Alert Update: Muslim Brotherhood in Trial Tomorrow

———————————————–
Islamic Human Rights Commission
———————————————–

14 April 2008

Alert Update: Muslim Brotherhood in Trial Tomorrow

Contents
1.Summary
2. Background
3. Action Required
4. Sample Letters

1. Summary
A verdict is expected for the detained MB leaders in the upcoming military trial on 15 April 2008. Khairat Al-Shater, the third-in-command at MB, and the rest of the defendants have been in detention for more than a year now, even after a civilian court in Egypt found them innocent of the charges levied against them.

Meanwhile, MB members have been the victims of a brutal crackdown in recent weeks, as municipal elections were held on 8 April 2008. Many human rights groups believe this is the regime’s attempt to ensure that chances of a likely election victory for MB are minimized.

This is a crucial period for Khairat Al-Shater and the rest of the detained MB members and IHRC requests all campaigners to email/fax the respective authorities mentioned at the end of the alert and urge them to ensure the release of the detained MB members.

2. Background
A verdict is expected in the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) trial to be held tomorrow, 15 April 2008. MB leaders and many human rights groups believe that the MB trial verdict was deliberately postponed to be held after the municipal elections held on 8 April 2008, to ensure that chances of a likely victory for MB are minimized.

Meanwhile, the detained MB leaders have been charged with money laundering, terrorism, and belonging to a banned organization. Additional charges of running and financing a banned organization have also been levelled against some detained members, including the third-in-command Khairat Al-Shater.

The 40 MB leaders have been in detention for more than a year now; even after being declared innocent by a civilian court. They can face at least five years in prison if found guilty in tomorrow’s trial. The unjust military trial has been denounced by many notable international human rights groups, lawyers and activists.

In the past few weeks more than 800 MB members have been detained without charge; at least 148 of these were potential candidates for the elections held on 8 April 2008, states a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

According to Joe Stork, Middle East director at HRW, “These ongoing mass arrests of opposition activists, on top of the military trial, are a shameless bid to fix the upcoming elections…President Mubarak apparently believes that the outcome of the elections cannot be left up to voters.”

MB decided to boycott the elections after vast majority of its candidates were banned from contesting. Essam al-Erian, head of MB’s political bureau, called the April elections a ‘farce’ as only 20 of the group’s candidates were allowed to register as independents in the elections – a ‘tiny fraction’ of the 10 000 candidates it tried to register.

For further details, please visit https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3261 and https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=3256

To download the Prisoners of Faith campaign pack on Khairat Al-Shater, please visit https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2652

3. Action Required

a. Write to the Foreign Minister in your country and urge him/her to work for the release of Khairat Al-Shater and all other MB political prisoners in Egypt.

UK campaigners can write to:

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Fax: +44 0207 839 2417
Email: private.office@fco.gov.uk

b. Write to the Egyptian Ambassador in your country and urge him/her to ensure release of Khairat Al-Shater and all the other MB political prisoners in Egypt.

UK campaigners can write to:

HE Mr Gehad Refaat Madi
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
26 South Street
London W1K 1DW

Fax: +44 20 7491 1542
Email: etembuk@hotmail.com

4. Sample Letters

Sample letters are given below for your convenience

Sample letters are 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 extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

a. Sample Letter to Foreign Minister in Your Country

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Date]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Re: Khairat Al-Shater and other Muslim Brotherhood Members in Military Trial

I am writing to you regarding Khairat Al-Shater and several other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders and members detained in Egypt since 14 December 2006. They were arrested after some students, affiliated to the society, staged a demonstration at Al Azhar University to protest against government interference in student elections.

