UK guidance on asylum for Brotherhood members not positive for Egyptian-British relations: Egypt FM

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Aug 2016

Egypt FM
File Photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt considers the recently-issued UK Home Office guidance allowing members of the Muslim Brotherhood to apply for asylum in Britain as "not positive" for the mutual relations between both countries,  foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said at a press conference in Cairo.

In statements reported by the state-owned MENA agency on Tuesday, Shoukry said that although the British document was a framework clarifying some asylum-related procedures that should be taken in a context of non-exaggeration, it may have negative impact on Egyptian-British relations.

He said that the guidance makes the “unfounded” assertions that Egyptian authorities target a specific group or that the Egyptian judiciary is not fulfilling its role in ensuring fair trials, describing it as a “fallacious aspersion.”

The Egyptian foreign minister said that Egypt always briefs international partners about crimes committed by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, including terrorist acts that target security forces and citizens.

The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by Egypt's interim authorities in December 2013, with the freezing of the assets of many of its members and all affiliated NGOs.

Assets of hundreds of Brotherhood members have since been confiscated by a state-led committee and alleged members have been prosecuted in mass trials over violence and terrorism-related charges.

The UK’s Home Office guidance, issued in August, states that Brotherhood members in Egypt are eligible for political asylum in the UK if they can prove they are under threat of persecution in Egypt.

The guidance states that high-profile or politically active Brotherhood members in Egypt “may be able to show that they are at risk of persecution, including of being held in detention, where they may be at risk of ill-treatment, trial also without due process and disproportionate punishment.”

However, the Home Office said that low-key, inactive members who are not “generally targeted” and would be unable to show “a real risk of persecution” may not be granted asylum, concluding that each case will be reviewed on an individual basis.

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