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Cairo court overturns verdict designating Hamas a terrorist organisation

Hamas welcomes the court's decision, saying it is a sign Egypt is committed to supporting the Palestinian cause

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Jun 2015
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Hamas leader in Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya. (Photo: Reuters)
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Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters overturned Saturday the ruling that a lower court had issued on 28 February 2015 designating the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas a terrorist organisation.

The Appeal Court said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to issue the original ruling.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the ruling represents confirmation of Cairo's commitment to its Arab national duty towards the Palestinian issue.

Abu Zuhri predicted that Saturday's court decision will strengthen the relationship between Hamas and Cairo.

Lawyer Ashraf El-Said had filed a legal complaint with the Court of Urgent Matters against the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, charging that Hamas has been involved in terrorist attacks against Egyptian security forces.

In January, the same lower court had declared Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, a terrorist organisation.

The court reasoned in its Al-Qassam Brigades verdict that the group "supports and finances terrorist attacks in Egypt.”

In May, Cairo Criminal Court handed preliminary death sentences to a number of Hamas members, mostly in absentia, in the trial known as the Wadi Al-Natroun jailbreak case.

The Hamas members were convicted, along with ousted president Mohamed Morsi, of damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, attempted murder, looting prison weapons depots, and releasing prisoners in 2011.

The final verdict in the case, awaiting the non-binding opinion of Egypt's Grand Mufti, will be issued 16 June. 

The verdict can be appealed.

The relationship between Egypt and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sister organisation in Gaza, soured after the ouster of Morsi in 2013.

Egypt has accused Hamas of supporting Islamist insurgents who have been waging a relenless battle for years against security forces in Sinai.

Hamas, which has repeatedly denied interfering in Egypt's domestic affairs, had condemned all previous convictions of its members in Egyptian courts.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in November 2013. 

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