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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Egypt’s Court overturns its decision designating Hamas as a terrorist organization

Hamas flag in Jerusalem
(Image: Times of Israel)
Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters has held its session on Saturday, 6 June, and overturned the previous ruling designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. The previous ruling designating Hamas as a terrorist organization was declared on 28 February 2015 by the lower Egyptian Court and was based on the claims that the group has carried out series of terrorist attacks on Egyptian territory, particularly in North Sinai, using numerous underground tunnels connecting the besieged Gaza Strip with Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

It’s worth mentioning that relation between Hamas and official Egypt deteriorated significantly after ouster of the Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The same lower court has declared Hamas military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, a terrorist organization and has forbidden all its activities in January 2015.

In addition to that, Egyptian Court has issued numerous death sentences to the members of Hamas organization in May 2015, along with the ousted President Mohamed Morsi and many other influential Muslim Brotherhood’s members, charged of organizing the prison break, destroying prison facilities and stealing the weapons, attempting murder and carrying out escape from the Wadi Al-Notroun prison during the January 25 uprising in 2011. The final verdict in this case is expected to be announced on 16 June, after the decision of Egypt’s Grand Mufti, who has to confirm or reject the death sentences.

Official Egypt has accused Hamas of supporting radical Islamists in Egypt and assisting in carrying out numerous terrorist attacks aimed at Egypt’s Armed Forces and security personnel. Hamas in its turn has repeatedly denied any possibility of interfering Egyptian internal affairs and strongly condemned all the previous convictions of the Muslim Brotherhood’s members.

Thus, on Saturday Egypt’s Appeal Court for Urgent Matters has officially overturned the decision designating Hamas as a terrorist organization and stated that the lower court, that has issued the ruling, lacked jurisdiction for taking such a decision.

This final verdict was issued based on a petition by the Egyptian government.

Shortly after announcing of the current verdict Hamas representatives praised this decision and claimed they hope that relations between Hamas and Egypt will strengthen. Hamas official spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated that the Saturday Court’s ruling regarding Hamas represents confirmation of Egypt’s commitment to the Palestinian issue and said that, while another Hamas representative and spokesperson, Ismail Radwan, stated that the organization welcomes this verdict and considers it a positive and very important step.