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Egypt government declares Muslim Brotherhood 'terrorist group'

An anticipated step against Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood materialises as the government officially brands the Islamist group as 'terrorist'

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 Dec 2013
Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood supporters chant pro-Mursi slogans in front of the Brotherhood's main headquarters in March, the group logo dominates the background. (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's interim government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, a terrorist group.

In a press statement on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa said the cabinet declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group, making it subject to Article 86 of the Egyptian penal code, which defines terrorism and the penalties for engaging in it.

Eissa said the deadly bombing in the Delta city of Mansoura on Tuesday as well as recent attacks on churches and other violent incidents attributed to members of the group led to the decision.

Prosecutors are still investigating the Mansoura bombing that left 16 dead. The Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack on Wednesday.

Some of Egypt's political forces blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the deadly attack on the Daqahliya security directorate in the city of Mansoura. 

The liberal Free Egyptians Party condemned the Mansoura "terrorist crime," accusing the Brotherhood of standing behind the attack.

"No truce and no complacency with the Brotherhood terrorist group, in the country and beyond," the party said in a statement published on its official website.

A spokesman of Sabbahi's Popular Current group, Heba Yassin, also directly accused the Muslim Brotherhood of orchestrating the attack saying "your brutal terrorism targeting the nation and its institutions will not restore your power; and the Egyptian people, whose blood you’ve made legitimate to spill, will not submit to you."

The Liberal Constitution Party, founded by former vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei, also accused the Brotherhood of being responsible for the attack.

"While no finger of blame has yet been pointed to any specific terror group, the party calls on the Muslim Brotherhood to face its responsibilities and acknowledge its errors which have led to increased tension and confrontation with security forces," the party said in a statement.

Most  Egyptian private and public media outlets accused the Brotherhood of orchestating Mansoura attacks. 

A government crackdown on the group following the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in August landed hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood in jail on charges of inciting violence.

Since August, the country has witnessed an increasing number of militant attacks on policemen and military personnel.

The Brotherhood repeatedly denied any links to militant attacks against the government. The group swiftly condemned the Mansoura bombing saying they have been and always will be peaceful in their quest to reverse the "coup d'état."

Decision may be appealed

Experts say the government decision may face serious legal challenges.

"The prime minister has no right to declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group as no terrorism law has been issued to give him the power to do so. Even Article 86 of the Penal Code does not give him the right to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist group," said Amr El-Shalakany, professor of law at the American University in Cairo.

El-Shalakany added that the decision of the prime minister could be easily overturned on appeal by the administrative court.

"It is problematic. This is an administrative decision and not a legislative one, as only the interim president has a legislative right to issue decisions and laws, not the cabinet," human rights lawyer Malek Adly told Ahram Online. 

"I highly doubt that those who took the decision thought about its legal basis thoroughly; it was a political decision not a legal one," Adly added.

"It would have been better to wait for the court to issue a verdict to categorise the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation."

Concerns, difficulties in implementation

"There is a hysteria in the street because of the failure of security to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood and I personally believe that there are some parties in the government marketing the idea that if we declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group all our problems in Egypt would be solved, which is untrue," said the leftist human rights lawyer Adly.

From a human rights perspective there is a huge concern, believes Adly.

"How can you identify members of the Muslim Brotherhood when there are no official lists of Muslim Brotherhood members. Its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has a list of members but being a member in the FJP is not an official crime," he said.

"I can be arrested tomorrow and accused by the government of being a Muslim Brotherhood member or a terrorist according to this decision when I am a leftist and I could fail to prove that I am not a member in the Muslim Brotherhood," the human rights lawyers added, fearing that the decision will be used to silence any opposition voice against the government.

Regarding the status of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood and whether they would be arrested now according to the new decision, former police general and security expert Fouad Allam told Ahram Online that identifying someone as a terrorist does not give the right to the government to arrest them, as someone can be arrested only upon breaking the law.

Allam also believes that a decision like declaring the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation needs international support, otherwise it remains useless.

"An internationally supported decision will help the government trace the funds and financing, as well as aid in extraditing wanted terrorists. This is why this decision needed to have international support," he added.

Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that it would immediately contact Arab countries, encouraging them adopt the same stance according to the Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism signed by Arab governments.

