Islamic Human Rights Commission
15 December 2009
Update Alert: Egypt – Military Court of Appeal rejects Al-Shater’s appeal and WGAD condemns the decision
The Egyptian Military Court of Appeals rejected the appeal made by Khairat Al-Shater, second Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and 17 other leaders and members of the group. Their appeal was against the sentences issued against them in 15 April 2008, which ranged between 3, 5, 7 and 10 years imprisonment despite having no evidence proven against them. The Court had also acquitted 15 others in the case (Supreme Military Crimes).
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) produced a damning report condemning the way in which the authorities handled the case of Khairat Al-Shater and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The case of Khairat Al-Shater and other leaders and members of the MB has reached a deadlock and according to Abdel Monem Abdel Maqsoud, one of the lawyers from the defence team “This case should be closed due to the huge amount of violations and mistakes which is a precedence in the long history of conflict between the government and the MB”, pointing out that the government refused to implement the judicial ruling preventing the transfer of civilians to Military Courts.
This was in line with the conclusion by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ( No.27/2008) on 12 September 2008 which stated that “The deprivation of liberty of Messrs. Mohamed Khirat Saad Al-Shatar; Hassan Ezzudine Malek; Ahmed Ashraf Mohamed Mostafa Abdul Warith; Ahmad Mahmoud Shousha; Ayman Abd El-Ghani Hassanin; Esam Abdul Mohsen Afifi; Essam Abdul Halim Hashish; Farid Aly Galbt; Fathy Mohamed Baghdady; Mamdouh Ahmed Al-Husseini; Medhat Ahmad El-Haddad; Mohamed Ali Bishr; Mostafa Salem; and Murad Salah El-Desouky is arbitrary, being in contravention of articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and falls within categories I and III of the categories applicable to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group. [sic] [Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Opinion 27/2008 (EGYPT) adopted on 12 September 2008” (para 85)
The defendants were acquitted by the Cairo Criminal Court after having interrogated them, the Working Group considered their detention as arbitrary “these detentions would have been considered as arbitrary due to the fact that all these persons, all of them civilians, were tried before a military court which did not show the necessary qualities of competence, independence and impartiality.” (para 82)
The Working Group believed that the detention order was taken simply for political reasons as the ruling of the Criminal Court was not implemented. They were not issued an arrest warrant, instead the arrest order was made over the phone by a Colonel, which clearly violates Egyptian and international law.
“The source considers that the above-mentioned persons have been arrested and are being kept in detention solely for exercising their rights to freedoms of assembly, association, opinion and expression, rights enshrined by articles 18, 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).” It also added: “The source concludes pointing out that the use of military tribunals in Egypt has become selective, and is currently applied solely to the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. These tribunals are not independent, impartial nor competent and fail in guaranteeing due process of law according to international standards.” (para 41)
The WGAD report requested the Egyptian government “To take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of the above mentioned persons and to bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” (para 86)
The Egyptian authorities should take note of this damning report that undermines the fairness and impartiality of its legal system which is run under emergency law. More disturbingly, it is only applied to a certain section of Egyptian society which happens to be the political opposition to the government. This indicates the lack of freedom and equality which a significant portion of Egyptian society, have to live through on a daily basis.
To read the full WGAD report please see: WGAD OPINION No.27/2008 (EGYPT)
For further background information including prior IHRC alerts on the case of Khairat Al-Shater, please visit the following links:
Alert Update: Egypt – The Muslim Brotherhood trial verdict has been delayed till 15 April 2008, as council elections approach
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