case in respect to all the accused and abused its powers in what was essentially a publicity-seeking case of a political nature, in which around 40 Azhar University students carried out a public demonstration. The Court also found that the case lacked any element upon which a case could be made and charges could be brought

The Appeals Court ruling also stated that there was no justification for exceptional detention as no gross breach of security was found, as claimed by the unacceptable records of the State Security Investigation Department, particularly in light of the accused being of good standing and individuals of high positions and renowned personal records.

The investigations, the Court ruled, were merely reflective of the personal opinions and stands of the authors of the report, Officers Atif Al-Husseini and Ahmed Mahmoud.Despite the ruling of the Appeals Court to release immediately, finally and without bail, the Interior Ministry refused to carry out the ruling and issued a warrant to arrest all the detainees, who in effect left the courthouse directly to prison, after which the State Security Attorney submitted an application to the Attorney General requesting the confiscation of the monies of the accused, their spouses and children, effectively preventing the wives and children of the accused to use their money or access their bank accounts in any way, while these are placed under the management of the National Egyptian Bank.

Despite the Appeals Court ruling of the invalidity of the investigations carried out by the security forces in respect to the charges brought against the accused, the State Security Attorney insisted in its memo to the Attorney General that the records showed sufficient evidence to back the charges which deem the move to freeze the monies and accounts of the accused necessary. This application was approved by the Attorney General and the above application was granted.

President Mubarak, in his capacity as Military Governor, then issued an order referring the accused to the Military Court, on a date that is expected to be announced early next month.

This brings the number of Military Courts before which leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood stood over the past 20 years, to five. The first was in 1995 following the convention of the Brotherhood’s Shura Council elections, then in 1996 when the Muslim Brotherhood decided to apply to establish a political party; Al-Wasat, and most notable amongst the then accused was the present General Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef. The third Military Court convened and before which the Muslim Brotherhood stood was in 1999 in relation to the case known as the Engineers’ Syndicate case involving Dr. Mohamed Ali Bishr and the fourth was in 2001 in the case of the university professors.