New Delhi, July 2 According to Ikhwanweb, an Egyptian court has exonerated a businessman belonging to Ikhwanul Muslemeen, affirming that the original decision to disband the Ikhwan wrongly treated it as a political party, which it certainly was not.
CairoCriminal Court, headed by Justice Noor al-Din Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, has announcedreasons for its ruling in a case that Egyptian media knew as the case of‘International Organization’ of the Muslim Brotherhood, having acquitted DrOsama Suleiman, a businessman and one of the icons of the Ikhwan, of thecharges of joining a group founded in contravention of the provisions of law,and money laundering.
Inits historic statement of reasons, the court stressed that the Ikhwan was neitherfounded in violation of the provisions of the Constitution or the law, nor didthe prosecution provide any evidence whatsoever to prove that the group – atany time – called for ignoring or abolishing the provisions of the Constitutionor the law, or for preventing state institutions and the public authoritiesfrom exercising their duties. The court further added that the Ikhwan,therefore, did not actually commit any act that could lead to such offences.
Thecourt stated, "Having studied and carefully considered the reality of theEgyptian political scene and economic life in Egypt, the court believes thatthe Ikhwan was founded at the time in accordance with the provisions of thelaw. After the 1952 revolution, the government considered the Ikhwan a politicalparty, subject to a newly enacted law to disband political parties. This Courtconsiders that the IKhwan never behaved or was described as a political party,and certainly was not established under the political parties law.
"Therefore,to dissolve the Ikhwan, the authorities should have referred to the lawaccording to which the organization was originally established, which is theNGO law. When the Revolutionary Command Council issued the decision to dissolvethe organization, it turned the Ikhwan into a political party against thewishes of the Ikhwan’s members, which is not lawful. The Revolutionary CommandCouncil did not have the authority to force people to enter in a politicalparty or form a party against their will. Thus, the decision to disband the Ikhwanwas null and void. Hence, the Ikhwanul Muslemeen cannot be described as anorganization established in contravention of provisions of law."
Earlier, the Ikhwan leaders claimed, the organization has always sought to be amongst the first establishments to secure its legal status as a registered charitable and non-profit civil society association.
TheIkhwan leaders had said the group was making serious efforts seeking tolegalize their status. According to them, in compliance with the new NGO law, theEgyptian People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament, aimed to issue anordinance as soon as it convenes, affirming that the Ikhwan will be the firstto seek to adjust its legal status as an NGO, just as it promptly legalized itspolitical activities through its political wing, Al Horreya Wal Adala (Freedom and Justice Party).
Ikhwanleader Saad Al-Husseini said the organization was seriously seeking to adjustits legal status, pointing to ongoing extensive consultations with many NGOs onthe new law on civil society associations, which will be issued immediatelyafter the People’s Assembly was reinstated. On the issue of the futurerelationship between the group and Al Horreya Wal Adala, once the group hadadjusted its position, he explained that Al Horreya Wal Adala will becompletely independent in all its political activities.
Forhis part, Mukhtar Al-Ashri, Chairman of the Al Horreya’s Legal Committee,asserted the group’s keenness to work within the law and under the control ofthe Central Auditing Agency, accusing the former regime of obstructing thelegalization of the group. He pointed out that the parliamentary electionsproved that the group's legitimacy is confirmed by street and people power,saying that immediately after the NGO law was issued, the group will be thefirst to reconcile their status as an NGO. He accused those who sought to banunlicensed groups and organizations of seeking to revive gagging policies bywhich the former regime thrived.
Ashrifurther explained that when the government decision to disband the group wasissued, back in 1948, it was promptly canceled by the judiciary, and theruling’s arguments stressed that the group had acquired a legal status thatcannot be taken away except by the judiciary, and that the group was in fact aninclusive Islamic organization which cannot be subject to the narrow definitionof the law of civil society associations.
Headded that while the government claimed it disbanded the group in 1954, itfailed to provide the text of the resolution disbanding the group for 30 years,which confirmed the continued legal status of the Ikhwan, and that it did notneed to re-legalize its status. However, Ashri stressed, that the group didseek to review its legal status, after stability was restored to the volatilepolitical scene.