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14



abdulrahman
26-12-2013 06:36pm
37-
6+
The Coup Regime's Arrogance Is The Cause Of The Agony For Egypt
Egypt will now surely descend into chaos and terror as a result of the arrogance of the illegal regime.Surely it is very stupid to ban an organization which have won the big majority in the country's previous elections. By doing so, the regime drives the youthful MB supporters underground and will subsequently resort to terror tactics. The Egyptian people will from now on and for along time to come, pay dearly for the blunder and arrogance of the illegal rulers. I have mentioned this before and its worth mentioning again with the fervent hope that the regime will now resort to more rational approach in dealing with with opposition forces especially the MB.
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13



abdulrahman
26-12-2013 06:36pm
9-
3+
The Coup Regime's Arrogance Is The Cause Of The Agony For Egypt
Egypt will now surely descend into chaos and terror as a result of the arrogance of the illegal regime.Surely it is very stupid to ban an organization which have won the big majority in the country's previous elections. By doing so, the regime drives the youthful MB supporters underground and will subsequently resort to terror tactics. The Egyptian people will from now on and for along time to come, pay dearly for the blunder and arrogance of the illegal rulers. I have mentioned this before and its worth mentioning again with the fervent hope that the regime will now resort to more rational approach in dealing with with opposition forces especially the MB.
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12



Joe
26-12-2013 12:38pm
6-
4+
Activists, Ikhwan, Revolution, Counter-revolution.
In twenty years time one could begin to have a better discussion about Egypt. Very few people listen many speak past one another. For now I am signing off. See you in 2035 if I am still alive God willing. Au revoir.
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11



CuriousCurious
26-12-2013 08:21am
37-
16+
Interim government with absolute power
Why would an interim government with no legislative power have such an absolute authority to make rules that govern a whole nation. I thought the duty of interim government is to pave the way for a democratically elected government and their functions are temporary.
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10



Aladdin, Egypt
26-12-2013 04:37am
21-
2+
US Policy
US placed its gent Mr. Morsi to expose the criminal organization and to create anger against it. While US is pretending to help BH, it is undermining it from behind. BH failed based on its actions not based on what is been said about it. Now we have millions who hate its guts. May Allah bless US. LOL
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bknot1
27-12-2013 04:45pm
0-
7+
Nothing
The US had noting to do with his downfall. He and the group brought that upon yourself. Stop blaming others for your on mistakes and downfall. hes US back which every group that is in power to protect its interest in the region. It has nothiing to do with supporting any group or groups. The group failed to support the people so a changes was requested by the people and it happend. Lick your wounds and try to work with the leaders to make Egypt a better place for everyone that lives in the Country, to bring it back to its glory days united..and ensure the people are happy with jobs and food..
9



Jon
26-12-2013 01:34am
37-
12+
The people that destroyed Egypt
Remember Hossam Eissa and the other members of the so-called interim government. They think it is a good idea to disenfranchise 2/3 of the Egyptian electorate. If this should not work, they have no plan B or plan C. They have no plans whatsoever, but probably to steal what they can before the country inevitably descends into chaos and they leave with the last plane.
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8



Democracia
25-12-2013 10:14pm
15-
47+
Well done
The Muslim Brotherhood IS a terrorist organisation, at least in the guidance - with best worldwide connections! Well done!!! And all the sheep folk in the organisation should realize this too and stay away from those criminals, who just abuse their faith and obedience.
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7



Farhan
25-12-2013 09:58pm
41-
19+
Terrorists military which is killing thousands of people are not terrorists
But people who run hospitals, schools and charities are real terrorists, This thing could only happen in a fascist system.
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6



Modern_Humaniora
25-12-2013 08:38pm
9-
0+
"Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth"
I have just gone through the book "Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth" by Gitta Sereny, 1995. The book is a masterwork in its exposure over that "particular psychology". I really recommend this masterwork.
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5



Sobia
25-12-2013 07:54pm
63-
22+
next Algeria
The interim cabnit is nothing but puppet of ring leader CC.The plan is very clear,they want the largest segment of the Egyptian society take arms so they could roll all democratic institution and parties even the democrcy from the Egypt.This act clearly inviting the people instead of democracy and protest on the street but take arms.An open invititaion to Al Qaida and other Orgnoizations.
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Masr
25-12-2013 09:20pm
8-
38+
Very misinformed ikhwany dream
Egypt is not Algeria. That is the ikhwany dream but it will never happen. In Algeria the military went against the peoples will they didn't give the Islamist a chance they would have failed and been kicked out like the ikhwan but they didn't give them a chance. In Egypt despite a very narrow victory against a former Mubarek regime member and with many irregularities and voter suppression in Christian areas and modern areas the ikhwan were given a chance to rule. After a miserable failure of a year after murder of protesters after ikhwan cronyism the egyptian people the population said enough and bowing to the will of the people the military removed this black spot on our history from power. The Egyptian people will not be fooled again by peddlers of religion. We don't need any group to tell us how to believe in our beautiful religion .
Ervin
25-12-2013 08:44pm
8-
37+
fake troll
Yes, big mouth and small heart. There is a substantial difference, in Algeria Islamist won the elections but were prohibited from governing at all. In Egypt we gave them the opportunity to rule for one year. During this time they showed off what they really are made of, arrogance, incompetence, sick ego, trench mentality, etc. And the biggest difference is the population nature, Algerians are Berbers, therefore subdivided in various tribes. Egyptians are only Egyptians. Period
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