Action Alert: Egypt –Referral of 5 Muslim Brotherhood activists to Emergency State Security Court

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[photo: ikhwanonline.com]

The Egyptian State Security Prosecution pressed charges against five prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the country’s leading opposition group.

 

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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30 April 2010

Action Alert: Egypt –Referral of 5 Muslim Brotherhood activists to Emergency State Security Court

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter


1. Summary

The Egyptian State Security Prosecution pressed charges against five prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the country’s leading opposition group. Some of the charges against them included affiliation to an outlawed group, money laundering and fund raising for an outlawed group.  They were referred to the Supreme State Security Emergency Court for Trial.

The defendants have had charges bought against them in a previous case called the ‘International network’ case, but these charges were dropped and all the defendants were released. However six months later the case was re- opened. The recent charges were also applied to the rest of the 32 defendants who were accused in the “International network” case, including three Members of Parliament. The unit which investigates Money Laundering Unit in the Central Accountancy Agency stressed that all funds are clear and there is not suspicion of money laundering conducted by the defendants.

It is believed that the reason behind these charges is to cut all aid supporting Gaza in order to force Hamas, to accept the terms and conditions of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. This would result in further restrictions on Hamas as the two chambers elections are approach.


2. Background

Since Brotherhood members won 88 seats in Parliament during the 2005 election, the government has viewed the group as a threat and the government uses various methods to discredit the group. MB members are also arrested and tried in military courts despite the fact they are civilians, and will have no right to appeal verdicts, resulting in an unfair trial.

Almost 345 members of the MB members are currently detained in Egypt with no charges, according to MB statistics.

Attorney General Abdel Megid Mahmoud referred five prominent members of MB to the Emergency State Security  Court over repeated charges.  The defendants include: the medical doctor and Assistant Secretary-General of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, Egyptian Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim in Yemen, Egyptian Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, medical doctor and businessman Dr. Osama Mohamed Suleiman and Saudi Arabian preacher Awad Mohamed al-Qarni.

Dr. Osama Mohamed Suleiman was the only one present in Egypt for the initial court session on Thursday, he is currently in custody while the other four are abroad and will be tried in absentia.

Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, one of the defendants told IHRC that “This is a game, the Prosecutor said that this is a vicious circle of accusations and you will always be accused in cases as long as you oppose the regime, and I am saying as long as the regime is going in the wrong way we will continue to reveal the truth and defend the rights of our nation regardless of what happens to us”

Abdel Maqsoud, MB’s lawyer stated that the reports of the experts in the Ministry of Justice appointed by the General Prosecution cleared and acquitted all defendants stating that  no evidence was found against them.

The State Security Prosecution has also refused to give a copy of the outcome of the investigation to the lawyers of the MB. However a copy of the investigation was leaked, whereupon MB lawyers stressed that the results of the investigation were not based on any real facts.

Dr. Wagdy Ghoneim, one of the defendants, stressed that the regime has accused him with ridiculous charges before, such as trying to overthrow the regime and threatening the public order by giving lectures about Islam.
IHRC believes that the Egyptian government should halt its suppression of the local rights group, opposition parties and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular and to end the continuous raids and arrests of MB leaders.

The Egyptian regime should not resort to the emergency courts in dealing with the opposition as it lacks the fair trial standards and where decisions cannot be appealed. The continued exercising of the abhorred 'emergency law' is a clear breach to the provisions of law and constitution and will lead to more chaos, disorder and injustice.

The use of the Emergency law in Egypt to justify arbitrary detention and the use of military courts against the opposition, political activists or bloggers was examined by the UN Human Rights council and condemned by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of fundamental rights while countering terrorism. He highlighted that administrative detention orders are often renewed immediately upon the release of defendants and or could just be ignored for long periods until new detention orders are obtained.

For further information on the Emergency Law please visit the following links:

http://ihrc.org.uk/activities/alerts/9295-forwarded-alert-egypt-mb-defense-calls-for-immediate-release-of-al-shater-and-his-companions

http://ihrc.org.uk/news/articles/9287-egyptian-security-forces-arrest-and-beat-peaceful-protestors-

http://ihrc.org.uk/activities/alerts/9269-update-alert-egypt-hezbollah-detainees-facing-the-death-penalty

http://ihrc.org.uk/activities/alerts/9243-update-alert-egypt-un-upr-reviews-human-rights-records-of-egypt


3. Action required

Write to Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, requesting him to urge the Egyptian government to investigate the use of the Emergency law in the new case against five MB members.

4. Sample letter
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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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(Campaigners can write using the address supplied below, Fax: +41 22 917 90 06 or email: urgent-action@ohchr.org)

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Mr. Martin Scheinin,
UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

Dear Mr. Scheinin,

Re: 5 MB members referred to Emergency State Security Court in a new application of the Emergency law


I would like to draw your attention to the continued violation used by the Egyptian government against civilians of the opposition through military courts.

Following the UN Human Rights Council review of the human rights situations in Egypt and the report issued based on your visit to Egypt in April 2009, which highlighted the use of the Emergency law in Egypt in situations not related to any terrorist activities, usually used against political activists, especially the MB and bloggers.

The defendants have had charges bought against them in a previous case called the ‘International network’ case, but these charges were dropped and all the defendants were released. However six months later the case has been re- opened. The recent charges were also applied to the rest of the 32 defendants who were accused in the “International network” case, including three Members of the Parliament.

It is believed that the reason behind these charges is to cut all aid supporting Gaza in order to force Hamas, to accept the terms and conditions of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. This would result in further restrictions on Hamas as the two chambers elections are approach.

The Money Laundering Unit in the Central Accountancy Agency stressed that all funds are clear and there is no suspicion of money laundering conducted by any of the defendants.
Almost 345 members of the MB members are currently detained in Egypt with no charges, according to the MB statistics.

The defendants include: the medical doctor and Assistant Secretary-General of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, Egyptian Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim in Yemen, Egyptian Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, medical doctor and businessman Dr. Osama Mohamed Suleiman and Saudi Arabian preacher Awad Mohamed al-Qarni.

Dr. Osama Mohamed Suleiman was the only one present in Egypt for the initial court session on Thursday, he is currently in custody while the other four currently abroad will be tried in absentia.   This is a clear example of what was highlighted in the report regarding administrative detention and ignoring unacknowledged detention until a new detention order is issued.

We are concerned that the recurrent use of the Emergency law against civilians, especially those who try to voice their opinions are suppressed by the government, which would only lead to more instability, outrage and disorder.

We request you to bring the case up in the UN Human Rights Council along with your other concerns regarding Egypt and the use of Emergency Law against civilians. We also ask you to intervene and take immediate action and investigate the current injustices being faced by members of the opposition.

Please urge the Egyptian government to respect the international human rights standards and the international covenants ratified by the Egyptian government which became part and parcel of its domestic law in accordance with Article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon about this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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