Egypt postpones verdict in appeal to Hamas 'terrorist' designation

Ahram Online , Saturday 23 May 2015

In February, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled Hamas a 'terrorist organisation'

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement
Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, pray before a military parade marking the 27th anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City December 14, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday adjourned to June 6 its decision on whether or not to designate the Palestinian Hamas movement as a terrorist group.

In February, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters had ruled Hamas a terrorist organisation, after looking into two lawsuits filed by lawyers Samir Sabry and Ashraf Farahat.

In March, Egypt's state judicial authority appealed the ruling, which had caused a further strain in relations between Egypt and the de facto rulers of Gaza.

Later the same month, lawyer Samir Sabry withdrew his lawsuit against Hamas "so that the verdict would not be an obstacle to Egypt’s reconciliation efforts between Palestinian factions and Israel."

Egypt has been acting as a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts for years.

Last week, the Cairo Criminal Court handed a preliminary death sentence to former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and 105 other defendants, including members of the Brotherhood's sister organisation Hamas, in the 2011 Wadi Natroun jailbreak case.

The court issued the same ruling for 16 Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi, in another case on charges of conspiring with foreign powers, including Hamas, to destabilise Egypt.

Hamas has rejected the death sentences as "void", calling the verdict a "massacre".

Relations between Egypt and Hamas have soured since Morsi's ouster in 2013, as Egyptian authorities regularly accuse Hamas of meddling in its internal affairs and supporting Islamist insurgents in the Sinai.

Hamas has denied these accusations.

In January, an Egyptian court verdict declared Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, a terrorist organisation.

The Egyptian government labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December 2013.

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