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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Egypt’s government declares Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist group”

Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo
(Image: The Insider)
Egypt’s interim government headed by the Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy has officially declared Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist group”. This decision was taken and announced one day after deadly blast hit Nile Delta city of Mansoura.

Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa has declared in an official statement released on Wednesday, 25 December, on Egypt’s state TV that Egypt’s Cabinet of Ministers has taken a decision to ban the activities of Muslim Brotherhood and to define the group as a “terrorist organization” and to make it subject to Article 86 of state’s penal code. This article defines terrorism, terrorist activities and penalties for it. In addition to that interim government has also banned activities of several NGOs affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Commenting this decision of the state’s authorities Mr. Eissa stated that Tuesday’s blast in Mansoura, recent attacks and explosions in the churches, several attacks in Sinai and series of violent and aggressive acts aimed to disrupt security on the country were attributed to the members of Muslim Brotherhood and led to this decision of Cabinet of Ministers.

It’s worth mentioning though that Muslim Brotherhood has strongly condemned Tuesday’s Mansoura blast and denied its connection to the attack. Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Ansar Jerusalem based in Sinai Peninsula has claimed its responsibility for the Tuesday blast in Mansoura. Investigations are ongoing, but they haven’t defined any links between this terrorist organization and Muslim Brotherhood yet.

Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy during press conference
where Muslim Brotherhood was declared terrorist group
(Image: Press TV)
Egypt’s Armed Forces and military backed interim government have launched massive crackdown on the members of Muslim Brotherhood and the group’s supporters after violent dispersal of pro-Morsy sit-ins in Cairo in the middle of August. Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t declared the terrorist group and wasn’t officially banned till this Wednesday, though there have been attempts to ban the activities of Muslim Brotherhood in the court. In addition to that hundreds of members of the Islamist group including leaders and prominent figures have been arrested and are being facing trials on the charges of incitement violence, disrupting state’s security and links to the terrorist organizations.

Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsy himself faces trial on numerous charges including international espionage.

Egyptian experts though think that this decision of the interim government could have serious legal challenges, as it is actually only administrative decision, which cannot have any legal backgrounds. There was no law issued in Egypt giving the power to the Prime Minister to take decision like that and to brand the group as a terrorist organization. This decision can be easily appealed in the administrative court, according to the experts.

Muslim Brotherhood's logo
Representatives of different Human Rights’ organizations commented on the situation and stressed that there are the moods in the society that all the current security problems appeared in Egypt could be caused by the one group, such as Muslim Brotherhood, so these problems could be probably solved if Muslim Brotherhood would be declared terrorist organization and take responsibility for all the problems. Such a situation though brings a lot of concerns, think human rights’ activists.

The problem is also, that it is almost impossible to clearly identify members of the Muslim Brotherhood, as this is civil organization and, unlike the political parties, it doesn’t have the lists of its members. There are also some fears that the recent decision of Egypt’s government could be used to silence any oppositional force by branding its members Muslim Brotherhood’s members. Many experts also add that such a decision needs international support as well.

Meanwhile Muslim Brotherhood itself continues to deny the group’s connections with the terrorist organizations.