Abu El-Ezz El Hariri running on Socialist Popular Alliance Party Ticket(Photo: AL-Ahram)
Presidential contender Abul-Ezz El-Hariri announced that he will file an appeal Wednesday to the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) to exclude Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Khairat El-Shater from running in the upcoming elections.
El-Shater, a multimillionaire, was sentenced to seven years in jail by a military court in 2007 after being accused of money laundering. According to Egyptian law, even after serving his jail time, the former Brotherhood deputy was barred from running for president for ten years.
El-Shater reportedly received a pardon from the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) shortly before he announced he was running in the presidential elections.
El-Hariri's latest legal action comes after he filed a case on Sunday with the Administrative Court to overturn the ruling military council's decision to grant El-Shater the right to participate in politics.
El-Hariri, who is officially backed by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP),confirmed that El-Shater had a received pardon from the SCAF but not via the legal system.
Consequently he decided to file an appeal against El-Shater to the SPEC in addition to the case currently under review at the Administrative Court.
El-Hariri stated that he is against military trials for civilians and any penalties or rulings that are a result of these trials. "However, if the SCAF is already granting pardons, then the ruling military council should pardon the almost 12,000 political prisoners, as they did with El-Shater", El-Hariri said.
El-Hariri explained that Brotherhood refused to vote against Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration, passed by the ruling military council in March 2011, which makes the decisions of the SPEC immune to any appeals.
He stated that "the Brotherhood agreed on opening the door to fraud during the presidential elections, which again confirms the deal between the SCAF and the Brotherhood."
El-Hariri added that draft legislation pardoning all political prisoners since 1981, when ousted president Hosni Mubarak came to power, has been proposed to the People's Assembly. The Brotherhood, El-Hariri said, has to review their position and to seek the application of this pardon to all political prisoners sentenced by military courts, not just El-Shater.
The SPAP, who nominated El-Hariri on 7 March 2012 as the party's candidate in the presidential elections, condemned his lawsuit, as they wholly condemn military trials for civilians. Overturning the pardon would mean the verdict ruled by a military tribunal would be reinstated.
A well-known member of parliament, socialist and labour activist over the past 50 years, El-Hariri has a long record of fighting for social justice.
Presidential elections will take place on 23 and 24 May, and the president will be named on 21 June after a runoff voting round on 16 and 17 June.