Egypt's justice minister blames Muslim Brotherhood for killing three judges

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 17 May 2015

Ibrahim Al-Heneidy accused the Muslim Brotherhood of the killing of three judges in North Sinai, vowing to stiffen penalties on terrorism acts

Ibrahim Al-Heneidy
Interim Minister of Justice Ibrahim Al-Heneidy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim Al-Heneidy, who has also become the interim Minister of Justice, fiercely attacked the Muslim Brotherhood, blaming it for the assassination of three judges in North Sinai Saturday.

The assassinations took place few hours after a Cairo court sought a death sentence against Egypt's former president Mohamed Morsi and other leading Muslim Brotherhood officials on espionage and jailbreak charges.

Al-Heneidy said he, as minister of justice, endorsed relocating the North Sinai court to the nearby Ismailia governorate as a measure aimed at safeguarding judges against terrorism.

"This measure was taken upon the ministry's new vision for justice, which means that the enforcement of justice should not lead to the death of any judge," Al-Heneidy told reporters on Sunday.

Al-Heneidy, who is conservative by nature and once called for reconciliation with Muslim Brotherhood, launched a scathing attack against the group.

He said the killing of the three judges is the latest of a line of violent attacks that have hit Egypt since the overthrow of Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule. 

"We should make a link between the escalation of terrorist activities in North Sinai and all of Egypt, leaving hundreds of police and army men and civilians dead, and the removal of Morsi and his group from power on 3 July," said Al-Heneidy.

According to Al-Heneidy, "Egypt faced an escalation in the number and ferocity of terrorist attacks after the gang of terrorists that ruled Egypt for one year was removed from power in a popular revolution on 30 June 2013."

"Not only this gang of terrorists is targeting judges, but they also target civilians, policemen, military personnel, churches, schools, hospitals, police stations, electricity pylons, gas stations, oil pipelines," said Heneidy, arguing that "by perpetrating these crimes, the group and its terrorist allies aim to destabilise Egypt and spread chaos in violation of Islam and its merciful rules."

'Upper hand' 

Al-Heneidy stressed that "Egypt has faced waves of terrorism since the last century but it has been able to contain them."

"The latest sign of this is that the Egyptian army has got the upper hand in uprooting terrorism in North Sinai," he said.

"The army has been able to put the terrorist group of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, and other armed terrorist militias, on the defensive, stripping it of any power to turn North Sinai into a safe haven for its terrorist operations."

Al-Heneidy warned that "terrorist groups have become skilful in using electronic technology and social networks such as Facebook in spreading their extremist ideology."

"This forms what we can call mass destruction terrorism," he added.

Al-Heneidy stressed that "terrorist acts violate Islam and its Sharia, because Islam calls for reconstruction, reform and order, while these terrorists are doing their best to corrupt the world and undermine civilisations."

"Egypt will mobilise its armed forces, police, judicial authorities, and the moderate Sunni organisation of Al-Azhar to stand up against terrorists who want to corrupt Islam," he added.

Al-Heneidy said a legislative reform committee is about to finalise drafting a new anti-terrorism law.

"The committee reviewed today the viewpoints of different judicial sources and anti-terrorism experts to reach a unified formula on the law's articles. In general, the draft law aims to amend the country's criminal procedures law and penal code to stiffen penalties on terrorism crimes."

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