Mr Al-Shater and the rest of the MB leaders are known for their good standing and reputable position in Egyptian society. However, they have been charged with money laundering, terrorism, and belonging to a banned organization. The Cairo Criminal Court found no evidence against the detainees and ordered their immediate release. Nevertheless, the Egyptian Interior Ministry overruled the court decision and rearrested all the acquitted MB members. Subsequently, the assets of all the detained leaders and their families were frozen, and they were ordered to be tried in a military tribunal. This is not the first time that civilians in Egypt are being tried in a military court for non-military related charges.

The MB military trial has had several sessions, but there has been no positive outcome, instead many injustices and breaches of international human rights standards have been reported. Mr Al-Shater and some other defendants have been additionally charged with financing a banned organization.

Further, in recent weeks, hundreds of MB members have been arrested and thousands disqualified from contesting for municipal elections. The military trial verdict was also delayed till after the elections. Many human rights groups believe that this is an attempt by the regime to ensure MB is prevented from achieving a victory in the polls.

As Egypt is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), it is obliged to provide freedom of expression and association to its civilians and uphold the rights of the detainees. Yet, the regime is known for its suppression of political expression. Under the Emergency Law, the President has the authority to arrest suspects at will, detain them without trial for prolonged periods and refer civilians to military courts whose procedures fall far short of international standards for fair trial.

I request you to make representations on behalf of Khairat Al-Shater and the rest of the MB detainees and urge the Egyptian authorities to release them and all other political detainees immediately.

I also request you to urge the Egyptian authorities to respect international human rights standards, and to provide all citizens and opposition parties with their full civil rights, including the rights of freedom of expression and association.

I look forward to an early reply.

Yours sincerely

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

b. Sample Letter to Egyptian Ambassador to Your Country

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Date]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

Re: Khairat Al-Shater and other Muslim Brotherhood Members in Military Trial

I am writing to you regarding Khairat Al-Shater and several other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders and members detained in Egypt since 14 December 2006. They were arrested after some students, affiliated to the society, staged a demonstration at Al Azhar University to protest against government interference in student elections.

Mr Al-Shater and the rest of the MB leaders are known for their good standing and reputable position in Egyptian society. However, they have been charged with money laundering, terrorism, and belonging to a banned organization. The Cairo Criminal Court found no evidence against the detainees and ordered their immediate release. Nevertheless, the Egyptian Interior Ministry overruled the court decision and rearrested all the acquitted MB members. Subsequently, the assets of all the detained leaders and their families were frozen, and they were ordered to be tried in a military tribunal. This is not the first time that civilians in Egypt are being tried in a military court for non-military related charges.

The MB military trial has had several sessions, but there has been no positive outcome, instead many injustices and breaches of international human rights standards have been reported. Mr Al-Shater and some other defendants have been additionally charged with financing a banned organization.

Further, in recent weeks, hundreds of MB members have been arrested and thousands disqualified from contesting for municipal elections. The military trial verdict was also delayed till after the elections. Many human rights groups believe that this is an attempt by the regime to ensure MB is prevented from achieving a victory in the polls.

Your country is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), it is obliged to provide freedom of expression and association to its civilians and uphold the rights of the detainees. Yet, political expression is routinely suppressed in Egypt. Under the Emergency Law, the President has the authority to arrest suspects at will, detain them without trial for prolonged periods and refer civilians to military courts whose procedures are not in accordance with international standards for fair trial.

I request you to work for the immediate release of Khairat Al-Shater and all the other MB detainees.

Further, I request you to ensure that international human rights standards are respected in your country and that all citizens and opposition parties are provided with their full civil rights, including the rights of freedom of expression and association.

I look forward to an early reply.

Yours sincerely

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

—————————————————————————————————————-
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Please help IHRC by visiting https://www.ihrc.org.uk/catalog and making a donation or buying an item from our on-line store.

If you want to subscribe to the IHRC list please send an email to subscribe@ihrc.org

If you want to unsubscribe from the IHRC list please send an email from your subscribed email address to unsubscribe@ihrc.org

If you are reusing this alert, please cite the source.

For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

Join the Struggle for Justice. Join IHRC.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org